Elon Musk DOES NOT NEED TO, NOR SHOULD HE offer any incentives to excisting Tesla customers for customer referrals...

Elon Musk DOES NOT NEED TO, NOR SHOULD HE offer any incentives to excisting Tesla customers for customer referrals...

I've read that many existing Tesla customers suggested, hinted and some even demanded some type of referral incentives when their friends and/or family members actually buy a Tesla. I find this to be amusing because they speak as if though they deserved to be compensated for something they have earned through their sweat and efforts. This is pure none sense because we all know that anyone who sees a Tesla will want to own one, with absolutely no sales pitch necessary from any person because the car literally sells itself. Tesla is still considered a start-up company and we need to make sure they can stay profitable so that they will be around a long time to service our Model S if and when needed.

bradslee | July 8, 2013

With or without this so called referral incentives, it will not change the way that I continue to show anyone how great MS is. I am glad that two people after my MS demonstration have bought MS. I do not think that we as MS owners would promote MS less if no referral incentives are offered by TM. By driving MS, we are the "de facto spoken" sales persons of MS.

lolachampcar | July 8, 2013

I will continue to show my MS (when the next one arrives) at every possible opportunity for exactly the reasons mikefa suggest and because others need to be exposed to, what to me, is the obvious solution moving forward.

I would prefer to remain uncompensated and, apart from my bias, untainted by the idea of being paid to pitch the car.

HenryT2 | July 8, 2013

I agree.

However, a small token can be positive for both the referrer AND Tesla. It would have to be something small enough that it is both not an additional burden on Tesla for an "unnecessary" expenditure, and yet big enough that the token is not an insult for helping to sell a $62K+ car.

I suggest a limited edition Tesla jacket. Only to be given to referrers. It would not cost much and would be both a nice "Thank you" and further advertisement for the company. The wearer would wear it proudly further advertising the company and also feel that the company has recognized his effort. It would not "tarnish" the motivation of the referrer because I don't think anyone would question the motives of a person recommending a $62K+ car because he wanted to get a free jacket.

J.T. | July 8, 2013

People love getting something seemingly for free, even if they're in reality paying for it.

tobi_ger | July 8, 2013

On the other hand TM does not (yet or ever?) need the same, huge marketing budgets in the billions like the big ones. So some jackets are a pretty nice ROI, I guess.

ziggy | July 8, 2013

I love selling the car, or rather I love just pointing out all the cool things about the car and letting it sell itself. I get excited and I want to share in that excitement.. I need no pat on the back or token or whatever..

And it is great for my business, it really breaks the ice with potential customers. The enthusiasm is infectious.

KOL2000 | July 8, 2013

OP chill out - I sold 7 with effort and time on my part (happily is besides the point). Don't think a t-shirt will break the bank :)

jonesxander | July 8, 2013

Tshirt sounds cool.

Something specific for the referrals tho, like I sold a Tesla Model S and all I got was this lousy Tshirt!

jonesxander | July 8, 2013

ohhh I know! Something tongue in cheek like, "Tesla Dealer" or "Your friendly Neighborhood Tesla Dealer".

You know, to kinda poke fun at NADA and what have you.

Mark K | July 8, 2013

Elon is the first and only automaker to recognize that service must not be a profit center, because of the inherent conflict with the customer's best interests.

The passionate advocates for the company and its products offer their support for reasons that transcend money.

To pay them to persuade buyers would ruin a crown jewel of the company.

DigitalSavant | July 8, 2013

I completely agree. The incentive is the fact that I own a technologically cutting-edge car that I absolutely love to drive. Another incentive would be for the company to sell enough cars to be capable of delivering a car affordable by the masses.. so I can afford to put one of those in my garage, next to my prize S. If people want to earn commissions on sales, maybe they should fill out a Tesla Motors job application and sell them for a living. I've actually considered that.

AmpedRealtor | July 8, 2013

@ mikefa, so you think giving owners a $10 t-shirt when they sell one or more Model S vehicles most likely over $80,000 each, in addition to his/her own vehicle, is going to keep Tesla from profitability? If that's the case, my friend, we have much bigger problems wouldn't you agree?

So I suppose we needed an entirely separate thread to protect Tesla's profitability by not providing t-shirts to owners. I must have forgotten about the countless corporate collapses that have occurred because of free t-shirts.

MichaelN | July 8, 2013

how many T shirts or jackets would a person want? - after a while they might become a garage sale item (pun intended) - I guess they could make them in 100 different colors -

AmpedRealtor | July 8, 2013

@ MichaelN, how about once you sell at least five vehicles you get a limited edition, collector's Tesla jacket, shirt, whatever. It's a great, inexpensive way to show appreciation and I think that's all people are looking for. OP sets up a false, straw man argument when he says owners have "suggested, hinted and some even demanded some type of referral incentives". I know of nobody who has demanded anything, and any hints or suggestions have to do with receiving appreciation, not with receiving compensation.

stevenmaifert | July 8, 2013

Elon Musk is also the CEO of Solar City, which has a robust customer referral program. Early adopter sales of Model S are still strong, but that's not going to last forever. Incentives for referral sales are just another tool in the marketing department's toolbox. Chill.

AlMc | July 8, 2013

Personally, I am just happy to help propel this company and EV technology forward. If I benefit from a price increase in the stock value then that is just 'icing (no pun intended) on the cake'.

SamO | July 8, 2013

One share of stock for the first car sold.
Two shares for the second car.
Three cars for the third.

This program works as long as you are a Tesla owners.

If you are a Power Seller, then by the 20th car, that's 20 share + 190 previous shares.

210 shares x $121/share = $25,410

Tesla will have sold 20 cars x $80,000 average selling price x 25% gross margins = $400,000

Mark K | July 8, 2013

Elon is not CEO of Solar City. His cousin Lyndon Rive is. Elon has a nonexecutive role as chairman.

Propagating Solar energy has different demands, and referrals may be appropriate there.

The auto industry on the other hand, has a long history of repair rip offs and dishonest salespeople. Car buyers almost universally hate this.

This is Elon's moment to redefine the enitre industry ... everything about the experience of buying and driving a car.

He knows it, and he's going for it.

stevenmaifert | July 8, 2013

Mark K - I stand corrected. If Elon is to redefine the entire industry, then compensated customer referrals could certainly be part of the redefinition.

Brian H | July 8, 2013

How 'bout a Boy Scout setup:
1) a jacket
2)+ a shoulder badge for each new one.

BION, status is a MUCH more powerful motivator than money, which is merely a tool to attain status.

Alternative: a RC MS for each car sale referral. Christmas presents for life!

bnwdon | July 8, 2013

There are a lot of companies that kick back money to a customer that finds new customers for them, I don't think this is the way Tesla should operate. Receiving some kind of incentive for selling a car makes me feel I am promoting the car for personal gain. I promote Tesla simply because it is the best car on the road and love telling anyone that will listen. My personal incentive is watching Tesla stock going up and up.

bb0tin | July 9, 2013

It is better to give than to receive, so maybe whenever someone 'sells' a Tesla they personally give something to Tesla, rather than the other way around. ;-)

Mark K | July 9, 2013

Steve - the authentic quality of people vouching for a product where they have nothing personal to gain is irreproducible.

Commissioned sales representatives are not intrinsically evil as long as buyers know how they are compensated. But customers as sales force is a far grayer area and fraught with risk.

If you like old way, buy a BMW from a dealer. But what Tesla has in their volunteer army is unprecedented and precious.

This is a tectonic change and it must stay pure to retain its power..

HenryT2 | July 9, 2013

I wouldn't give a jacket for EACH sale. Just one for having made a sale. The "limited edition" nature of the jacket would be spoiled if one guy got 10 and gave them to his friends and kids.

To me, a T-Shirt is just silly. It doesn't last. And it's not something many people would wear frequently (once a week??? if you're the type who likes t-shirts).

A limited edition keychain would work, but it wouldn't be very visible.

A license plate holder? That might work.

In my opinion, it would have to be something that has a value over $50 (preferably $100-300) and is not available to the public.

Is it NECESSARY? No. Would it hurt Tesla? No. Would it make people who helped sell cars feel better about their "good deed?" A little.

It's like giving someone a reward for returning your puppy. It probably wasn't necessary. They probably would have returned your puppy anyway. But it's still a nice gesture.

J.T. | July 9, 2013

I'm not a billboard for advertisements. Then again, I'm not a "designer" type of guy. I won a jacket at Foxwoods for getting a royal flush. Never wore it. I didn't earn it. It just happened. What does it say about the person who does wear it?

Many posters have said the car sells itself. That's the ultimate truth. If you give someone a ride in your new car and they like it, it probably wasn't because of your expert driving ability. If you answer questions that they could look up the answers online, all you did was have a conversation. If they buy the car after this, you didn't sell it, you got lucky that the person who you interacted with was in the market for a car, could afford the car, and first saw or rode in the car with you. Just luck. Any salesman will tell you it's not that easy.

You didn't sell it anymore than you sold the cologne you wear when someone smells it and decides to buy some for himself/herself. You want a jacket for that?

edfinn | July 9, 2013

I dont see any need for an "incentive" to show and show off my Model S to friends and anyone gawking. It is the cutting edge performance and features that I love to show off, and the car then sells itself. On the other hand, if Tesla Motors sent me a t-shirt, I would happily wear it, as I happily drive the MS.

jandkw | July 9, 2013

When my son and daughter made good scores in school, my wife and I not just congratulated them but gave them prize rewards. When I made extra effort on my work project, I received additional bonus from my boss. This is token of appreciation whether we think we deserve or not. What I am saying is a little token of appreciation, whether it is a jacket, one year of maintenance service (as someone suggested) or whatever, can go a long way along to motivate current Tesla owners. I believe Tesla management considers us, early adopters as grassroot customers and want us to be loyal to the brand. After all, Elon asked the grassroot supporters to work with the legislation for nationwide online sales support. The 100K signatures to Congress promptly established along with the NC legislation which I was involved? All these items along with customer referral require efforts and time on our part. Understanding many of us do not live in CA and showrooms are still hundreds of miles away and would it be nice if I can let my friends test drive my Model S and eventually make a sale? Also, this token of appreciation is a common practice from dealers if I make a referral which I received multiple "Dinner For Two" from dealers in the past.

bjorn | July 9, 2013

I love the comment of giving the ones who refer the t-shirt "I sold a Tesla Model S and all I got was this lousy Tshirt!". That would still make the point and everyone knows we would not do it for the value of the t-shirt.

DigitalSavant | July 9, 2013,
Well said. I would also like to add that having reached a point in my life and career to be able to afford one of these cars for myself is a huge reward. If I really wanted a T-shirt, I'd happily throw Tesla another $12 just to say Thank You for making the car! ..but I don't really want a T-shirt, or any other crap for that matter.

SuperChargers... now there's a GREAT freebie!!!

SamO | July 9, 2013


Tesla T-shirts are $22-$28

scole04 | July 9, 2013

This is hiliarous! Tesla is not running a pryimad scheme.

petero | July 9, 2013

lolachampcar. Admit it, you do not want to be traumatized by the "car salesman" label.

AmpedRealtor | July 9, 2013

Too much talking - get back to selling! LOL

petero | July 9, 2013

AmpedRealtor. Does this mean you are waiving your commission?

Bighorn | July 9, 2013

ABC--Always Be Closing.

AmpedRealtor | July 9, 2013

@ petero, yes I'm waiving my jacket.

Brian H | July 9, 2013

As I suggested, 1st car a jacket, subsequent cars sleeve badges (1 each car) for the jacket. Like notches on your gun.

bobinfla | July 9, 2013

Free T-shirts could break the bank. Don't forget, on top of the cost of the shirt, they cost like $15 to ship. Oh wait a minute, that's the frunk net. Never mind.

DigitalSavant | July 9, 2013


$22?!? Forget it.. I take back everything I said. ;-)

bent | July 9, 2013

Fighter pilots put small images of fighters on the sides of their plane to denote how many enemy kills they have. Or at least that's what hundreds of hours of watching WW2 fiction has taught me.

So Tesla could issue official Tesla Model S silhouette stickers, you get one pair in the mail for every Model S you sell for them and you can stick them to the sides of your own Model S. (Then do a range of Model X stickers once they start to deliver.)

And a white star sticker when you make ace of course.

Brian H | July 9, 2013

No, not a pyrimad scheme, nor a pyramid scheme. Not neither nor. ;p

HenryT2 | July 9, 2013


Love the badge idea.

Achievement badges. For all manner of things, not just selling cars.


Badge for selling 1 car (comes with jacket)
Badge for second
Badge for 3peat
Badges for 5th, 10th, 20th, 50th, 100th???

Visiting certain number of superchargers (10, 25, 50, 100, 200)
Achieving certain kW/mi (example driving 10,000 miles at less than 300kW/mi, less?)
Total miles driven 100K, 200K, 300K, 500K?

I believe they should all be difficult enough that even the simplest badge would be difficult to earn.

Can you think of any others?

Of course, in order to allow all to participate, you'd have to give patches without forcing people to get "the jacket". They could buy a simple Tesla jacket or use one of their own. But I believe people who have "the jacket" would get more recognition.

Also, the result could be duplicated online in a "hall of fame" with people racing to be first to visit all superchargers, etc.

HenryT2 | July 9, 2013


Like the decal idea. Simple, cheap, effective.

I still prefer my jacket (and Brian H's badge) concept, but I think your decal idea would be easier and cheaper (if that is a concern for Tesla).

portia | July 9, 2013

agree with most, no t shirt or jacket needed. a thank you card signed by Elon or JB or Franz will be great and more than enough.

HenryT2 | July 9, 2013


I like the thank you card. But I'm not sure how many people are going to tell their friends to inform Tesla of their referral in order to receive a thank you card.

But generally, I think it would be better than what they're doing now.

Again, I don't think any of us NEED a gift or token. It's just nice to feel appreciated.

petero | July 10, 2013

Badges? Jackets? I prefer the classic (WWI, WWII, etc.) warplane way of marking your confirmed kills (sales) with a small, Tesla logo decal on the front quarter panel.

The only down side is you have to sully the tragic good looks with stickers. As it is, I can’t bring myself to apply the white, CA, HOV stickers - and my ‘S’ is white.

Brian H | July 10, 2013

At 500/wk and climbing fast, that's a lot of writer's cramp!!