Peregrine Communications

Combine business with pleasureWe were pleased to hear about your home building company's success in weathering the economic storms of the past two years, especially since you attribute this success to the dedicated efforts of your salesforce.Your wish to provide continuing...

Combine business with pleasure

We were pleased to hear about your home building company’s success in weathering the economic storms of the past two years, especially since you attribute this success to the dedicated efforts of your salesforce.

Your wish to provide continuing motivation for this dynamic group is understandable and indicates intelligent planning for future growth.

Less impact

While cash is still the No. 1 sales incentive in use today, it has considerably less impact when earnings exceed $80,000 a year. For individuals who can earn compensation in the six-figure range, travel is, by far, the best motivator.

However, when used purely as an incentive award, the actual cost of the trip won becomes a taxable benefit to the recipient, thereby mitigating its overall value.


What we would suggest is a combination of travel incentive and corporate sales meetings to maximize the educational and motivational objectives of the company, while minimizing the taxable benefit impact on the salesperson.

This can be accomplished by making participation in the conference mandatory, thereby creating a non-taxable situation for the salesperson.

If a spouse or friend qualifies to attend, only the incremental costs such as the spouse’s airfare and meals are considered taxable. There is no additional liability created by the room cost since the salesperson had to occupy the room anyway.

Inaugural conference

Since the success of any incentive program is directly related to the development of an effective theme and a strong communications campaign, we suggest you implement an annual sales conference designed to communicate corporate objectives and goals to the salesforce, offer seminars to improve skills and recognize new opportunities, and provide an atmosphere conducive to unwinding and recharging internal batteries.

At the end of this fiscal year, the home building company would announce ‘Foundations ’95′ as the theme for its first annual sales meeting to be held in February 1995.


While not disclosing the actual location, the announcement would clearly indicate a destination ideally suited to both mental stimulation and physical relaxation.

During the course of the year, bi-monthly mailings would develop the educational and professional components of the national sales meeting and introduce the three-step participation level:

- Level 1 – Premised on the company achieving its sales objectives for the year, each salesperson would be invited to attend a four-day, three-night conference at this yet-to-be-named resort destination. Each salesperson would be able to bring their spouse or a friend – but at their own expense.

Level 2

- Level 2 – Once the corporate sales objective has been met, each salesperson who meets his or her own personal sales target for the year will have the spouse/friend invited at company expense.

- Level 3 – Having achieved the second level, each salesperson who exceeds his or her personal sales target by 10% or more will be treated, with the guest, to an additional four nights (one full week in total) at the resort by the company.

The motivational and recognition value of this program will be demonstrated by having all sales personnel participate, as well as the renewed efforts of those obliged to leave after the conference, while those who exceeded their targets remain for a few days at company expense.


While the actual destination is secondary to the overall structure of the program, we would suggest La Costa Resort and Spa in Carlsbad, Calif., as the site of the inaugural sales meeting.

La Costa combines the facilities required to conduct an effective sales conference with recreational features such as golf, tennis and a complete health spa. The climate of southern California in February completes the winning formula.

Cost breakdown

We would be happy to provide a detailed cost breakdown for each element of our suggested program should you decide to proceed.

But be assured that the program as outlined could easily be implemented within your budget projections.

Ed Herbert is vice-president of Toronto-based communications and marketing company Peregrine Communications.