Tesla announced today that it's rolling out a referral program through October 31st that's designed to boost sales through word of mouth, and it's a pretty decent one: for every referral that current owners generate, they'll get $1,000 — and the new buyers will get $1,000 off their purchase. The company says that the program is designed to reduce the cost of selling cars through its growing network of first-party stores; it seems like current Model S owners are probably pretty likely to gush about their cars to friends and family anyway, but this only ups the incentive. The referrals will be made through a custom link offered to current owners, which makes it sound a lot like any other referral program on the internet.
Or tour the Gigafactory and attend the grand opening party
The $1,000 bonus isn't all, though: if you refer five people, you get to tour Tesla's upcoming Gigafactory battery manufacturing facility in Nevada and head (with a guest) to the opening party. Refer ten and you'll get to buy one of the company's "Founder Series" Model X crossovers with every option equipped, which is actually kind of a big deal considering that the waitlist for the X could push new buyers a year or more out.
Oh, and one more perk: the first owner to refer ten people who buy their own Tesla will straight-up get a free Model X, which is probably somewhere around a $100,000 prize — so you'd better get to referring right now.
Here's the email that Elon Musk is sending out to customers:
Word of mouth has always been a major part of how Tesla sales have grown. When I meet Tesla owners, one of the first things they often tell me is how they have convinced many others to buy the car.
As you may already know, Tesla does not advertise or pay for endorsements or product placement. Maybe by doing so we could sell more cars, but I don't like the idea of trying to trick people into buying a product by false association. If you see somebody famous driving a Model S, it is because they genuinely like the car. If you see it in a movie or TV show, it is because the people associated with that production genuinely like the car.
Besides word of mouth, another way that our cars are sold is through stores. These will always be important to allow people to check out new models and ask our product specialists detailed questions. However, stores are quite expensive to set up and operate. In reviewing the Tesla cost of sales, we found that it is approximately $2,000 to sell a car through our stores, higher in some regions and lower in others.
Both ways of reaching potential customers are important, but, if we can amplify word of mouth, then we don't need to open as many new stores in the future. So, we are going to try an experiment. This is similar to the customer growth program that I worked on at PayPal/X.com back in '99. What worked for PayPal may not work for Tesla, but it is worth trying, as the net result would be lowering our costs by $2,000, allowing us to give that money to our customers.
From now through October 31st, if someone buys a new Model S through your link (XX include link XX), they will get $1,000 off the purchase price and you will get a $1,000 credit in your Tesla account, which can be applied to a future car purchase, service charge or accessories. To put some limits on the experiment, each Tesla owner can grant a maximum of ten $1,000 discounts.
Just for fun, there will also be some things that money can't buy. If five of your friends order a Model S, you and a guest will receive an invitation to tour the Gigafactory in Nevada - the world's biggest factory by footprint - and attend the grand opening party. This will be awesome. At ten orders, you get the right to purchase a Founder Series Model X, which is not available to the public, with all options free (value of about $25,000). The first person to reach ten will get the entire car for free.
Verge Video: Riding in the insane Tesla Model S