Landmark Communications

Three-tiered plan pays off for top performersReal estate salespeople are a breed apart.They do not have protected territories. They usually work alone or with a partner. Because they are paid straight commission, they can change companies overnight without missing a beat...

Three-tiered plan pays off for top performers

Real estate salespeople are a breed apart.

They do not have protected territories. They usually work alone or with a partner. Because they are paid straight commission, they can change companies overnight without missing a beat financially.

As a result, real estate salespeople traditionally feel little loyalty to the corporate logo on their business cards.

Rival brokers

If they are good, and have the numbers to prove it, another real estate developer or broker is always eager to hire them away.

That is why Landmark has identified top producers as the primary focus of an incentive program.

Landmark is recommending a three-tiered program in which all salespeople start even and earn their incentive prizes based exclusively on current performance.

Unfair advantage

In contrast, other methods such as ‘percentage over last year’ penalize last year’s high performers and provide an unfair advantage to those who did poorly in the past 12 months.

The three-tiered prize structure ensures that all salespeople have a chance to win something, and that first-tier incentives are special enough to motivate the company’s top performers.

Tier one – club membership

The top five sales producers over the first six-month incentive period would win a membership to the exclusive golf, ski, tennis or social club of their choice.

The company would buy the equity corporate membership and pay annual dues for winners and spouses as long as the winners make their numbers.

Not only does this top-tier incentive convey status to the winners, it also increases their earning potential by providing a venue for mixing socially with potential clients.

But the real strength of this club concept is its continuity. It is not just a one-year incentive. As long as the salesperson stays in the top five, he or she keeps the membership. It also forges a stronger bond with the sales performer and the company.

Tier two – a leased vehicle

The second flight of incentive prizes would reward the number six through 10 sales producers with a fully equipped Jeep Cherokee, Ford Explorer, bmw or Audi for the year.

Again, the company would lease the vehicle and the salesperson would have use of it as long as he or she stays in the second tier at year-end.

Not only is there prestige involved in this incentive, it is also of practical benefit when driving clients around to see homes. And again, it has continuity and inspires loyalty to the company.

Tier three – career development

The third tier of incentives can reach as deep into the salesforce as the company can afford or justify.

Salespeople who have not qualified for the top two tiers would receive sales skill development courses.

This incentive demonstrates that the company is interested in accelerating their careers and giving them the power to increase their income.

The company’s top producers are entrepreneurial, type A personalities who are driven by money, status and recognition. As the company’s best, they deserve to be recognized by their peers and their potential clients for excellence.

Corporate ad

In addition to the three-tiered incentive program, we recommend creating and producing a corporate ad that prominently features the photographs, names and achievements of the company’s top 10 salespeople.

As a no-cost addition to the program, the company might also allow its top salespeople to participate in the design and marketing strategy of future developments. This would build involvement, loyalty and a greater sense of ownership in the company.


The signals that this multi-tiered concept sends to the company’s salesforce include recognition, reward and continuity.

The company is saying that it is willing to reward long-term performance and loyalty with long-term benefits.

Especially in a marketplace in which top-performing real estate salespeople are in demand, we feel that any incentive program should keep them around, as well as keeping them operating at their peak.

Selling it to the force

With any sales incentive program, selling it to the salespeople is nearly as important as the rewards. If the company is going to spend $150,000 on incentives, it should let the salesforce know.

To sell the program, Landmark would create a video that would merchandise the incentives, clearly outline the rules, and let the salespeople know the company values their contribution.

Katherine Van de Mark is president and Norm Oulster is creative director/writer at Landmark Communications, a Toronto-based corporate communications firm.