THE LINE. WAIT FOR YOUR APPOINTMENT OR TAKE THE FRESH UP?

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THE LINE. WAIT FOR YOUR APPOINTMENT OR TAKE THE FRESH UP?

Have you ever stood in a long bank line where one of the bank tellers has an open wicket with no customer? You know that they can see that there is a line yet they don't even acknowledge you or anyone else in the line. Although only a couple of minutes has passed, it seems as if it has been an eternity! To make matters worse, you feel that the teller and ultimately the bank doesn't care about your business as they are making you wait when clearly there is a teller available. Are they really available? Perhaps they are off shift or are balancing the days banking transactions. It isn't that they aren't working, rather it is your perception that they aren't working for you. After all, their perception is their reality even if isn't actually accurate.

Sometimes salespeople have appointments that are coming in and they don't want to engage with a walk in customer. They want to be ready and available for their appointment when they walk through the showroom doors. Unfortunately, the customer that has just entered and is waiting to be helped doesn't know that you have an appointment. They surely are not mind readers. All they see is a salesperson who isn't willing to assist them. They may even think that you are pre-judging whether or not they can buy a vehicle. Either way, they may be formulating a negative opinion of you,  your dealership and perhaps even the brand that might in turn decrease the probability of them doing business with you.

If this happens in your dealership, make sure to acknowledge the customer promptly. Try to find another salesperson who might be available to assist them. If there isn't anyone else available to assist the customer then tell them that you have a pre-scheduled appointment coming in but you would be more than happy to assist them until they show up. Suggest to them that you will attempt to find  another salesperson to take over where you left off. You just might find that the customer might want to continue working with you and would be willing to schedule an appointment to come back!

Have a terrific day!

Drew

SIMPLE SOLUTIONS FOR BUILDING SALES

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TIME = MONEY. DON'T THROW AWAY THE TIME THAT YOU ALREADY SPENT

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TIME = MONEY. DON'T THROW AWAY THE TIME THAT YOU ALREADY SPENT

I often am amazed at salespeople who don't invest much time and effort in following up with prospects who have already been in the dealership. These types of salespeople will wait hours and sometimes even days to speak to a new walk in customer rather than trying to bring back someone who they have already seen and spent a great deal of time with. What a waste of time...literally!

Lets look at it through the lens of ROI (i.e. return on investment) of their time. For the sake of easy math calculations, lets assume averages and not the exceptions. There will always be customers who spend 5 minutes with you while others you spend hours. There will be weeks where you close above the industry average and weeks where you close less than it. Assume that salespeople on average spend one hour with every new walk in. Now in an average week they talk to 10 new walk in customers. That represents 10 hours of the salespersons time. If the salesperson closes an average of 15-20% of their fresh walk in traffic then there are 2 hours of productive time and 8 hours (i.e. 8 walk ins that they didn't close) of unrewarded time. Over a period of a month that is 40 fresh walk ins = 40 hours invested for a return of 8 deals with 32 unproductive hours. Over a year; 480 customers = 480 hours = 96 sales and 384 hours of potentially unproductive time.

If you don't invest more time in attempting to bring these customers back in through good follow up then you have potentially wasted a great deal of time and effort. The point here is to increase your ROI of the time that you spent by actually doing follow up. If you follow up diligently and effectively then a mere 10% ROI of your time will equate to 3.2 more deals a month and 38.4 more deals for the year for this salesperson. That is easy math and time well spent!

Have a terrific day!

Drew

SIMPLE SOLUTIONS FOR BUILDING SALES

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WHY DRIVING ON THE SAME DAY IS AN ADVANTAGE

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WHY DRIVING ON THE SAME DAY IS AN ADVANTAGE

There are times when you know that your customer is comparing your vehicle to another one somewhere other than your dealership. An important question to ask your customer is when they plan on driving the other vehicle. If it is on a different day, then you might be putting your vehicle at a disadvantage if you don't get them back to drive yours again for reasons other than you might be thinking. Your salesperson wants to be the last stop so that they have a better chance at closing but that shouldn't be the only reason albeit a good one. When in this situation, too many salespeople just tell their customers to come back for a second test drive without an explanation of why they should do so. How successful do you think they are of convincing them? If you were that customer would you? If you want to convince your customer why that they should then consider the following example.

It is a cold day and your customer goes for a test drive in your vehicle. The seats are hard and cold. The heater is noisy and blasting. They put the vehicle into gear and it is sluggish as it isn't fully warmed up. The suspension is stiff and the tires have flat spots. The windows are hard to see out of. The road is slippery as well. Do you think that your customer is totally relaxed or a bit anxious and perhaps uncomfortable because of the cold? Now a week later this same customer drives a competitors vehicle on a mild day as the cold snap has gone. It is bright and sunny outside with dry roads. The heater isn't blowing nearly as hard. The seats and the suspension aren't rock hard either while the engine is quite warm and responsive. Of the 2 different vehicles driven days or weeks apart, which one would appear quieter, smoother and more enjoyable to drive? Which vehicle was the customer likely to be more relaxed in?

The example above has parallel comparisons but with different environmental influencers. Here are some other examples. Rain test drives versus sunny test drives. Night versus day test drives. Windy versus calm day test drives to mention just a few. In these situations like the cold versus warm test drive example above, you might be putting your vehicle at a disadvantage should your customer drive multiple vehicles on different days.

The question remains on how we convince our customer that they should come back and drive our vehicle again. Simply suggest to your customer that it is in their best interest to drive both vehicles on the same day so that they can fairly evaluate the drive feel and performance of each vehicle in similar road conditions and environments.  Ask them if that makes sense. You'll likely get a 'yes"! Make sure at that point to find out when they plan on driving the other vehicle and make a tentative appointment right there and then. Don't forget to do a confirmation call a day before the second test drive as well.

If you provide a reason why that they should come back and it makes sense to them , then you will likely see your customer again. We all know that we are closer to earning someone's business when they are back in your showroom for a second time!

Have a terrific day!

Drew

SIMPLE SOLUTIONS FOR BUILDING SALES

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DESK MANAGER OR FLOOR MANAGER WHO ARE YOU?

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DESK MANAGER OR FLOOR MANAGER WHO ARE YOU?

By geographical definition a desk manager is at their desk in their office or tower where as a floor manager is walking the floor. There is a difference between a desk manager and a floor manager but quite often management views it as one and the same. Depending on the size of the dealership they indeed may be one and the same or they could be two distinct roles. The more important question to ask is, does your sales manager consider themselves a floor manager by being a desk manager?

It is the nature of the business to have our sales managers work "in" the business and not necessarily "on" the business. Sales management as a desking role has to deal with the day to day operations. Their daily ritual includes desking deals; ordering vehicles; appraising trades; doing reports; showroom and lot management; dealing with heat scores; meetings and various other day to day operations to name just a few. This is what I call working in the business. It is what is expected of them but it is also what comes at them!

A floor manager works in the business as well but they also serve another function. That is, to work on the business. A floor manager is responsible for making sure that our salespeople are truly ready for our customers. That just doesn't mean greeting our customers promptly at the door or how quick we answer a sales call or internet lead. It is also making sure that our sales team says and does the things that we expect of them. A floor manager is also preparing for customers who aren't presently in the dealership, on the phone or behind a keyboard. It includes making sure that their follow up is current; that the sales team is trained and that they are up to date with their courses. A floor manager is proactively engaging their sales people to be well prepared for the customer that isn't presently in front of them, be it a walk in, phone call or an internet lead.

No one doubts that it is important to have our sales managers work hard in the business. The question is are they working just as hard on the business.

Have a terrific day!

Drew

SIMPLE SOLUTIONS FOR BUILDING SALES

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WHY SALES MANAGERS SHOULD MEET CUSTOMERS

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WHY SALES MANAGERS SHOULD MEET CUSTOMERS

Sales managers should always want to meet with customers. Unfortunately there are a number of sales managers that rarely take the time or make the effort to do so. They may say that they will meet them if they are buying today. To that I point I ask you, is it not the customer who isn't buying today the one that you don't want to really meet? Meeting with as many of our customers as we possibly can is one of the most important things that any manager can do!

There are a number of reasons why managers should meet with customers. First of all, they should want to...it is the best part of our job! To inspire, one must lead by example. If you want your salespeople to get out from behind their desks then so should you. Given the opportunity we should always want to reach out and thank our customers regardless if they buy or not. It affords us an opportunity to answer any questions and tackle any potential objections. It gives us the chance to assist in booking a future appointment with them. It gives the manager the ability to gage and evaluate the salespersons performance by asking the customer how their experience has been. It also affords us an opportunity to ask for the sale if the time is right. Lastly but not least important, it may differentiate us from our competitors in a positive light.

Your goal as a sales manager should always be to reach out and engage with every customer that you possibly can. There will be valid reasons why on some occasions that you can't. Just don't subscribe to excuses why you can't and find ways that you can! You will be surprised how good you feel!

Have a terrific day!

Drew

SIMPLE SOLUTIONS TO BUILDING SALES

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VEHICLE ACRONYMS

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VEHICLE ACRONYMS

Different professions (Dental, Medical, Military, Aviation etc) have and use different types of acronyms and abbreviations to communicate between themselves and their peers. They can be useful for reasons such as, simplifying conversation while creating uniformity with those that we engage with.

The automotive industry also has acronyms and abbreviations. In fact there are over 23,000 of them! The industry has some universal acronyms that are interchangeable and cross different brands such as ABS, SRS, 4WD, EPS, (anti lock brake system; supplemental restraint system; four wheel drive; electric power steering) to name just a few. Many of these types of acronyms meanings are known, used and accepted by both salespeople and the general public.

There are 2 potential issues with using automotive acronyms. First of all, it gets confusing as many automotive brands have similar vehicle features but they call them either different names or have variations of words from names for features found on other brands. These features typically have an associated acronym attached to them. It isn't uncommon for consumers and even salespeople to think that another brand may not have a particular technical feature when in fact they may very well have but it is called a different name with a different acronym. The other issue with using acronyms is that there are salespeople who use them without even explaining what it stands for or how it works and why it might be important for the customer. You can't assume that your customer knows what a particular acronym stands for. If by chance they don't know, then they may not ask you what it stands for out of fear of looking uninformed. It is great that the salesperson might know what the acronym is and what it does but if your customer doesn't then what value is it to them?

Acronyms can be useful in our conversations with our customers providing that you use them correctly and with a useful purpose. If you are going to use a vehicle acronym then first make sure that you inform your client what it stands for and how it might benefit the customer.

Have a terrific day!

Drew

SIMPLE SOLUTIONS FOR BUILDING SALES

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JUGGLING TOO MANY CUSTOMERS AT ONE TIME

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JUGGLING TOO MANY CUSTOMERS AT ONE TIME

Have you ever seen a juggling act where the objects fall to the ground? If you work in a dealership you will see something similar now and then when salespeople are dealing with multiple people at once. More often than not, they increase the probability of losing both of their customers.

There are times when it is truly is unavoidable and the only option but in many cases it is a scenario that could have been avoided. Maybe the salesperson is greedy and doesn't want to relinquish control of one of their customers or perhaps they believe that are competent enough to juggle two or more customers at once. Think about it this way. How many of the proven sales steps is a salesperson missing when they aren't with one of those customers? Perhaps they allow one of the customers go for unaccompanied test drive while they deal at their desk with the other customer. Who is explaining and demonstrating the feature/benefit of a given system in the car? Maybe the salesperson is short cutting and rushing with the other customer at their desk because they know that their other customer will be back from the test drive shortly. Worse yet, what if the salesperson makes one of the customers wait while dealing with the other customer? If you aren't focusing on and giving your customer 100% of your effort and knowledge then they are not getting the best of what you have. Therefore you not building as much value with them.

What kind of message are you sending to these customers? Your customer(s) might perceive that you think that the other customer is more important than they are. Regardless if a customer is spending $5,000.00 or $100,000.00 on a vehicle purchase, they want to feel as if they are important and valued and respected. If you can't give them that then there are other salespeople at different dealerships who will and your customer knows that. It doesn't serve    either the salesperson's best interest nor the customers when they are dealing with multiple people in the showroom at the same time.

Have a terrific day!

Drew

SIMPLE SOLUTIONS FOR BUILDING SALES

 

 

 

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THE IMPORTANCE OF PRACTICE, DRILL AND REHEARSE

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THE IMPORTANCE OF PRACTICE, DRILL AND REHEARSE

Do ever wonder why professional sports teams devote so much time to practicing? They are the elite of their particular sports world and yet they continue to practice. I guess that they want to remain a professional and stay at the top of their game!

I am often amazed at the amount of idle time that there can be for some of our sales people. Many salespeople actually do practice but unfortunately it usually is on their customers! That is likely the worst person to practice on as it is actually game time and we can't afford any mistakes.

I have always encouraged management to get their salespeople out from behind their desks to role play different aspects of the sales process. Like the meet and greet; or a vehicle walk around; or a service introduction; or role playing an objection handling technique.  Hopefully the management has initially trained their people but what are they are expecting of them then how do you know if they are doing it properly? If you aren't inspecting what you are expecting of them then how do you know if they are doing it properly? The management may be surprised with the results that they get from their salespeople evaluations on skills such as explaining technical features of a vehicle, or overcoming objections; or perhaps how to take a sales call. There are a number of different areas that some of our salespeople may need improvement on but it is going to take practice. 

Role playing can be intimidating and that is why I suggest to do it in smaller groups if possible. Consider the following steps for role playing in a group setting... 

  • These meeting are mandatory for both newer salespeople and veteran salespeople (make sure that your salespeople know not to schedule appointments during this time. If someone misses the meeting then they need to go to the off shift meeting, no exceptions).
  • There should be at least 2 sales managers present (it shows management solidarity and buy in). 
  • Everyone participates in the role playing even the managers (leading by example). 
  • Have a preset agenda that your salespeople are aware of before the meeting (email your salespeople before so that they can prepare).
  • These meetings should be at the beginning of the shifts in order to avoid any interruptions (15-20 minutes before the shift  actually begins).
  • Keep the meetings short and concise (25 minutes maximum to keep them sharp). 
  • There should be a management 2 minute intro before starting the role playing (talk about the importance of the topic and what we expect).
  • Management should use these meetings to praise and build confidence (avoid ridiculing or making fun of someone's role play).
  • Have the salespeople vote on who did the best role play and who is the most improved (avoids management bias and strengthens team building).
  • Management 2 minute recap (why this topic is so important to the team and what we expect of our team with regards to that topic).

Please consider this final thought. When you first learned to do any sport, you probably didn't do as well as you now do today; skating or skiing - you fell; golfing - you shanked the ball; tennis - you served into the net; swimming - you did the dog paddle. Now that you have some experience and practice behind you can skate or ski; you can hit the golf ball straight and far; you have a great tennis serve; you can swim 30 lengths etc etc etc. All because you didn't give up and practiced!

Have a terrific day!

Drew

SIMPLE SOLUTIONS FOR BUILDING SALES

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WHO DRIVES FIRST; THE CUSTOMER OR THE SALESPERSON?

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WHO DRIVES FIRST; THE CUSTOMER OR THE SALESPERSON?

Over the years, I have often seen customers either go out for a test drive without the salesperson in the car or with them in the passenger seat. Either way, it likely isn't the best way to go about it. Granted, there are times when your customer has a limited amount of time or perhaps they insist that they drive first. In such situations it is better to accommodate their request then to refuse it. Refusing to honor their request may put a wedge in your relationship with them. So why not save some time and always let your customer drive first? Simply put, you can't build as much value in the vehicle and what it can do for them if you can't demonstrate those features that your customer said was important to them.

Let's face it; most customers get into your vehicle and essentially drive. Very few of them actually physically check out the workings of particular features. Rather they rely on our verbal explanation of them. Sometimes people won't engage a particular feature for fear of doing it wrong. Now some people have a curious nature and will be happy to check them out on their own but most customers won't. You can't build as much value in the vehicle and yourself if your customer doesn't experience it!

A professional salesperson should always find out what the customers hot buttons are in a vehicle. Having the salesperson drive first will give them the ability to actually show their customer how a particular feature works instead of just telling them how it does. Once you take the mystery out of it then your customer will be more likely to try it out themselves. Your customer will certainly get a bigger thrill and value out of trying something rather than just hearing about it.

So why is it that so many salespeople end up in the passenger seat and not the drivers seat first? It likely starts with how the salesperson introduced the test drive. Many salespeople just hand the keys to their customers. The salesperson may even ask if the customer wants to drive first. I am certain that most customers won't say no. The solution to avoiding this is simply the power of suggestion. Suggest to your customer that you will drive first so that you can demonstrate those features that they told you that were important to them. Furthermore, tell them that at a certain point (distance or time) that you will pull over in a safe place and get out and switch places so that they too can drive. 

So next time that you go for a test drive make sure to tell your customer that you are driving first and why. You will build far more value in your product and yourself by doing so!

Have a terrific day!

Drew

SIMPLE SOLUTIONS FOR BUILDING SALES

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MANAGER CUSTOMER REVIEWS. HAVING THE CHEF COME OUT TO YOU'RE TABLE

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MANAGER CUSTOMER REVIEWS. HAVING THE CHEF COME OUT TO YOU'RE TABLE

Many sales managers never end up meeting the salespersons prospective customers. Perhaps they didn't have the opportunity or perhaps they didn't want to make time for the opportunity. Either way, it is a missed opportunity! Too often our sales associates don't introduce our sales managers to their customers because they believe that they don't need the help or that they feel that the sales manager may say something to hinder their success of eventually closing them. On the other hand, some managers don't want to be introduced to their customer unless they are ready to buy. Sometimes managers don't meet customers because they have vehicles to order, reports to finish, meet with wholesalers etc. Really? What is more important than meeting our customers?

We all have been to a restaurant before, It is customary to expect our server to ask us how the meal was but when the Chef or restaurant manager comes out to our table then we take notice! Regardless whether or not you have actually experienced this, how would that make you feel? I believe that most people (customers) would feel special and that their business was appreciated!  For the Chef to make the time to come out and ask how everything was would certainly impress on you that they really do care. People generally like to deal with people who care and have their best interests at heart. It also adds to the "WOW" factor!

Your sales team should want their managers to meet each and every prospective customer regardless if they are purchasing today. For the sales team it is an opportunity to show that you differ from other dealerships. It is an opportunity to tackle any unanswered questions and it assists in overcoming any potential objections before the customer leaves. It also gives you an opportunity to acquire or firm up a future appointment. Finally, it may even present an opportunity to ask for their business and close today instead of tomorrow.

Time well spent is always spent with our customers and there is nothing more important in the sales industry then meeting with them! So the next time your salesperson has a customer in the showroom then make sure to walk out to their table and ask them how their diner was!

Have a terrific day!

Drew

SIMPLE SOLUTIONS FOR BUILDING SALES

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MEET & GREET YOUR CUSTOMERS AS IF YOU WERE HOSTING A DINNER PARTY

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MEET & GREET YOUR CUSTOMERS AS IF YOU WERE HOSTING A DINNER PARTY

I am often asked by sales associates where I think that they can improve their skill sets. I tell them, "Let's start from the beginning"... literally! We can never have do-overs when it comes to the first impression. The meet and greet may indeed set the tone to what impression your customer ultimately has of you and even perhaps where the sale goes. 

Let's equate the meet & greet to your friends coming over to your home for a dinner party. You promptly meet them at the front door with a warm smile :) You then courteously direct them to a comfortable place and offer a refreshment. You ask them particular questions and listen to what they have to say. You likely explain what is on the dinner menu and when it will be served. In essence, you cater to their needs and ultimately you make them feel genuinely comfortable and welcomed in your home!

Conversely, let's look at the opposite type of dinner party. I don't know many people that have dinner parties that wouldn't greet their guests at the front door. Your door is open and your guests wander through your home aimlessly in plain view and you don't even acknowledge them. When you finally confront them, in a monotone voice you ask them, "Has anyone in my family helped you yet?". Certainly you wouldn't ask them to have a seat at the table right away and then start to tell them everything that is going on in your world. If your dinner parties modelled this format then it would likely end up being a short party with a lot of tension! What type of dinner party are you holding for your customers?

A proper meet & greet should be prompt, warm, accommodating and inviting! Making your customer feel at home from the get go is a great way to start building a strong relationship. Your dinner guests like your customers are more likely to stay for dinner or at your dealership if they feel wanted, respected and appreciated. After all, you will never have another opportunity to make a first impression!

Have a terrific day!

Drew

SIMPLE SOLUTIONS FOR BUILDING SALES

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AVOIDING THE HUDDLE AND ALL OF IT'S BAD NEWS

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AVOIDING THE HUDDLE AND ALL OF IT'S BAD NEWS

I often go into Dealerships and see a group of salespeople huddled around a vehicle or at some workstation. That in itself is an issue for what it might portray to a customer that sees this walking through your showroom but more importantly you might want to consider what or how they are communicating between themselves.

These huddles don't typically inspire conversation of best practices or any form of sales self improvement techniques. Rather they can be a breeding ground for negativism and they certainly don't create a work environment that promotes "coming to work to work".

Typically in most Dealerships these huddles are ignored by management but in some stores the manager is prompted by a higher manager to break it up. Many managers barrel over and assertively break up the huddle. Think of what that actually does. It reinforces the "us versus them" mentality and it truly doesn't change behavior or reflect a positive outcome.

I recommend that the Management takes advantage of these huddles by actually making them productive and a working forum instead of always breaking them up. Perhaps insisting on a spot walk around challenge or a role playing exercise. You can even encourage each of them to relate a recent positive sales experience. The point is to make something positive out of something potentially negative, "Lemonade out of lemons"! The learning experience of such impromptu gatherings is actually secondary to the main goal. That goal is to create a positive environment with good news instead of bad. After all, we all preach that sales is about building positive experiences with our customers so why don't we do the same with our sales teams.

Have a terrific day!

Drew

SIMPLE SOLUTIONS FOR BUILDING SALES

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