A factory bonus for Lincoln salespeople
Spiff tops out at $500 for each vehicle sold
Cour: Offering “a carrot”
DETROIT -- Lincoln will pay salespeople up to $500 per Lincoln sold each month, part of an effort to make the customer experience at its dealerships match that of luxury competitors such as Audi.
The factory incentive is part of Lincoln's "brand champion" program, which seeks to put Lincoln on par with other luxury brands in the way dealerships reward salespeople. As part of the program, Lincoln wants every dual Ford-Lincoln store to have at least one brand champion trained in Lincoln products and processes, hoping to achieve some separation from the volume Ford brand
"What we're trying to do is incentivize a Ford and Lincoln salesperson to tell the Lincoln story with the same degree of passion they tell the Ford story," said Kevin Cour, Lincoln sales and service manager. "As a challenger brand, if we give a salesperson a carrot to tell the Lincoln story, we will achieve better performance in the marketplace."
Sales associates who sell only Lincolns will get a monthly bonus ranging from $200 each for selling five Lincolns to $500 each for selling 15 or more. The bonus for associates who sell both brands will be slightly lower: from $100 each for five Lincolns to $400 each for 15 or more.
The factory bonus will on top of the dealership's compensation plan.
The plan is designed to encourage dealers who sell both Lincoln and Ford to train and dedicate sales associates to focus exclusively on Lincoln. Lincoln also wants to help financially strapped stand-alone Lincoln dealers who haven't been able to afford commission plans be competitive with other luxury makes, says Cour. Ford brand outsells Lincoln roughly 20 to one nationwide.
"With this compensation program you can make the case to dedicate resources just to sell Lincoln. If we establish more Lincoln-dedicated salespeople we will do a better job selling and satisfying our customers," says Cour. Cour says the changes are necessary "until we build a similar volume and scale and competitive throughput" as luxury rivals.
This is the latest step Lincoln has taken to revise radically the way it compensates dealers. But it is not the only step.
As of today, Lincoln dealers no longer will receive an automatic payment, known as a holdback, of 2 percent of the vehicle's sticker price. As previously reported, Lincoln is replacing the holdback with payments, tied to dealer compliance with new performance standards under the Lincoln Commitment Plan, that potentially can exceed the former holdback allowance.
Dealers who meet all of those standards, including targets for sales of certified used vehicles, will receive payments totaling 5.75 percent of a vehicle's sticker, "which is very similar to the structure of other premium brands," says Cour.
Lincoln is taking other steps to improve the dealership experience. They include:
Launching a Lincoln Dealer Academy with a curriculum designed by luxury hotel concierges.
Having a greeter at the entrance of each Lincoln store.
Changing the way vehicles are delivered to customers by throwing out the traditional checklist and replacing it with a process customized to suit customers.
Offering an online concierge to help customers choose vehicles.
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