Tesla Sales Rangers

Tesla Sales Rangers

I was recently working with a group of technology executives to help them increase product sales through "social selling" when it occurred to me that with Tesla's limited store network, we early adopters of Tesla cars could be an extraordinarily powerful sales machine.

We all stand to benefit from Tesla's rapid and sustainable sales success. Imagine the impact on Tesla revenues if they could tap into the passion, expertise, and experience of this Forum's Model S buyers. Imagine if each of the first 20,000 early adopters had the knowledge, skills, motivation, and tools to source leads and even close sales. Tesla's sales footprint with increase geometrically with each Model S delivery.

Just as eBay exploded from the development of super users of eBay, so Tesla could explode from the organic development of a community of highly-motivated "Sales Rangers".

What would you need to transform yourself from a passionate consumer to a motivated Tesla Sales Ranger? What could Tesla provide you that would support or facilitate your sales success?

Some ideas that occur to me include:

1. An iPad/online app to allow us to sign up interested buyers from my circle of friends and track the lead back to me
2. A commission system to incent generation of leads that turn into sales
3. A best practices Sales Playbook that would help me with the skills, knowledge, strategies that would allow me to transform my enthusiasm to sales success
4. An online forum (community of practice) for Tesla Sales Rangers to share best practices and organize regional meetings

What else would you need from Tesla to be a Sales Ranger?

jerry3 | 09. august 2012

That sounds a lot like MLM, which is the lowest of the low marketing strategy. I don't think Tesla would like to be tarred with that brush. They are not a sleazy company now and I wouldn't want for them to become one in the future.

MandL | 09. august 2012

It doesn't have to be multi-level. But I agree it starts to stink a little if it gets this organized. Why not just a Tesla owners referral program that gets you swag, maintenance discounts, or (as suggested in another thread here) a free Bluestar for your 100th consummated referral?

ThorensP | 09. august 2012


I agree with you that we don't want to create a multi-level-marketing structure. But I think there is a difference between multi-level marketing an organized community of enthusiasts that can be deliberate about generating leads rather than accidental.

As MandL suggests getting swag, maintenance discounts, credits toward upgrades, etc would be nice incentives to make the effort to provide the lead.

There is also a good deal of research that suggests that instrinsically motivated enthusiasts may even have their motivation dampened through extrinsic rewards. So my intention is not to focus just on compensation, but on the full spectrum of what Tesla would do to facilitate enthusiastic lead generation.

gagliardilou | 09. august 2012

I would love to be a sales ranger but will we not promote Tesla even without pay. We are free sales rangersw for Tesla. No?

ThorensP | 09. august 2012


I agree. I think we are all naturally promoting them right now. And when our Model S is sitting in our driveway, we will be promoting them even more. But other than talking them up, what could Tesla do to help us translate our natural enthusiasm into actual orders?

Volker.Berlin | 09. august 2012

I think Tesla is just fine having us as a marketing force, not a sales force. Most of us are extremely happy to provide that service for free, so Tesla is really benefiting from its loyal early adopters at no extra expense. See this thread for example:

What they give us in return is a vehicle and a service that we can be proud of and that we can whole-heartedly and honestly recommend, thus making our "job" really easy.

jerry3 | 09. august 2012

akimball -- But I think there is a difference between multi-level marketing an organized community of enthusiasts that can be deliberate about generating leads rather than accidental.

Once you put a commission structure in place you no longer have enthusiasts talking about their experiences and good results to their friends, neighbours, and co-workers. You have salespersons selling so the trust level drops to zero because they are now perceived as saying what they get paid to say rather than what they really think (and of course, if they don't mention they are making commission then they are committing fraud). I believe this to be a very bad idea. (Actually, it's worse than that but I lack the family friendly vocabulary to describe it more emphatically.)

Every car dealer has sleazy commission salespeople. One reason that folks are going with Tesla is because there aren't any salespeople on commission. We don't need to add them through the backdoor.

Epley | 09. august 2012


I am in awe of your knowledge of this forum and TMC. I bow down to your expertise--thanks for all the extras!

David Epley

Volker.Berlin | 09. august 2012

Hey David, thanks, you're welcome! That's my way of indulging in my Tesla addiction... ;-)

Teoatawki | 09. august 2012

What else could Tesla provide sales rangers?

Silver bullets?

I think Tesla Evangelists, you know who you are, will soon be their best marketing weapon.

bsimoes | 09. august 2012

We can talk about the car, but the car sells itself!

Vawlkus | 10. august 2012

Every Model S on the road is a mobile billboard sized ad. What more does Tesla need besides owners willing to gush enthusiastic about their new toys

David M. | 10. august 2012

This discussion is very interesting. However, IMO the immediate (12mo) need is not product demand, it's production and delivery. I'm sure Tesla would be interested in any ideas to expedite production and/or delivery to customers.

Here in Florida (3000 mi from Fremont), I continually wonder how many days it will take for a newly produced car to be delivered to the customer here. I thought I remember Deepak saying that Tesla could deliver cars (to customers) in 2 days. Maybe in CA, but doubtful for east coast deliveries. I've shipped cars from CA to FL before. It takes a week. Longer, if the truck stops at Tesla stores along the way. I envision a truck loaded with at least several cars going straight to Tesla stores. Then, one by one, the store would probably deliver one car at a time to a customer's home.

I figure it might take at least 2 weeks for Tesla to deliver a completed car to an East Coast customer and close a sale. Hopefully, Tesla can optimize this process for all out of state deliveries and improve their sales timing and cash flow.

stephen.kamichik | 10. august 2012

Tesla should deliver several cars at a time to local stores (just like other car manufacturers). The cars can then be picked up or delivered to the customer.

bfudge | 10. august 2012

What would I need from Tesla? My Car!!

pilotSteve | 11. august 2012

@DavidM - I agree they will consolidate shipments to the nearest Tesla store then personally delivery to the buyer. My signed MVPA shows the "seller" to be Tesla Bellevue. The "seller" of course also defines state sales tax, motor vehicle licensing requirements, etc.

It would make sense then to consolidate factory to store shipments.

Having met George B I have confidence they are smart people that have a solid business plan for all aspects of the operation. Aspects of the delivery operation that are now opaque will become clear hopefully in the next few weeks!

jlloyd | 11. august 2012

Personally, I would consider an organized, actively evangelistic sales community to be unauthentic and damaging to Tesla's reputation and image. It would turn me away from purchasing a Tesla product.

However, an evangelistic enthusiast community that is specifically not organized is something I perceive of authentic and would encourage me to purchase a Tesla product.

Not receiving kickbacks for promoting products that we are enthusiastic about is vital to maintaining our objectivity as enthusiasts. This objectivity of enthusiastic user base is actually the most valuable asset a brand can have, and should be preserved at all costs.

That being said, akimball, I do appreciate your enthusiasm and desire for Tesla's success and sales growth.

Brian H | 11. august 2012

Yep. You can't buy priceless free publicity. Or SLT.

Andrew18 | 11. august 2012

I was at a large art fair today and there were two Cadillacs displayed by a large dealership, and people were checking them out and sitting in them. being. A Model S would have really pulled in the crowd.

TikiMan | 11. august 2012

IMHO, OPEC, and the major gasoline producers are the BEST sales force for Tesla! Funny thing is, they don't even know what a fantastic job they are doing to sell these cars! ;-)

Etographer | 11. august 2012

It is my belief that this car is a game changer. I will promote and sell this car without any incentive. I honestly believe that I am buying into something that has a bigger picture. I feel that with my purchase I am doing something about a HUGE social issue. If feel that I am leading by example and walking the walk. I will show my car to anyone who wants to see it. I will teach about the benefits and the savings.

Mark my words. As more and more time passes and more Plug in vehicles are delivered, demand for foreign oil will drop. So will our trade deficeit. Our country will eventually enter a golden age because of it. Tesla Motors is setting the bar for excellence and is single handedly forcing other manufacturers to get in the game or be left behind. My hat is off to Elon Musk and his team.

I have met George Blankenship and TM is in good hands. They don't need my help, but they are going to get it.



Docrob | 12. august 2012

I think small tokens for a customer referral wouldn't do much harm, like $100 credit to your next service or perhaps credit on a charge network of your choice. Anything more then tokenistic offerings has the potential to bring the recommendations impartiality into question.

Brian H | 12. august 2012

Even such "tokens" would have that effect. I predict: will never happen.

To be a bit crass about it, TM thinks, with some reason, that TM-owners and reservers are so hyped and amped they can't help gushing and showing off and selling. So why pay them, and reduce it to a chore that requires compensation? I actually think many owners would be offended and insulted by the gesture.

Brian H | 12. august 2012

I commented above to jlloyd that "You can't buy priceless free publicity."
The Catch-44 is that once you've paid for it, it's no longer un-priced (priceless) nor free. It may well be worth even less than you paid for it.

pilotSteve | 12. august 2012

@ Etographer - well said! +1

Larry Chanin | 12. august 2012

I’m the founder of the Florida Tesla Motors Club, and needless to say we are very motivated to promote Tesla vehicles. However, that doesn’t mean our membership should adopt the dubious practices of conventional car dealerships to achieve that end. First of all it would be counter to the game plan the George Blanketship has carefully crafted.

Call me naïve, but I take Elon at his word when he says his objective is to have EVs replace ICE vehicles. When he talks strategically about his ultimate objective it’s not about selling Teslas. It’s about using Teslas to stimulate advancements in the EV industry as a whole.

Our club club’s approach will be to collaborate with other stakeholders for the advancement of electric vehicles as a whole. We’ll be working with folks like the Plug-In America, the Electric Auto Association, electric utilities, local and state governments, etc. In doing this we will participate in rallies with other EVs to demonstrate the advantages.

On September 23rd over 50 US cities will be participating in National Plug In Day. Unfortunately, there won’t be very many Model S’s on the streets at that time, but the few that are will begin to radically effect the public’s perception. These annual events will be comprised of the whole spectrum of plug-in vehicles and the public will be able to choose the vehicle that best fits in their lifestyle and finances.

I greatly look forward to next year, when we have a procession of Model S’s in a silent parade through downtown Sarasota. I expect that there will be many folks here with the means and desire to join the movement. I such a beautiful setting the car will sell itself without any sales gimmicks.

We don’t require compensation to do this. We consider it a contribution to a worthy cause.


Etographer | 12. august 2012

@Brian H

I will not make any money from the charge. Not a single cent. I put in the chargers knowing it would be a cost to my customers. I also knew that I did not have the 100k to see this project through.

All of us pull up to the gas station and spend at least $60. Why all of the sudden are people expecting free energy?

Brian H | 12. august 2012

I see evidence here on the boards that a number of people are either going to your place for the first time, or committing to stop there every time they can. If that's not a promotional benefit, I don't know what is.

David70 | 12. august 2012

I haven't traveled I-5 though Oregon in quite a while, but once I get the Model S I'll probably have to travel that way. Then I'll make a point to stop at Etographer's restaurant.

Teoatawki | 12. august 2012

Trip #2 on my plan is to visit my daughter in Oregon, and friends in Vancouver. Planning on going well out of my way to dine at Etographer's restaurant.

Brian H | 12. august 2012

The EV long-distance network is sprouting! Interesting detours, options, and cross-connections can happen given the first bare-bones framework with just one or two strategic "in-between" stations here and there. A real-time graphics/mapping mashup would be fun to watch!

Etographer | 15. august 2012

@Brian H if it is a promotional benefit, it is a bi-product of my commitment to getting off foreign oil.

@Teoatawki make sure you ask for me!



Brian H | 16. august 2012

Well, you've got an enthusiastic and growing word-of-mouth "campaign" happening. Good things tend to come of that. I think your timing is pretty good.