The "special incentive"
Australian consumer electronic retailing in regards to its sales staff incentive practices is broadly derived from 1960's American models.

Typically the salesman you are dealing with in the majority of interactions involving white and brown goods is paid a salary comprising a basic hourly rate and a commission that is based on a percentage of gross profit of the individuals written sales. There may be turnover or other targets to be met that then allow a higher percentage rate of commission to be paid.

A typical structure might be to pay 6% of gross profit on weekly sales below $15,000 of an individuals written sales turnover and 8% above that figure.

This is pretty standard practise everywhere except Carlton Audio Visual.

The other less well known renumeration sales incentive in Consumer Electronics retailing is the "Spiv" ...

In Wartime Britain the Spiv was a shady character who purveyed black market goods obtained corruptly while the rest of the country laboured under rationing. Think Private Joe Walker in Dad's Army played by James Beck.


Spiv in consumer electronic parlance in Australia stands for "special incentive" ... it is a gratuity given directly by a manufacturer or distributor to an individual salesman to reward them for selling a particular product. This means that the product will be preferentially purveyed over other devices in the store regardless of its vices and virtues or its appropriateness to the client ...

Recently in Melbourne we are told that the proprietor of a well known Hi Fi store discovered by accident that his staff were receiving spivs from a distributor without his prior acquiescence. This meant that they were selling product uncountenanced by the normal culture of the business in the face of other brands that may well have been better for both the business and the client.

Carlton Audio neither pays an individual commission nor does it allow manufacturers to spiv their products. We have a group based renumeration plan based on turnover that encourages the staff to be mutually supportive and promotes ethical long term client relationships.

We believe that properly motivated staff can give good enthusiastic sales service without the internally competitive carrot and stick of margin based commissions and that properly researched clients would prefer to deal with people who are not simply motivated by their individual gross profit per customer results.

I have always felt that allowing spivs in the store would break a fundamental ethos of our operation and corrupt the basic representation of our products in a way that would undermine the relationship with an intelligent client.