From the blog


Dealer Sales Compensation: More Excitement, Less Dread


How often do you make meaningful changes to the comp plan for your dealership’s sales people?

For the majority of dealers—53 percent, to be exact—the answer is three years or more, according to our research. For 39 percent of dealers surveyed, the answer was four or more years. Only one percent of the dealers in our nationwide survey indicated that they review and update their sales comp plan every year or so.

I don’t mean to take any one to task here. After all, there are no hard and fast rules for how often to update a sales compensation plan. But given the ongoing flux in our industry, it’s safe to bet that a comp plan with four or more years of age on it is not delivering the biggest bang for the buck for either the company or its sales team.

Paul Holland
Paul Holland
In our experience, it’s not that dealer principals and sales leaders don’t think about sales compensation. It’s that thinking about changing the compensation approach produces a mixture of emotions that’s strong enough to produce inertia.

(Strong evidence of this inertia is the 20 percent of surveyed dealers who responded “Unsure” when asked about the typical period between meaningful changes in their sales comp plan.)

Overcoming the Inertia at NeoCon

On June 15th, I’m going to be showing a group of NeoCon 2015 attendees how they can meet this inertia head on. We’ll do it in a seminar called “Demystifying Sales Compensation.”

I’m looking forward to it because I know that, with a proven methodology to guide the thinking, dealer principals and sales leaders can work through their dread over sales compensation and stop seeing it as voodoo science. They can come up with compensation plans that do a great job of supporting their businesses, their sales people, and their bottom lines.

During the seminar, we’re going to look at both internal and external factors that should guide the development of an effective sales compensation plan.

Looking Inside the Dealership

We’re going to talk about the best ways to apply the answers to organizationally related questions like these:
• How do you define your compensation philosophy?
• What can the business afford to pay?
• What sales roles do you have?
• What behaviors do you want to see?
• What activities do you want to see?
• How do you transition to a new plan?

Looking Outside the Dealership

We’ll also add important context for compensation planning by considering questions such as:
• What are the typical elements of a sales compensation plan?
• What are the trends in compensation structure?
• How does your company compare to other dealerships within the industry?
• Where can you gain strategic advantage over your competitors?
• What’s the right way to tie rewards to achievement so you can better handle market shifts?
• How can you tell if your approach to compensation aligns well with overall company objectives?

Leveraging Current Industry Data

The seminar will include a look at some of our findings from the 2015 Solomon Coyle Compensation and Practices Survey. The objective in sharing representative examples of this information is to show how dealer principals and sales leaders can use results of the latest survey to get up to speed on sales compensation across the industry.

More on the June 15th Seminar

Sales compensation done well is cause for excitement within the dealership. “Done well” implies a strong competitive position, an empowered sales function, and a healthier bottom line.

I hope you’ll join me on June 15 as we discover the excitement in sales compensation planning, overcome the dread, and work toward an energized and higher performing dealer sales team. We’ll start promptly at 2:30 PM.

If you'd like to hit me with a question or comment in advance, please send an email or leave a reply below.

Seminar Title:
Demystifying Sales Compensation (M135)

Monday, June 15, 2:30-3:30 PM

Education Track:
Dealer Strategies (DS)

Catalog Description:
Click the Dealer Strategies filter at and select the Monday schedule

$55 when you register online by June 12; $65 if you register on site

Online registration:

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