WHEN THE ORANGE COUNTY/INLAND EMPIRE (CALIF.) division of D.R. Horton (the nation's largest home builder, based in Fort Worth, Texas) created a six-month incentive campaign among its sales associates around the promise of an expense-paid trip to Hawaii, it sustained interest with monthly gift packages containing gear that the winner could use on his or her trip. A tote bag at the campaign's launch preceded items—including sunscreen, flip-flops, and a straw mat—sent each month to the 16 participating associates with a tally of results.

In addition to overall sales, those gunning for the trip (and the moniker “Big Kahuna”) were measured by closings, referrals to the company's in-house mortgage lender, capture rate, and customer service. “We wanted to achieve or exceed our sales goals while initiating a friendly, fun, and memorable competition,” says division president Jimmy V. Luker.

It worked: Sales were up 42 percent over the division's goals, and the campaign inspired camaraderie among associates. It was so successful that the division awarded the grand prize to two associates and the superintendent (and their guests). At least one other D.R. Horton division took notice and launched a similar effort.

CAMPAIGN DETAILS Program: Internal sales promotion; Builder: D.R. Horton-Orange County/Inland Empire division, Irvine, Calif.; Cost: $8 per item per associate; Marketing/Advertising agency: Weston-Mason Advertising, Santa Monica, Calif.

Learn more about markets featured in this article: Los Angeles, CA.