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Winning Incentives

New ideas for motivating sales staff.

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Q: Looks like we are facing a down market and I need some new ideas for motivating my sales staff. I want to make it more exciting and stimulating so they will become more enthusiastic. We have not done any contests in the past, just straight spiffs or incentives on particular products. What would you suggest?

Our answer this month comes from Don Owens, the dealer principal of Dothan Powersports in Dothan Alabama. This large, highly profitable multi-line dealership carries Honda, Yamaha, Suzuki, Polaris, Victory and UM products.

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Don, at the last Best Operators Club meeting your "Win The Jackpot" sales contest idea was the overall winner of the Best Idea competition. What was that all about?

Well, just like many other dealers, we have had our challenges when it comes to keeping our sales staff enthused and motivated. One of the recent tools we have employed is our Win The Jackpot scratch-and-win contest. We use scratch-off cards to motivate and reward our staff in several departments.

I’m impressed that you are using this for more than just the sales department. Very few dealers do much of this. Which departments are involved, and what do they have to do to earn a scratch card?

Currently, in the sales department a salesperson gets a card whenever they sell any major unit. Our parts and accessories salespeople can earn a card for selling any of the following:


Don Owens shares his secrets to incentives.

  • Exhaust systems
  • Big Foot Kits for ATVs
  • Jackets
  • Certain brands of helmets
  • Five helmet quick-disconnects
  • Three green light triggers

Our service advisors can earn cards by selling exhaust systems, tires, three green light triggers, or four TRCs.

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So what kind of prizes can they win with these cards?

The current Win The Jackpot prizes are:

  • First Place: $500 cash
  • Second Place: iPod
  • Third Place: $100 cash
  • Fourth Place: $50 cash

In addition, even if they don’t have a winning card, they sign their name on the back of the card and drop it into a box. At the end of the month, we hold a drawing for a monthly Grand Prize. Everyone has a chance to win. This month’s Grand Prize is a day off with pay. Is this a great idea or what?

It is a great idea! You really have provided some good incentives with these prizes. I noticed that you have very professional posters and cards for this contest. Who created all of these materials?

That’s one of the best parts. This is actually a kit that is available from a supplier. There are several out there. We used a company called Specialty Store services. Their kit includes 1,000 cards and everything you need to make it work, including 200 winning cards; five first prize cards, 10 second prize cards, 35 third prize cards and 150 fourth prize cards. All we have to do is come up with the rules and prizes.

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What results have you seen from this program?

Since we have only been doing this for a short time, I can’t tell you an exact percentage in increased sales. However, as soon as the game started and as it continues, we have seen a marked increase in the smaller impulse items such as the green light triggers and tire seal sales as well as helmet quick-releases.

Do you plan to keep this program going at all times?

No, we will run it for about two months, temporarily discontinue it, and then start up again. When we restart the program, we might chose different products, but I’m sure we will use some of the same ones, also.

What are the responsibilities of your managers in this contest?

The department managers suggest the products to use. They are also responsible for filling out an authorized slip with their initials on it to give to me each time someone earns a card. I keep the cards in my office, and they have come to me to get one. I personally redeem it by giving them the card.

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What cautions would you point out to a dealer who is considering this; any drawbacks?

Not much. It is not viewed as gambling in our state, but other states may look at it differently. Dealers will have to confirm their local and state regulations regarding this type of contest. Needless to say, it is important to maintain security with the cards.

I like it. Thanks for the idea. Don, do you have any closing comments?

This type of contest can be used to show the salespeople what they can do when motivated. It is helpful in increasing sales of specific products and aged P&A inventory. Even though sales are made without the game, the game shows a measured increase over the norm. It works.

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