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I’m seeing a new breed of pay plans emerge at dealerships that seek to balance transparency with customers and the store’s need to make a profit on every deal.

Here’s an example from a dealership that has achieved double-digit growth in its used vehicle sales since adopting Velocity® principles, market-based pricing and a transparency-minded sales approach (e.g., RealDeal) with customers:

1. Volume-based bonuses.

At this store, salespeople who sell 20 units will make $1,700 per month (or $85 / unit, a figure that’s adjusted for lower volume tiers).

2. Transaction discount bonus.

The idea here is to minimize the discounts salespeople give to customers. The scale: $250 for closing a deal at asking price, $225 for deals $100 off asking price, $200 for $200 off and $175 for deals more than $200 off.

3. Trade-in valuation bonus.

The store uses AutoTrader.com’s Trade-in Marketplace (TIM) and a walk-around with customers to value each trade-in. The salesperson receives 15 percent of the difference (if any) between the TIM value and the ACV.

4. F&I / other sales bonus.

The dealership pays a flat $20 if a customer finances the deal at the dealership, and 10 percent commission on any accessory and service contract sales.

I like this pay plan because it strikes a good balance between meeting customer expectations, ensuring profit margins for the store and providing a respectable wage for salespeople.

Likewise, the third-party validation gives salespeople confidence to stand behind the store’s approach to pricing and trade-in valuations and helps them hold gross through all facets of the deal in a manner customers increasingly expect and respond to favorably.

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