Every sales manager has goals. They are usually imposed on us from external sources like the manufacturer, our dealer principal, or general manager. These goals are highly visible, the data is readily available, and we are held responsible if we either hit them or not. Examples of these goals might be monthly sales volume or departmental gross profit.
Many of us have heard the Stephen Covey quote: "Begin with the end in mind". We actually hope you have read the book it came from: "The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People".
These are wise words but if taken too literally, can actually hurt your sales success. Consider the sales consultant who always keeps the "end in mind" - getting the sale. This focus on the end or getting the prospect to say yes may cause us to move too quickly or forcefully toward asking for the business. Clients may feel pressure and react predictably by wanting to leave.
Think about all of the other places your prospect could buy their next vehicle. In most markets there are not only all of the other competitive brands to worry about. Within a reasonable distance from your dealership is another selling the identical brand. Many manufacturers have over represented major markets to such an extent that a consumer could shop 5-6 of the same brand dealership in the same day!
What makes a good sales presentation? Many salespeople get the idea that if they are able to dump everything they know about the product onto the customer they have made a good presentation. If we have good product knowledge, are able to keep control of the conversation, and give them every possible bit of information we'll get the sale… right? Wrong.
It is really is shocking how many sales consultants we run into at dealerships who have 5,10,15 years experience in the business yet still get the bulk of their opportunities from floor traffic. In our experience, the closing ratio for repeat and referral clients is THREE TIMES that of new walk-in traffic. The key ingredient that allows these strong closing ratios is trust. The biggest roadblock you face with a new walk-in client is that they don't know you, like you, or trust you - YET. You have to work hard to establish rapport and trust.
Here's a math lesson and a different way to look at closing ratio. There are only 2 possible closing ratios for each individual customer opportunity you get. Either 0% or 100%. They either buy from you or buy from someone else. If a customer shops around and meets 5 salespeople working at 5 different dealerships they still only buy one car so 4 salespeople get 0% and one gets 100%. Over a month or year IF everything was equal (skills, personality, and product) we would expect that if all customers shop at 5 places then the average closing ratio would be 20%. Here's the problem. Everything is not equal. Some salespeople will achieve significantly lower than 20% due most often to weakness in skills, attitude, or leadership.
We always talk about client follow-up as the key to the next sale. Anticipating client needs before they happen or being top of mind when they do happen, significantly increases your odds of a repeat or referral sale. Here's a good sales story from this week...
Sales department? Isn't unapplied time a measurement of service department productivity? Who ever heard of unapplied time in the sales department? Maybe those of us in the sales departments can learn a few lessons from how the service shop operates.
One of the most frustrating things for people like us working in automotive training and dealer staff development is the inertia we encounter with long held beliefs. Many dealer principals and staff in our industry are resistant to or have an inability to accept change. These changes can be happening with markets, customer expectations, or technology. Too often it takes a radical loss of volume, profitability, or client retention before a dealership hurts bad enough to make needed changes.