Category Archives: Motivating Sales Team / Staff


How to Get Your Sales Team Behind a Travel Incentive Initiative

By | Automotive, Motivating Sales Team / Staff, Powerful Closing Tools | No Comments

Energize Your Sales Team

When implementing travel certificates as an incentive to bring in more customers and increase sales, you may encounter a situation where your sales team are somewhat resistant to them – and the question you’ll likely ask in response is, “Why?”

Oftentimes, we find that it comes down to a concern that implementing such a strategy will require a substantial amount of additional effort on their behalf. In other words, it’ll be even more work for your salespeople. So what can you do to assure them that the travel certificates are easy to implement and will only serve to help make their sales efforts more effective?

Understanding Your Sales Team

Now, it’s important to state from the start that energizing your sales staff is not a one-size-fits-all situation. And just as there are salespeople who are always energetic and up for new challenges, there are also salespeople who may find it hard to become enthused and get behind new initiatives.

When you stop and think about how tough of a gig sales can be, it’s easy to begin empathizing. Many sales staff have to deal with difficult and, sometimes, downright arrogant and disrespectful people. Add to that the experience of trying to just lock down one sale can often feel like a mental marathon.

Salespeople who work over-the-phone or go door-to-door know plenty about what it’s like to have someone tell them to go away – though the actual words used are often a little less family-friendly. Even salespeople on a showroom floor or at a retail store can be subject to dismissive customers. Many times, it doesn’t matter if you’re going to them or they’re coming to you – some customers are just difficult.


This is important to remember because not every initiative is being put forward by a salesperson or head of sales. More often than not, that great new promotion idea is coming from someone in marketing; and while they may know marketing, they don’t necessarily understand why a sales team may be hesitant to try and “sell another thing” to customers.

You’re Not Selling Something Else. You’re Giving a Customer a Bonus

Education is important. When you tell the sales team that they’ll now be giving customers a travel certificate when they buy a certain product, you need to make it clear that the travel certificate is not something else they have to sell. Instead, you need to show them how this certificate is actually something they can add to their sales arsenal.

So when a customer is umming and ahhing, and one of your salespeople is thinking to themselves, Oh, here comes another loss, that travel certificate is the ace up their sleeve. As the customer debates the overall value of the purchase, that travel certificate brings them over the line. They’re not just going to get a great product – they’re going to get a gift that allows them to fly to Vegas or go on a cruise or spend 7 nights at a resort.

The Conference Call

This is why Odenza strongly encourages all new clients to partake in a conference call with us. It’s not just for the person at the company who ordered the travel certificates, but every single staff member who will serve an integral role in making them a success – sales team included.

During this conference call, they can ask any questions or voice any concerns they have, and we can provide them with advice and information that will make it far easier for them to understand and appreciate how the certificates will help them, not hinder them.


As I said, the sales gig is already a tough one, and it’s understandable that salespeople can be hesitant about having to account for yet another thing. So you need to get everyone together, talk about the new initiative, and have a conference call with us.

Don’t Overwhelm Your Team

There are people who work well under pressure, but there are far more people who don’t. In the end, there is a difference between introducing an exciting new challenge and introducing a new process that only serves to overwhelm everyone. Most of the time, however, it’s not about what you introduce as it is how you introduce it. For the below hypothetical, let’s look at how the travel certificate strategy could be introduced to an auto dealer’s sales team.

First, imagine you say the following:

“We’re going to be using travel certificates to get more sales because, to be honest, our numbers have been way down. We expect you to use them whenever possible, and we expect an increase in numbers ASAP.”

How do you think your sales team will react? They won’t feel excited or invested. If anything, they’ll likely feel uneasy and not care for you that much.

Imagine, however, you said this instead:

“Hey everyone. For next month, we’re going to be trying out a new sales strategy where we’ll give a travel certificate to every customer who buys a car from us. We’ll start off with 25 certificates and want you to let every single potential customer who’s thinking of buying a car from us know about the offer. Let’s all sit down tomorrow morning and brainstorm ideas on how to best promote and tell customers about these certs. I think this is going to be a great success!”

A new promotion or incentive idea shouldn’t be proposed as some do-or-die challenge to your sales team. People are not inspired by fear-mongering; nor will they feel any true need to do well by you. Instead, position the new idea as something that is going to yield great results and encourage everyone to get involved in the brainstorming process. Also, don’t forget to remind them that this new initiative will come with plenty of complimentary marketing material to utilize.

Build a Cohesive Strategy


In the continuing theme of getting everyone involved, be sure to remind your sales team that they’re not doing this alone. The most successful promotions are those that integrate various elements into a cohesive whole. This includes advertising and marketing; store signage and decorations; imagery and branding on- and offline; social media postings, emails/e-blasts, website updates to reflect the promotion; and, of course, your sales team.

When everything is brought together and made to work in harmony with one another, your sales team will no longer feel as though the success of a promotion or new sales strategy is entirely dependent on them. In addition to this cohesive strategy, remember to maintain an open dialogue with your staff – and if any of them have questions or are unsure of themselves, take the time to sit down and chat with them. Even five minutes of your time can mean the world to a salesperson who is still unclear on some of the finer details.

The Takeaway

How invested and excited your sales team feels about any new initiative depends on how invested you are in them. Show them how an incentive such as a travel certificate is not another thing to sell, but a tool for them to utilize to increase their likelihood of closing sales. And before making any assumptions about why they could feel hesitant, actually ask them and address those issues together.

An incentive-related initiative should be an exciting and inspiring time for everyone in your company, so present it as such. No doom-and-gloom, no unrealistic expectations, and absolutely no placing the responsibility on the sales team alone. Working together makes it easier for excitement to spread throughout the company, which is then passed onto your customers.

Also remember that even if everything is done correctly, external factors beyond anyone’s control can sometimes affect success. So don’t go placing blame if things fall short and you know everyone did their very best. Accept that there were things you could not control and try again. Perseverance, communication, and cooperation across the board are essential keys to success.

To find out more about our products and how we can help you go above and beyond your competitors, fill out the form below, contact us online, or give us a call on 1-866-883-2968.


Building a Better Sales Comp Plan & Why it Matters

By | Airfare Package / Vegas, Home Improvement / HVAC, Motivating Sales Team / Staff | No Comments

This article originally appeared on LinkedIn.

I think that travel incentives are a fantastic product, but they are underutilized by many organizations. Thing is, if you can wrap your head around them, you’ll soon realize that you were totally missing out. The benefits of travel inside a sales comp plan is the one-two punch of travel’s ability to inspire and rejuvenate your people.

The inspirational value of giving someone a vacation, the value of time off, time to relax, time to be with family, and time to learn something and have social contact is more important than ever.

They Say: “Show Me the Money”


The most common reason I hear from managers as to why they don’t use a travel incentive, despite understanding the importance of motivating their team and keeping things fresh, is this: they think their team will prefer cash. Managers often make the fatal flaw of asking their team what they want.

“Announcements, meetings, vacations, gym memberships or golf trips can serve as effective motivators, as can training or educational opportunities, which are best when tied to specific, exemplary behavior on the job.” Forbes Coaches Council

Why You Shouldn’t Ask

So, what’s wrong with that? What’s wrong with asking your recipients what they would like before you spend thousands and thousands of dollars formulating a plan and then rewarding people with something they didn’t ask for?

The simple reason is that people don’t know what’s good for them.

As Steve Jobs famously said when asked why he doesn’t use consumer focus groups, he answered: “A lot of times people don’t know what they want until you show it to them.”

People will always say cash as what they want. And of course, you have to pay them cash. But a component of your compensation plan must be travel or vacation rewards because YOU need something to keep things fresh, interesting and fun inside your sales organization.

Gimme, Gimme, Gimme

The majority of people will react to what is an immediate gratification or the most immediate point of pain in their sphere. And, unfortunately for most of your sales people and most of your distribution channel, and most of your franchisees and partners, the most immediate pain point is their next Visa bill. Immediate gratification is going to be paying off part of the Visa bill, buying a TV, or some other widget.

As a leader in your organization, the problem for you is that the euphoria you created with that $1,000, $2,000, or $5,000 reward is going to be very short-lived. You will hand it out on Friday and it will be forgotten about by Tuesday – and your investment will have lasted a whopping four days!

Case Study: Thermo Pride

Thermo Pride revived their acquisition and retention program using Odenza’s incentive travel program – the incentives were promoted in newsletters, contractor publications, and throughout their sales offices across North America (you can click here to download it).

The ROI Factor

Remember ROI. The problem is that your ROI is too low on a cash incentive. As soon as that money is spent, it’s gone. There is no residual effect. For those of you into fitness, it’s like the difference between cardio and weights. When you lift weights you get a metabolic residual effect, and you continue to burn calories even after your workout is done; as opposed to cardio where you’re only going to burn calories while you’re actually in motion. The latter is simply inefficient for extended calorie burn.


Compare that to an experiential reward like a quick trip to Las Vegas, or a family trip to Six Flags, or even two tickets to a show or a football game. When you hand that prize out, the recipient immediately gets excited, then there’s the joy and pleasure while the trip is being booked, and then the excitement continues to build in anticipation of having some time off and maybe going somewhere they’ve never been before. After that, you get the memories and the water cooler talk of how great their getaway was.

All of this is without even talking about social media! Imagine the impact as they’re snapping pictures and communicating with coworkers and partners about the fabulous reward they won. And depending on what you give them, you may get years and years of positive return on that investment.

What Options Do I Have?

There are a variety of vacation offers and incentive travel trips you can utilize, which include:

Individual incentives:

This would be a prize for a sales leader and his/her spouse. Given away for meeting pre-set target levels, it’s easy to administer and easy to deliver – cruises, Vegas, a weekend getaway, Napa Valley, or a staycation.

Group incentive travel:

Think meetings or an overall trip for the sales team – even the entire company for meeting a preset profit target. Group meetings let people reconnect; and these days where teams can be spread out, it may be the only chance people get to meet, share ideas, and build comradery.



Giving a travel incentive as a reward means that you did something. It means you put some effort into thinking about your people’s well-being, and that’s important. We are all competing for talent and we may not be able to go to the extent that Google or Amazon can, but that doesn’t mean that we can’t be a little bit imaginative. Be creative and give your team something that doesn’t break the bank, but at the same time delivers a memorable experience – not to mention the fantastic ROI it can offer you.

To find out more, contact us online, fill out the below form, or call us on 1-866-883-2968.


Here’s How Sutherlin Nissan Triumphs with Their Travel Incentives

By | Automotive, Cruise Packages, Eye-Catching Showrooms, Gaining a Competitive Edge, Increasing Sales / Gross Margins, Motivating Sales Team / Staff, Outstanding Marketing, Powerful Closing Tools | No Comments

Florida’s Sutherlin Nissan: A Travel Incentive Success Story

“A lot of times when we’re close to making a deal, and the customer’s just not too sure about doing the deal or not, we’ll say, ‘What if we throw in a cruise for two?’ 90 per cent of the time, they say yes.”

Sutherlin Nissan is just one of many dealerships throughout the US that has made use of Odenza’s travel incentives. We’ve said in the past that how effective an incentive is depends on how well it is utilized, and Sutherlin Nissan is a shining example of this.

There are two key ways in which they have used our incentives over the years, and they’re both worth taking into consideration for your business – it doesn’t matter whether you manage a dealership or business in the heart of Florida or not. Great ideas transcend industries, as well as locations.

The two approaches Sutherlin Nissan has often embraced are:

1. As a reward on a spin-the-wheel random prize draw; and
2. As a closing tool

1. Random Prize Draw

If you’ve ever had an issue with getting people into your store, then no doubt you’ve asked yourself this question: “What can I do to make people want to come in?” A big ad campaign may not always be an option given the costs it can bring. In light of this, sometimes the determining factor is the experience you can offer a customer over your competitor – whether they’re next door, a couple of blocks away, or even a town over.

For Sutherlin Nissan, as with most dealerships, their competition is very close by. To create a sense of excitement for customers who came to their dealership, they had a prize wheel. Being able to spin the wheel didn’t necessarily require a prospective customer to even buy anything. There was the chance of a great reward just for stepping foot inside the dealership.

The random prize draw was a great success. Sutherlin Nissan’s General Manager, Lance Lopez, says, “[People] see other customers spinning the wheel, and it creates a lot of excitement. They want to be a part of that.”

Bringing Your Customers In

Now, while you may be thinking, “That’s all well and good, but it doesn’t mean it’d work for me,” you have to consider why a random prize wheel was beneficial for Sutherlin Nissan – it brought more people in and got more eyes on their vehicles.

In general, I know I have walked past plenty of great stores in my life but never set foot in them purely because there was no additional incentive to do so. After all, if there are three shops that all do basically the same thing, I’ll probably be drawn to the one that is putting in a real effort to differentiate itself – lower prices, better return policies, superior customer service, and/or high-quality incentives.

There would be two key factors that would cause me to stop at a dealership. These would be 1)is anything on sale? and 2)what can this dealership offer me that the one across the road can’t? If I saw a sign out front of the dealership that read, “RANDOM PRIZE DRAW! SPIN THE WHEEL AND WIN, GUARANTEED!” then that’s going to pique my interest.

It’s this ability to bring a prospective customer in that can significantly turn the tide for you. Even if the customer in question isn’t actively looking to buy a product you sell, you still have an opportunity to guide them in that direction. You can never underestimate the value of increased foot traffic.

Don’t forget that an additional incentive or random prize also influences the opinion people form about your business. Prize draws and rewards offered for purchases build a strong, positive association between the consumer and your brand. This association is fundamental, because it can lead to any number of positive outcomes:

1. They become a repeat customer;
2. They go out of their way to write a positive review about your business;
3. They tell their friends and family about your business (word-of-mouth marketing); and
4. They become a brand evangelist for your business – someone who never has anything but positive things to say about your business and what you do


2. Closing Tool

Using a cruise incentive as a closing tool has been a highly successful strategy for Sutherlin Nissan. For Lance Lopez, the experience he has had with our incentive packages over the years have led to a closing rate of about 90%. That means whenever a cruise for two has been offered up to sweeten the car-buying deal, 90% of customers have made the purchase.

Industry averages for auto dealers can differ depending on who you ask, but often you’ll be looking at a closing rate of between 15 to 30%, give or take a couple of percentage points on both ends of that scale. So taking Nissan Sutherlin’s percentage into account, they have a closing rate at least 3 times higher than industry averages.

What Makes it Work

Offering people a cruise is going to sweeten the deal of any sale, but it also comes down to execution. The success at Sutherlin Nissan is also thanks to the fact that Lance and the entire team of dealers were involved in the effort. They took the time to learn about the incentive product they were selling.

With that understanding came the ability to effectively integrate it into their marketing and sales efforts. If you had a dealer fumbling over the details of a cruise or vacation offer, then you’re not going to feel that confident about this value-added incentive.But if a dealer can say, “This is how it works,” and lists the key details of the cruise or the vacation succinctly and without fumbling over themselves, then your response will logically be different.

This is what Sutherlin Nissan have done successfully time and time again over the years – and it’s their ability to sell their cars and these cruise incentives, as well as their enthusiasm, that has led to such exceptional closing rates. Enthusiasm and excitement are infectious – if you and your staff convey that, then your customers will, too.

If you want to find out more about Sutherlin Nissan’s success story or how our products can help your business greatly increase sales, then be sure to check out the YouTube video we embedded earlier of our interview with Sutherlin Nissan, or you can access it below along with a couple more important links.

Want to talk right now? Call us on 1-866-883-2968. Alternatively, you can fill out the form at the bottom of this page and we will get in touch with you as soon as possible.

Additional Links

Interview with Lance Lopez of Sutherlin Nissan
Odenza Reviews – what our travel customers have to say
Odenza Vacations Partners
o WestJet Vacations, Las Vegas Conventions Visitors Authority, Air Canada Vacations,
Carnival Cruise Lines
Contact us online


Las Vegas Casino Gives Back to the Community Through Odenza Promotion

By | Cruise Packages, Motivating Sales Team / Staff | No Comments

Fitzgerald’s Casino and Hotel Promotion

Fitzgerald’s Casino and Hotel in Las Vegas, NV is known for sponsoring volunteer events to improve the surrounding neighborhoods. To further create excitement and a sense of community, casino backs up these events with team member travel incentive programs.

During a special project to improve the surrounding neighborhoods, volunteers decorated trash bins in local school yards which would then be reused to store school supplies. The goal of the project was to make the area a better and safer place for the community’s children. These establishments were also the focus so that the community could get together and improve the quality of the neighborhood.

The Contest

Fitzgerald’s Casino and Hotel sponsored a school supply drive to improve the community’s area. The casino promotion consisted of gathering volunteers and the casino employees and challenging them to create an eye-catching design that would be used to decorate the trash bins in the surrounding area.

Additionally, the casino promotion awarded the top teams for doing so, adding to the fun of the casino promotion. In order to encourage people to take part in this special event, Fitzgerald’s offered a team member travel incentive that was organized by Odenza. This played a large role in the success of the casino promotion.

The Team

Odenza is the leading travel incentives company according to a study conducted by Concordia University. Their award-winning sales and marketing team worked with Fitzgerald’s Casino every step of the way to make sure their special events ran smoothly.

Furthermore, Odenza has many travel options to choose from, so you’re sure to find something that’s not only affordable but is something that your employees and clients will enjoy. Odenza’s award-winning travel agents will help you to profit from this experience while having fun as well.

Additionally, travel incentives are a great prize to offer clients and volunteers. They’re the leading prize option for companies to offer their clients as they generate better results than other prizes do. These other prizes include things like cash and gift cards, among other things, as vacations offer the winner an experience and cherished memories. So, what better way to generate interest in your company and its promotion than to offer a complimentary travel incentive? Not only will your clients, employees, or volunteers have a great time creating great memories with loved ones, they’ll also be reminded of how they got there in the first place. It provides extra motivation to invest in your company or, in this case, to volunteer for your company’s charity.

Here’s what Fitzgerald’s decided to go with.

The Prize

The members of the groups that placed first, second, and third in the casino promotion were awarded tickets for two to go on a Carnival Cruise to Mexico. The prize helped to encourage and motivate the volunteers to not only participate, but provided them with the prospect of an exciting reward at the end. The prize and the contest also helped to bring the community together and rewarded the volunteers for doing so.

Furthermore, the winning teams decided to do an extreme makeover with one of the dumpsters at Booker Elementary School. This was done for three reasons; most of them came from single-parent families, their school was demolished, and the classes were being held in trailers until the new school was finished. Overall, the volunteers went above and beyond to help their community.

With the help of Odenza, this special event was a big success. The travel prize, which Odenza helped to carry out flawlessly, provided Fitzgerald’s with a unique prize giveaway. It also helped to generate excitement for the special event and motivated the volunteers to do a good job when working on their designs. Not only did Fitzgerald’s casino benefit from the casino promotion, but it benefited the community and created a bonding experience for the city’s residents. This is just one of the ways a travel incentive can help a company to profit from a special promotion.

Call Odenza today on 1-866-883-2968 or fill out the form below and see how they can help your business profit from a travel incentive.