by Leo Jakobson | May 10, 2016

Watches remain a top incentive award, with luxury Swiss timepieces at the pinnacle, but their cost -- usually beginning in the mid-four figures and climbing rapidly past $10,000 -- makes them an award limited to a very elite few.

Eleven James is out to change that with a business plan that Founder and CEO Randy Brandoff calls a luxury collaborative model and likens it to his former employer, NetJets, the fractional corporate jet firm. "Almost every asset class that a generation ago you needed to own to enjoy is now enjoyed by the membership of a fractional-based program," he says. "Instead of going and spending $5,000 to $10,000 to dip your toe -- a pretty big hurdle -- we provide that perfect entry point."

Eleven James offers members a selection of fine Swiss watches ranging from Breitling and Rolex to Bell & Ross and Breguet. Watches are divided into four price categories starting at $149 a month, and members select a new one to wear every three to four months, and earn points towards buying a fine watch as well. 

That model makes a great incentive program says Jeramie Snelling, general manager of Gettel Automotive Group, which has 12 dealerships. It recently partnered with Eleven James for a luxury-watch-based sales incentive program at Gainsville, FL-based Gatorland Toyota, its largest dealership. After just three months, Snelling says the company is considering expanding the program to other dealerships, and possibly beyond sales to the sales and service teams.

"This is a perfect fit for the auto industry," Snelling says. "We love watches and this is a business in which money is important, but it is also one of those businesses in which your status among your peers means a lot, being the best means a lot."

The program ranks the top 10 salespeople on a 10-point scale each month in three categories: volume of sales monthly, actual gross profit, and also a customer service index, which is very important, Snelling says. Each quarter, the high scorer gets a year-long Eleven James membership, providing three watches to wear over that time. 

"When the first watch was given out, the look of pride on the guy's face as he went through the process to pick his first watch grew the excitement for everybody," he adds.

Unlike cash spiffs, which Snelling says generate enthusiasm but often are forgotten as soon as they are won, the watches will be on at least four wrists after the first year, reminding salespeople of the program. The Eleven James program Gettel Automotive Group uses goes beyond that, however. At the end of the year, the overall highest point-earner wins a watch of their choice from the collection outright.