Strategies for an Effective Dealer Incentive Program

A dealer incentive program goes out to selected or participating automotive dealerships and prompts a certain number of sales to reach the incentive threshold. These can be sales of specific car stock, sometimes including finance, add-ons, and more.

Dealer programs can also provide additional motivation to reach the agreed-upon incentive sales measures. The program contracts go beyond the basic sales requirements and regularly ensure customer surveys are received and processed, and training modules based on the participating stock are completed.

Dealer incentive programs serve multiple purposes. While the sales increases are known and desirable, they also give the dealers and floor staff a vested interest in moving your stock and aftersales and allow the manufacturer to get to know the people who are selling their products.

There is a bonus of driving a competitive spirit, which, when crossed with sales staff and hefty egos, is sure to supercharge your sales growth!

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Benefits of a dealer incentive program

Before buying in, you’ll want to know what a successful dealer incentive program can do for your brand and customers. Here are some of the most notable benefits to expect:

  • Motivating dealers during slow periods and in competitive markets can increase sales volume and market share. This can allow you to capture a greater share of the wallet, maximising brand loyalty and growth.
  • Inventory management can be provided through a successful incentive program, promoting new products more effectively. This can be a dream for any brand wanting to market a new stock range directly to its most valuable customers.
  • Strengthen dealer relationships and alignment—Increasing channels of feedback between manufacturers and dealers with the common goal of increasing sales and profits provides more direct communication and trust between your channels. This is a form of market research with the people who interact directly with end customers, allowing you to gain meaningful insights that might take far longer to achieve.
  • Aligning interests between channels strengthens your brand, giving you a competitive advantage in the market. Your dealers have a vested interest in selling your stock, and your program allows them to gain additional value from moving it. Your dealer incentive program provides a symbiotic benefit to both parties, elevating your stock above competitors through the potential value to you and your dealers.

Now that we’ve broken down the benefits of a successful dealer incentive program, it’s on to the next step—incentivising your dealers to participate!

How do you create dealer buy-in?

Creating dealer buy-in with your program requires a simple program that can be effectively marketed to your dealer network—easier said than done, you might think. Well, here are some easy ways to create dealer buy-in!

  • Clearly articulate the value proposition and benefits at the dealer level. Clarity will increase uptake—an easy-to-understand program will go further than a complicated program. By ensuring the dealers understand your program vision, they’re more likely to be incentivised to participate and improve the relationship between the brand and your dealers.
  • Many programs can overlap in benefits, meaning your brand must find a way to stand out. By streamlining your process, understanding the participants, and segmenting audiences, you can directly communicate with your dealers in a manner that resonates with them, improving program engagement.
  • An easy-to-understand platform is essential for the success of your program. A central hub that your dealer network can access via desktop or mobile and displays all the value of your rewards catalogue or incentive bonuses can significantly increase the chances of dealers engaging with your program.
  • Utilisation of your sales teams as extensions of the program provides them with face-to-face opportunities to express any concerns or confusion. It allows your brand to set the record straight immediately. Your sales team can use this as an additional value point within the sale, and your SSMs can assist with their regular meetings with the dealer team. This also provides valuable feedback you can swiftly implement within the program.

The importance of research in dealer incentive programs

While experience can provide insight into success post-launch, you should also conduct other research. Utilising data inside and around your program is essential to moulding your program structure and KPI recommendations for your target audience.

Due to the industry’s size, you may find similarities among brands in the automotive industry and how they run, manage, and maximise returns for their dealer incentive programs (although this can apply to any B2B industry program). It is critical to see what works and what doesn’t and how to communicate with your participants about what successful engagement with the program will look like to them.

Market research into alternative programs will allow your program to sidestep any potential hazards others may have encountered and give your customers faith in your brand that they may have lost from other manufacturers’ programs.

Ongoing research is imperative for necessary adjustments. Using midyear data analysis and promo review, you can see what worked and what didn’t within your program, and you can use swift modifications to ensure that ensure ongoing participation and increased results.