FULLERTON, Calif. (Jan. 1, 2001)—The acronym "rpm" means revolutions per minute and is a measure of an engine´s operating speed. However, Yokohama Tire Corp. has another type of "rpm" it hopes will help dealers "rev" up sales and profits.
YTC´s rpm stands for "Rewards Performance Membership" and is a reward and benefit program for the tire maker´s direct and associate performance tire dealers.
The program includes gift money that sales associates can redeem for hundreds of items; a quarterly sweepstakes featuring a variety of trips; and a CD-ROM-based sales training program called Exceed.
Rpm took effect in July and already is doing "very, very well" and YTC really expects the program to take off in 2001, said Dan King, director of marketing and corporate sales at YTC.
"We´re even hearing (of interest in rpm) from dealers who aren´t even direct or associate dealers," Mr. King said.
Qualified retail sales employees receive four "incentive" dollars for each Yokohama performance tire sold and wholesale salespersons earn one incentive dollar for each tire sold.
The incentive is available only for sales of certain lines and sizes of Yokohama high performance tires—Parada, AVS Sport, AVS db Decibel, AVS S/T, A520, AO32R, AVID H4/V4 (16- and 17-inch) and AVID T4 (16- and 17-inch).
To qualify for the program, a YTC sales associate must successfully complete an updated version of YTC´s Exceed sales training program and pass a test. The CD-ROM-based program contains previously recorded training video segments that include interactivity, immediate feedback, new information and self-graded tests.
Once a sales associate completes the training program and passes the test, YTC then contacts the World Wide Web site Flooz.com. which sets up an account for the employee.
The employee logs on to Flooz.com to redeem the incentive credits,and can select items from over 60 namebrand online retailers.
"That was one of the things we really were interested in," Mr. King said, "trying to make this program unique." Flooz.com provides similar incentive programs for a variety of other companies, he added.
Rpm member-dealers also are entered in a quarterly drawing for a trip to events such as the Tokyo Auto Show or the American LeMans auto race in Sydney, Australia.
"We´re known for our performance tire products," he added, ``but also for our performance tire knowledge."
YTC hopes the rpm program will continue to build the company´s position in the performance tire market. Mr. King wouldn´t release sales figures, but said Yokohama´s performance tire sales exceeded industry growth in 2000. "We´ve had a tremendous year in performance," he said.