Each year, around this time, I receive calls from dealers asking if I know of any good, effective "spiffs" that will help them sell their previous year model new-vehicle inventory.

During each NCM Twenty Group meeting, dealers and managers participate in a "best idea" contest. The following are a few ideas, relative to incentives, that have worked for others.

Day off bonus: On previous model year inventory, pay a progressive bonus in addition to the commission, i.e., first unit pays a $25 bonus, the second unit a $50 bonus and the third unit, a $75 bonus plus an additional day off the following month. The person selling the most previous year models, with a minimum number as a qualifier, will receive a weekend off or something similar.

Days in stock incentive: For each day a previous year model vehicle has been in stock, $1 per day in "funny money" is accumulated for that sales person. When the last previous year model vehicle is sold, a dinner and auction is held where the sales personnel are able to bid for prizes. Prizes include televisions, computers, CD players, weekend trips, etc.

Steak and bean contest: This incentive has been used effectively for a number of years, but when was the last time you tried it? Divide your sales staff into teams. The winning team, the one that sells the most previous year models, eats steak. This is a fun event.

The Wheel of Fortune: Buy or rent a wheel and assign dollar values to the spaces. During your weekly general sales meeting, allow those persons selling a previous year model vehicle that week the opportunity to spin for cash. This event keeps the focus on the bonus units, is loud, fun, and creates a high level of enthusiasm in your sales organization.

The vanishing spiff: Each year dealers have carry-over inventory that they advertise at low prices, put incentives on and still get "hammered" on the selling price. We have designed an incentive program that helps control the pricing (gross) problem, the vanishing spiff. We put a $100 spiff on these units. For each $1 the selling price is reduced from the advertised price, the sales person's incentive is reduced by $1. Funny thing, the sales personnel have realized that this really is a sale price, quit "hammering" the sales manager on behalf of the customer and have sold them without a hassle.

Many other incentives and spiffs are effective. The aforementioned ideas can serve as a thought starter to help you sell your entire 2000 model year inventory at a reasonable gross profit level in an expeditious manner.