Top Three Questions to Ask When Designing a Sales Incentive Program

Sales incentive programs have the power to spark passion within your sales force. Especially in a competitive market, there is increased pressure on the sales team to go the extra mile. Recent studies show, successful incentive programs can motivate sales people to go above and beyond, boosting their performance anywhere from 25% to 44%. There is no one-size-fits-all program – a reason why there are so many different systems and approaches. But, successful incentive program design always begins with good questions. Start by asking these three key questions:

What is it that we are trying to achieve through this incentive program?

The goal of most sales incentive programs is to modify participant behavior to grow sales and keep sales reps engaged. Answering the questions below will help you better define your objectives:

Am I rewarding the right behaviors and performance indicators? Without understanding what needs to be rewarded to achieve the company’s overarching goal, it is very difficult to bring value to your program. This is an important conversation that you need to have with all stakeholders involved with the program. Incentives help modify sales rep behavior so using them in an efficient way is essential in achieving your sales revenue targets.

Have you established attainable goals and rewards to target your top, middle, average and under performers? There’s an adage that states the top 20% of your sales team generates 80% of sales. These top-tier employees tend to claim most of the praise and available rewards, leaving future top-tier producers hidden in the crowd and feeling unvalued. An effective incentive program also targets promotions to the next 20% tier of capable employees, laying the motivational groundwork for their entrance into a top-tier.

What is the overarching goal of my company? Am I targeting the right behaviors to achieve that goal?  If the goal of the program is to increase referral sales and that is not clearly targeted by the program, then the program is set up for failure. Referred customer usually have a longer tenure with a brand so promoting referrals can increase the number of loyal customers. The point of the incentive is to really understand the customer, cater to their needs, and provide the right solution. However, if you decide to reward all sales equally, then reps would sell at all costs because this is the rewarded behavior.

Do my desired performance objectives align with a worthy reward?

If the program is designed correctly it should produce results that optimize workflows and increase engagement. Clear rules for the program need to be set up and communicated with the participants. Below are a few questions that will help you better understand a successful program design.

Are the goals achievable? Is everyone getting a fair shot? Goals are supposed to be challenging but if the targets are set out too far, there is a loss in engagement over time. The goals should be set where everyone gets a fair shot at achieving them. The idea here is to drive more engagement and with more sales targets being achieved, sales growth will follow.

How motivating is my plan? If your program is structured to get sales reps to sell more than they currently do, you are motivating them. Remember, this includes all sales reps, not only the high performing ones. Also rewarding behaviors such as attaining additional trainings or certifications can go a long way in creating a company culture that rewards higher education.

Are my reward choices in line with what employees prefer? For an incentive program to work—for employees to be engaged—there must be a reward that has a high perceived trophy value and is appropriate for the desired goal. If the goal is to boost sales performance, a once in a lifetime travel opportunity reserved for the best-of-the-best remains one of the most powerful motivators. Through travel incentive opportunities, morale is boosted, productivity is heightened, and employees return from vacation re-energized and ready to make sales. Prepaid reward cards are another great reward solution. Prepaid reward cards provide the flexibility, freedom, choice, and all-around motivational power you need to drive success. Plus, with the convenience, variety and customization that prepaid cards offer, it’s easy to see why so many companies are choosing prepaid rewards for their corporate incentive programs.

Am I communicating program rules and updates clearly with my participants? It may seem obvious that communication is an important element in incentive programs, but far too often communication is the most overlooked piece of the puzzle. Even the most exciting, big budget program runs the risk of failure if your message is not articulated clearly, thoroughly and often to those you wish to reach.

What tools and processes are necessary to produce the desired result?

Am I using the best tools to monitor and run this program? One of the most important part of running a sales incentive program is having the right platform with the tools you need. Running sales incentive programs offline and through spreadsheets can be cumbersome, inefficient and costly. You need a nimble, web-based platform where participant and program interactions are recorded, analyzed, and utilized to enhance the program as well as the participant experience.

Is my platform simple enough for the participant to stay engaged? If your platform is too complicated for the rep to interact with, program participation will be lower than expected. This is a huge problem with a large number of incentive platforms, they are too complicated and don’t offer any real value to the participant.  In order to ensure high engagement levels, a simple, easy to use platform is key.

Do I have access to real time reporting? Are all the program interactions being recoded and reported to me? Metrics drive sales incentive success. Be sure you are gaining valuable insights into your program and your participants with intelligent reporting that tracks: participant enrollment, progress, claims, top performing products or locations, awards funded, redemption and more.

We hope these questions help you figure out how to build a successful sales incentive program, as it pertains to you.

To discover more about these programs and how they can boost your revenues click here to contact us. JNR is a proven single source for strategic partnerships and solutions, offering an experienced team of employees, progressive technologies, best industry practices, and a network of worldwide resources, which support our ever-evolving portfolio of unique, effective and memorable business solutions.

Written by: Shay Malhotra, Marketing Manager | Card Services & Technology Solutions

How Was the Greatest Automotive Salesman of All-Time So Successful?

Automotive sales are quite relevant to our interests here at JNR as many of our programs are specifically designed to help our clients from this industry increase their revenues. Our programs focus on incentivizing automotive dealer principals, sales managers, salespeople and finance departments to sell more automobiles, aftermarket parts and financial service plans.

As a result, we thought it would be fascinating to pinpoint the reasons why the greatest automotive salesperson of all-time was so successful.

Joe Girard was a man that said he could sell anything. It would be hard to argue with him when you consider that he sold 13,001 Chevrolets in just fifteen years! That averages out to roughly 867 cars a year, 72 per month and seventeen per week! He once sold 160 cars in a single month and eighteen in a single day. Girard won the title of world’s number one car salesman according to Guinness Book of World Records twelve years in a row from 1966 to 1977.

Joe’s success story is all the more improbable when you consider the fact that he had such a tough time getting his first job as a car salesman that he agreed to generate his own leads and not take any walk-in traffic that came through the dealership!

As you can see, Joe knew a thing or two about selling cars and should be the envy of anyone involved in automotive sales, or any type of sales for that matter. This begs the question: “why was Mr. Girard so successful?” Here are a few reasons why:

1.    He understood the value of a good referral

Joe Girard’s “Law of 250” stated that most people have 250 individuals in their lives that would show up to their funeral or wedding and therefore he had a potential to gain or lose that many (250) sales depending on how well or how poorly he sold to one particular individual. He always asked for a referral because he understood that not many people will offer one voluntarily. One good referral represented a massive value to Joe and he never took that for granted.

2.    Joe was incredibly persistent

Mr. Girard knew that it was crucial to be at the forefront of a person’s mind right when they are in the market for a new car. He regularly kept in touch with his prospects by sending out thank you notes, holiday cards, relevant news tailored to their interests and even free goodies. His notes and correspondence pieces were highly personalized, not mass produced.

Joe’s work was not finished when he made the initial sale however. He was very adamant on following up with customers after he placed them in their new vehicle to make sure they were happy. This diligence helped ensure a valuable referral, and even an additional sale in the future from this client.

3.    Girard always went the extra mile for his customers

As discussed earlier, Joe kept in regular contact with his prospects and sent relevant news and resources as part of that correspondence. He would look for relevant content that he felt was particularly appropriate for that individual and send personalized mail to them with great regularity.

Joe Girard would also drop in tidbits of information about the recipient’s life that he had discovered through conversations for an extra touch of personalization. Mentions of the prospect’s children or spouses or interests were highly effective ways to demonstrate he valued their business. A high level of personalization goes a long way in making a potential customer feel more comfortable and likely to buy from you.

Since not every salesperson can be a Joe Girard, automotive sales incentive programs are commonly used to optimize automotive sales revenues and achieve a favorable outcome. Click here to request information on how JNR can implement a program for you or check out our related articles below. We have over 30 years of experience delivering travel incentive, merchandise, award and prepaid card programs for large automotive companies that drive real results and would be happy to share our experiences with you.

Related Reading:

Auto Consumers Love Rebate Cards – Rebate cards encourage test drives, strengthen customer loyalty and are the best incentive for tire shoppers

Automotive Manufacturers Can Engage Consumers with Incentives – Incentives can help close more vehicle sales, keep customers loyal and increase showroom traffic.

By JNR Incorporated

Written by Kristopher Hewkin


JNR Incorporated is a results-based, globally recognized leader that specializes in creating custom travel, meeting, event, prepaid card and merchandise programs that motivate, engage and inspire the employees, customers and channel members of our clients. We have over 30 years of experience working with Fortune 500 companies of many diverse industries. Our programs are tailored to fit the specific needs of marketing, sales, management and human resource professionals. The unique solutions we apply are measurable and proven to increase performance, loyalty and revenues.

German Spotlight: Top Spots in Germany

With an unrivaled and rich history, there is no denying that the country of Germany holds some of the world’s greatest natural and manmade treasures.  As one of the most powerful and remarkable countries in the world, there is an incredible abundance of sights to see for any traveler heading to the continent of Europe. There are an astonishing amount of wonders to behold from the fairytale castles of Bavaria and the cosmopolitan capitals of car manufacturing and beer making to the romantic Rhine River valley and its medieval manors.

This proceeding list compiled with help from Touropia and Expatica will take you on a journey from some of Germany’s most popular tourist spots to some of its best kept secrets, but there is one unifying factor between them all – every globetrotter should make it a priority to visit each one in their lifetime:

1)    Berlin

Berlin is the cosmopolitan capital of Germany, a city once ravaged by the battle between east and west that has grown into one of the most significant political and economic centers of Europe. Berlin is the symbol of German unification and thus has a wealth of history in its museums and monuments. A visit to the city would not be complete without a visit to the Brandenburg Gate or the world heritage site of the former Berlin Wall.

2)    Neuschwanstein Castle

If you have ever been to Walt Disney World in Orlando and seen the magnificence of Cinderella’s Castle, it is imperative to see its inspiration right in the middle of the Bavarian Alps: Neuschwanstein. It is one of the most beautiful structures in the entire world, and the most photographed in all of Germany, and it is easy to see why. There are turrets and columns galore on this world famous castle built in the late 1800’s, and it is worth the trip south for any tourist looking to see fairytales come to life!

3)    Munich

Munich comes to life every October as millions of travelers flock to this famous Bavarian city when Oktoberfest commences. It is a world renowned affair that showcases one of Germany’s most famous commodities while displaying the country’s jovial and welcoming disposition. When not hosting its famous festival, Munich is a blend of modern and classical, teeming with both medieval fortresses and a bustling nightlife.

4)    The Black Forest

The Black Forest of southwestern Germany is celebrated as one of the most popular recreational areas in the whole country with over 4,000 square miles of valleys, vineyards, lakes and nature preserves.  Stroll through its dense foliage and lose track of time among its numerous bike paths.  Don’t forget to make a trek here in the autumn to see a fantastic natural showcase as thousands of trees change color in preparation for winter.

5)    Heidelberg

Hansel and Gretel fairytales and gingerbread houses become real in this enchanting German town. Heidelberg with its famous castle and Old Bridge are historic treasures waiting to be discovered while strolling the cobblestoned blocks. Heidelberg is quintessentially German, and it is impossible not to enjoy its beauty when munching on a German bratwurst and listening to cuckoo clocks.

6)    The Middle Rhine River

Stretching between the cities of Bingen and Bonn, Germany, the Middle Rhine flows through a dramatic geological formation called the Rhine Gorge. This region features a spectacular landscape dotted with close to 50 medieval castles, picturesque villages and terraced vineyards. One of the best ways to capture the magic of this unparalleled scenery is through a river boat cruise in order to really grasp the extent of the remarkable formation.

7)    Cologne

There are few buildings in the world that can strike a person with awe and wonder, one of these buildings is the Cologne Cathedral. This impressive gothic church reaches to the heavens with a multitude of grand spires and flying buttresses, a classic medieval site that cannot be missed if you are visiting Cologne or western Germany.

8)    Lake Constance

The Lake Constance region, where Germany borders Austria and Switzerland, is a holiday paradise set around one of Europe’s largest lakes. One of the most popular excursion destinations in the country is the Flower Island of Mainau on Lake Constance, famous for its magnificent parks and gardens, ideal for rest and relaxation.

9)    Mount Zugspitze

The Zugspitze is one of the most famous mountain peaks in the entire Alps range, measuring an astounding 9,700 feet. It is not only Germany’s highest mountain but one of its most thrilling. Visitors who are willing to brave a climb to its summit will be rewarded with miles of fantastic views of the beautiful German countryside.

10)  Nuremburg

This imperial city is majestic at any time of year with its towering castle and cobbled walkways, but this city is best known for its world famous Christmas market. Beginning in late November and continuing on through the New Year, this city is decked with festive décor and festooned with lights as thousands come to enjoy the spirit of the holidays and the open air markets.

Germany is a unique combination of old and new, medieval and modern, and few nations have a wealth of attractions that intermingles these two ideals together as successfully as Germany. There is an underappreciated natural beauty to Germany in its alpine region and lush forests, as well as its fashionable metropolises where internationally distinguished companies call home. Germany truly harbors some of the world’s most fascinating historical sites, and it is a nation that easily appeals to older and younger generations alike, creating a common ground for travelers to share experiences in this legendary country.

If you would like more information on the wonderful sights that Germany has to offer, please email

By JNR Incorporated

Written by Andy Tallon


JNR Incorporated is a results-based, globally recognized leader that specializes in creating custom travel, meeting, event, prepaid card and merchandise programs that motivate, engage and inspire the employees, customers and channel members of our clients. We have over 30 years of experience working with Fortune 500 companies of many diverse industries. Our programs are tailored to fit the specific needs of marketing, sales, management and human resource professionals. The unique solutions we apply are measurable and proven to increase performance, loyalty and revenues.

Photo: “River Spree Berlin” by Mariano Mantel is licensed under CC By 2.0

German Spotlight: A Visual Journey through the Enchanting Castles of Germany

Germany is world-renowned for having some of the most amazing castles in the world. JNR has been lucky enough to take clients through many of these amazing architectural feats throughout our 34 year history. Though they are all captivating in their own ways, we thought it would be fun to take you on a visual journey through four of our favorites.

1)    Nymphenburg Palace

This grand palace was commissioned in 1664 and the central pavilion was completed in 1675. Over the next few centuries the Palace was expanded and different styles were incorporated. This site is open to the public and well worth a visit.

Photo: “Castle Nymphenburg, Munich” by Frank Friedrichs is licensed under CC By 2.0

The main building of the castle is one of the top tourist destinations in Munich and receives close to half a million visitors each year.

Photo: “Nymphenburg” by Ho Visto Nina Volare is licensed under CC By 2.0

The Steinerner Sall (Stone Hall), which is situated in the central pavilion, features ceiling frescoes and beautiful chandeliers that support the elegance of the entire palace.

Photo: “Delft Punk” by Steve Jurvetson is licensed under CC By 2.0

Joseph Effner was commissioned to redesign the Pagodenburg Pavilion in 1716 in French Baroque style. His use of Delft tile in the lower level complements the details of the Chinoiserie upstairs.

2)    Linderhof Palace

Linderhof was built by King Ludwig II of Bavaria who enjoyed hunting in the surrounding areas. The castle is second rococo-period style and has many similarities to Versailles.

Photo: “Schlosspark Linderhof, Königliche Villa” by Heribert Pohl is licensed under CC By 2.0

This was the only large palace that King Ludwig II lived in long enough to enjoy. He was a man of luxury and there are stories of him enjoying summer afternoons being rowed across the lake in a golden boat.