Apathy permeates not only the automotive sales business, but every business.
Sometimes, managers, not knowing what else to do, simply throw more resources at the problem in an effort to help their people improve.
That includes courses, books, tapes, DVDs, blogs, portals, lectures, podcasts and many more. You name it, it's out there - oh, and there's probably an “app” as well.
Alternatively, managers do the work for their people because they know they can successfully sell at least one car a day. These approaches only underscore the fact that too often management is the problem.
Instead of doing a salesperson's job, a manager who is on top of the game provides the skills and knowledge that are needed to help their people improve and succeed. Imagine if the manager who sold one car a day, taught 10 of sales people to do the same. The dealership would have the ability to sell 10 times the number of cars in the same period.
Tuned-in managers guide and give direction. They focus their energy on moving forward by coaching, educating, training and developing their people to perform effectively. They offer support and pass on their own information and expertise. When managers focus elsewhere, dealerships lose sight of their direction.
Managers who are on top of their game think differently. They understand that their job is to help each of their salespeople secure one more sale each month. One can make a huge difference.
If a dealership has 20 sales people and each delivers one more vehicle each month, that's 240 deliveries each year.
By capitalizing on existing resources, the dealer will have to spend less time and money to bring in new prospects. In addition, the salespeople will be happier as they will reap the financial benefits of focusing on a realistic goal. All around, it makes good business sense.
Everyone has sales people who can sell just one more but who may have stopped the sale because they didn't have the proper information, education or tools.
A manager's primary job is to develop the abilities of others to perform and produce stated outcomes.
Managers must help each individual establish attainable goals and objectives that are aligned with the needs of the dealership.
They should help each person define the expected outcomes of what success looks like. Then, they can step back and let their people work, providing coaching, guidance and additional training and education along the way to help them continuously improve.
But, what does “improving” mean? That depends on each salesperson's circumstance, goals, and challenges.
For example, it can mean building better relationships with colleagues and customers. It can mean closing more and higher grosses. It can mean learning to prospect. It can mean developing people to grow.
While straightforward, many managers in the rush of everyday business overlook the following five basic steps that are imperative in helping their people develop action plans for improvement.
Step 1. Career goals: The first step is to understand what the salesperson's long term goals are.
Step 2. A self-assessment of strengths and weaknesses. Help the employee conduct an honest self-evaluation.
Step 3. Guide employees and as they establish a plan based on goals.
Step 4. Feedback to keep track of performance.
Step 5. Adjust and reward. Not every employee is motivated in the same way.
Next month, we will discuss the five steps in detail and how to use them to help employees reach their goals and sell more cars.
Richard F. Libin, author of “Who Stopped the Sale?” (www.whostoppedthesale.com) is president of Automotive Profit Builders, with more than 42 years experience of fostering customer satisfaction and maximizing profits through personnel development and technology. He is at [email protected] and 508-626-9200.
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