The big prize Featured

11:15am EDT October 23, 2003
$1 million.

That's the award given to one of Seven Hills-based Health-Mor's distributors for selling 15,000 of the company's Filter Queen indoor air quality systems.

The award, part of a comprehensive package of training, business assistance and incentives, is seen by the company as a career development award, not just a sales incentive. The $1 million is part of a career development program called The Edge that helps the company's direct sales force increase sales and meet their personal goals.

"It's not just about sales, but educating young people to become independent business people," says Darrell Weeter, president of the Americas sales division for Filter Queen. "We have some of the best training and development in the (direct sales) industry. It's not just about the money. The first person took about five years to hit the goal. We project we'll probably have one or two more hit it next year, and probably a couple of people per year after that."

The Edge program, combined with more traditional sales incentive programs and contests, has had a direct effect on sales. The company saw a 22 percent increase in sales last year and is expecting more than 20 percent this year.

The program has also helped retention. The more a person sells, the closer they get to the $1 million reward.

"Someone who is selling our product and starts hitting 3,000, 4,000 or 5,000 systems is getting closer to that award," says Dan Roman, vice president of marketing. "They don't want to go anywhere else. They are more vested in the situation."

The program has also given the company better contact with its customers. The sale of a system isn't counted toward the 15,000 unless the warranty card is registered.

"We have about 99.99 percent registration," says Weeter, noting other appliance manufacturers get anywhere from 50 percent to 80 percent return rates on their warranty cards. "We find out where our customers are and tie that into our customer for life program. We make sure they are happy with the product.

"Our objective is to try to create a different image of direct sales. We are just not going to sell to them today and be gone tomorrow. We want them to know we are a network of independent sellers that will be there in the future." How to reach: Health-Mor, (800) 760-4644


Incentives that work

Health-Mor, a manufacturer of indoor air quality systems, uses a variety of programs and incentives to keep its network of independent direct salespeople selling.

The company's The Edge program offers training and development, along with a $1 million reward for the sale of 15,000 Filter Queen systems. But on the way to $1 million are plenty of other incentives.

"We have a President's Club contest where you can earn different awards," says Darrell Weeter, president of the Americas sales division for Filter Queen. "You can earn a one-karat diamond ring, a President's Rolex or an Oyster Rolex. If you sell 1,000 units a month for three consecutive months, you can win a new Jaguar. We also have quarterly incentives like cruises."

The company has given away trips to Costa Rica and 20 trips to Hard Rock Cafes all over the world. The incentives are impressive for a company that employs 150 people in its manufacturing facility, not counting the 3,000 to 5,000 sales associates worldwide.

"Sometimes you put up a sales promotion and you get a tremendous return, and sometimes you don't," says Weeter. "Our incentives are typically a do-it-and-get-it type contest. You have to sell at a pretty high level to get the award."

The company dedicates a percentage of sales to be reinvested back into incentives, so as sales continue to rise, so, too, does the value and number of the incentives. Health-Mor also uses recognition programs, complete with championships, trophies and plaques for top performers.