How to use incentives to get the most from your car sales team

Have your previous attempts to motivate your sales staff with incentives fallen flat after just a few days, or even worse not taken off at all? Motivating your sales team often isn’t as straight-forward as simply setting a target and offering a cash prize to the winner. It may be time to look at what truly motivates your staff and how you can use this to focus their efforts towards the priority areas in your business.

The Motivator

The ‘carrot and stick’ approach has stood the test of time in terms of motivating workers across the board. The pot of gold at the end of the rainbow focuses the mind on the end goal.

In the automotive industry, we are all too familiar with this approach. By offering generous commissions we aim to ensure our sales teams maintain a level of enthusiasm and focus and keep the sales coming in. The problem comes when we need to focus on products that are possibly not as financially rewarding for the salesperson, or when we need to raise the bar further for a while. At such times we may need to find another way of changing the sales team’s focus. How can we do this without breaking the bank?

An obvious solution would be to simply increase commission levels. Whilst this may temporarily increase motivation, especially with your top performers, it may not offer the best use of your budget and is unlikely to work on everyone.

So what can you do?

Most salespeople are born competitors, driven by the thrill of the chase and the rush of the win.  As such, sales incentives are a sure way to boost your sales team’s enthusiasm and refocus them on the most critical business objectives. To maximise the impact of your next incentive campaign there are a few strategies to consider:

Keep incentives simple.

Complex rules that make it difficult for the sales team to work out how the incentives work, or how they win the reward, will often lead to failure of both the incentive campaign and therefore the business objective. Targets should also look attainable. If they don’t, your sales team are likely to switch off.

Promote it.

There’s little point in dedicating resources to implementing a sales incentive if your staff don’t know about it! It is important to roll the incentive programme out properly, to ensure the sales team fully understand it, and are onboard.

Appeal to everyone.

There is a danger than in trying to appeal to everyone, you end up appealing to no-one. However, if it’s the same people who tend to win performance-related competitions, you could be looking at a sales team that is largely disinterested from the off. By making sure that everyone stands a chance of winning something, you tip the odds in favour of keeping your whole sales team engaged and onboard.

Mix up the incentives.

You don’t have to rely on cash rewards as incentive prizes. And the simple ‘pick a prize from the hat’ style incentive is often difficult to scale up both in terms of time and size.

Reward prizes can range from the whimsical to awe-inspiring, from experiences to material goods. Just remember to think about the interests and personalities of the people in your team, as well as the value of your potential sales, when deciding the mix of incentive prizes that are offered. The more compelling the incentive prize, the more enthusiastic they will be!

So, you’ve managed to get your sales team excited and switched on, but how do you keep up the momentum and interest?

Reward timescales.

Make sure that the time between winning and getting the prize/reward is as short as possible. Otherwise, the danger is that your team switch off, become demotivated, and the success of your sales incentive programme is at risk.

Competition and recognition.

League tables will help instil that good-natured competition between your sales individuals, as well as between franchises/sites. This will also be bolstered if it is supported with some level of recognition of successful individuals and / or sites as the programme runs. Salespeople have a natural tendency to enjoy the limelight so shouting about achievements will make the successful individual feel recognised and valued, while also motivating the rest of the team to step up their game.

By implementing these strategies there is every reason to expect your next sales incentives will drive enthusiasm across your whole team, be a huge success, and ensure your budget is more wisely spent rather than just throwing increasing levels of commission at your top performers.

If you need help making the most of your next sales incentive, speak to us.

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