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Friday Poll: The Most Memorable Spiff You've Ever Received

    • 1361 posts
    November 19, 2009 11:21 PM PST
    Here's this week's Friday poll question:

    What is the most meaningful or memorable spiff you've ever received as a salesperson? What did you do to earn it?

    Please post your replies below. Thank you!
  • November 20, 2009 4:40 AM PST
    A year's dry Cleaning.... When I got it I had no idea what a big deal it was!
    • 83 posts
    November 20, 2009 5:19 AM PST
    Back in the late '70s I was due a $1000 year end bonus for meeting goal. The manager of the station, however, knew I had my eye on a Wurlitzer studio upright piano in one of the stations studios that had been unused for years, but in excellent condition. He offered me the piano in lieu of the cash, and I took it. We still have that piano in our living room today.
    • 112 posts
    November 20, 2009 6:02 AM PST
    The most memorable spiff I ever received was a pair of tickets to the Rolling Stones, about 10 seats back from the stage. Got them for helping out my boss on one of his major accounts. The concert was great, but the satisfaction from getting a pat on the back and a thanks is what I remember most!
    • 6 posts
    November 20, 2009 7:24 AM PST
    we were getting near our goals and we were looking towards the future to keep climbing. so our company give those that reached their goals a BMW. there is nothing like a $30,000 gift you can drive around and show people how good you really are.
  • November 20, 2009 9:42 AM PST
    With over eighteen years of working within this industry, I can honestly say the most memorable spiff I have ever received was from a client many years ago. I entered into her office and knew immediately something was not right. As we began to talk business, I sensed and saw the hurt she was holding inside. I took a step of faith and shifted gears away from business and asked her if everything was okay as I snesed somethingwas very wrong. For the next hour, I sat and listened as she poured out her heart regarding a recent diagnosis of advanced lung cancer in her husband. I ended our meeting that day not with a signed contract but with a word of prayer for her and her husband. Over the next year or so, we often ended our meetings that way until Bob went on to be with the Lord. The spiff, I received in return was a valued friendship for many years with this client and a better understanding of how important it is to remember that our clients are much more than just numbers in the book or a sale to be made.
    • 183 posts
    November 20, 2009 10:18 AM PST
    After better than a year of long nights, weekends and overtime helping to pull off a series of community promotions the company traded my back yard. A landscaper came in, tore up the dirt, laid sod and ran a concrete line around the edge for a garden of plants and flowers that cycled through the year. As one bunch faded another bloomed. A timed sprinkler system was included.Besides adding to the value of the property it made Saturday afternoons a treat.
    I earned it with the extra effort, but I was still expected to write and produce the spot for the landscaper. It was well worth it.
    • 1361 posts
    November 20, 2009 12:12 PM PST
    Wow, Terry, what a touching story; thanks for sharing. I certainly agree with your last statement about clients being more than numbers in the book. Actually, I think that's the aspect of my job that I enjoy the most -- the opportunity to meet station managers from all over the country, and develop personal friendships as well business relationships. ~ Rebecca
    • 59 posts
    November 23, 2009 4:57 AM PST
    Each year at our annual company Christmas party, our owner chooses and employee of the year, called the President's Award. Know one ever knows his criteria for the choice but he is an excellent speaker and always makes a moving and memorable speech about that person. 3 years ago I was honored to receive the President's Award. During the speech it was mentioned that I was chosen that year because I was the only person in the 30+ year history of the company who had ever exceeded their annual sales goal. I wasn't even aware I had accomplished that feat,so that knowledge was a wonderful surprise and the award an honor. Tthere was a large cash bonus and gift bag with many gift certificates, clothing, gas cards, etc.

    This year sales is a very different story in sales and my hats off to anyone exceeding or even meeting their sales goals!
    • 13 posts
    November 23, 2009 5:55 AM PST
    FROM A CLIENT: I once convinced a shoe store to cut a planned double truck (side by side full pages) newspaper ad in half and use the savings on radio to promote their annual 3-day truckload sale. They had a record-setting weekend and the owner gave me a Thank You note with a $100 gift certificate inside.

    FROM OUR STATION: Back in 1985, management had set what we thought was a ridiculously high sales goal for the year...the first million dollar goal for WIBW-AM. Our GSM asked the GM if he would send the staff to HAWAII with spouses if we went beyond that and brought in 1.2 million. Not thinking we would get it but would be motivated to do better, the deal was made by our GM. That January, we were invited to a Luau in a hotel suite with our spouses, where the offer was announced, along with an exciting video presentation by a travel agent. Our spouses become involved in our day to day motivation and we acheived the unthinkable by mid-November. Our team went in two shifts to spend a week in Hawaii with our spouses that next March.

    Do this simple exercise with your sales team in a meeting: Ask them to stand next to the wall and reach up as high as they can and touch the wall. Then ask them to really stretch and reach even higher. They'll be amazed that they all stretched a couple inches more than they thought they could.
    • 1113 posts
    November 23, 2009 7:00 PM PST
    Hands-down, the most meaningful and memorable spiff I ever received took place over three decades ago.

    It was sometime during the autumn of 1976. Around the conference table where we held our weekly sales meetings sat all the salespeople, general manager Len, owner Jerry, and sales trainer Jim Williams, with whom we'd just completed an intensive day or two of training.

    Jim turned to Jerry and said, "Did you bring it?" Jerry nodded, reached into a pocket, pulled out an envelope and extracted from it a $1000 bill. Jim asked him to pass it to the person next to him, and so forth, stressing that each individual at the table should spend a few moments handling (he may have said "fondling") the unusual bill. I'd never seen one before, and I'm sure there was a silly smile on my face as I examined the bill with President Grover Cleveland's image on it.

    Amidst the ooohs and ahhhs, Jim said: "Sell one 'standard month' in the next 60 days and this is yours."

    I no longer recall whether a standard month was $5000 or $10,000 run within a 30-day period by a single client. (Do any other RSC members familiar with Williams remember which it was?) But in either case, that kind of sale to a single client represented a ton of money for a station in a town of 26,000 back in 1976. It had never been done before at our stations.

    At the time, I was calling on the local Pamida/Gibson discount store and had them on the air using primarily coop dollars. My practice was to call the coop manager at their headquarters in Omaha to find out if they had funds for, say, Black & Decker, Hamilton Beach, West Bend, Skil tools, and so forth. I had learned that many, perhaps most of the stores in the chain were not using the radio coop dollars they'd accrued, so if I went "overboard" on occasion, the funds were typically there to cover the local stores excesses.

    Since the holiday season was approaching and most radio coop funds expired at the end of the calendar year, I seized upon what seemed a natural opportunity. I went to the local manager with an ambitious proposal for the months of November and December, easily equal to two of Williams' "standard months." He agreed to sign the proposal on the condition that I secure home office approval for the excessive coop funds. I called my contact at headquarters in Omaha, he said the funds were available. (He also asked me to "go easy." I failed to ask him what that meant.)

    So, Gibson's became by far and away the dominant advertiser on the stations those two months, filling the airwaves with exciting reminders to buy electric drills and jigsaws, blenders and crock pots, and all manner of name-brand gifts for Christmas...and I earned two spiffs, one for each of the "standard months." The combination of those spiffs, my regular commission, and a nice tax refund the following spring, enabled me to make the down payment on my first house in April 1977.

    I wish I could say that the experience was 100% positive, but in truth it was not. My expectation, based on the words that came out of Jim Williams' mouth and seemingly confirmed by my employer, was that the bonus would be a $1000 bill, just like the one we passed around the room. When the time came though, I was paid by check...with the standard withholding and SS deductions taken from the amount of the bonus. As much as I hate to admit it, this was something of a letdown. (Yes, I realize this sounds like niggling.) I'd been told the bonus was that $1000 bill and that's what I was expecting! So, the reality came with a slightly bitter aftertaste.

    Now, under the circumstances I didn't complain, of course. In fact, until this moment, only my dear wife has been aware of my disappointment. But I mention it now only because it taught me a valuable lesson about the importance of fulfilling the implicit terms of an agreement, and striving to meet (if not exceed) the legitimate expectations of others grounded in a commitment I've made to them.

    So, I am grateful both for the bonus and for the lessons that came with it. And there it is...meaningful and memorable, thirty-three years later!
    • 1113 posts
    November 23, 2009 7:12 PM PST
    Your stretching exercise reminds me of 212...the extra degree
    • 39 posts
    November 30, 2009 9:21 PM PST
    I certainly classify the annual client trip/cruise as a spiff. . . . traveling to Hawaii, Alaska and Hong Kong was certainly fun and memorable.
    • 14 posts
    November 9, 2018 1:34 PM PST

    Christmas Parties?  Spiffs? Bonus's ?Haven't happened here in 10 years that I've been around

    • 1113 posts
    November 10, 2018 11:56 AM PST

    MJ - why is that? Has management never considered how a sales contest or spiff might result in reinvigorated sales?


    • 1361 posts
    February 15, 2019 12:00 PM PST