Who turned off the tap? We see in many markets a dramatic reduction in walk-in traffic. In some cases this is just a continuation of the pattern of highly researched shoppers who are shortening the list of brands or dealerships they will visit to 1-2. Other dealerships are in markets heavily impacted by economic shifts in the resource sector. Whatever the cause, salespeople suffer when traffic declines unless they have an effective and proactive strategy to create opportunities.
Unfortunately, human nature has us reducing effort when times are good and suffering the consequences when changes come. And changes always come!
We get into a comfortable groove that will not sustain us when markets turn. How many of these problems do you recognize in your team?
- Many years’ experience in the business but absolutely dependent on walk-in traffic to make their month
- No plan for outgoing personal marketing
- No plan for regular and value-added contacts with their sold customer base
- Weak or non-existent customer detail in the CRM
- No idea how to leverage social media or create a network of promoters
So who's to blame for a soft approach to generating opportunities? Hint: it’s not just the individual salesperson. As a management team we need to be in control of daily activities:
- Define and measure the salesperson daily activities that create traffic.
- Help salespeople design personal marketing plans that put them (and you) in control of sales opportunities.
- Share and coach the best practices of "non-traditional" marketing.
- Inspect what you expect.
Human nature doesn't change. When times are good, people will gravitate to the easy not to the harder work but higher long-term reward activities. When times become more difficult it is too late to wish you had a self-sustaining customer base!
Some salespeople will take initiative and adopt the disciplines that build a strong repeat and referral network, others you will need to convince, coach, monitor (and repeat). The best time to start was 3 years ago; the second best time is today.