- Sales Tips for the Automotive Industry » Work habits / personal development
- Sales Tips for the Automotive Industry » PAL Book and SalesSmart traffic management
One of the unique characteristics of the automotive industry is that we have a vast amount of industry information that is available. A dealership or manufacturer has their own market performance data (and all their competitors) at their fingertips. We can see exactly what sold, by model, dealership, and market area very soon after a month is over. Of course it is too late to do anything about it after the fact but we still have this detailed information that many industries would love to have. Proactive dealerships have real-time data available on traffic, presentations, demonstrations, write-ups and vehicles sold. Even if the dealership doesn't capture this information, a proactive salesperson that is serious about maximizing personal income should.
One of the things that many salespeople enjoy about sales is that independence that comes with commission pay plans. The only limitations we face are self imposed. I'm in charge of my own paycheque. If I want to make more money I just need to work harder or smarter. So how do we work smarter? It starts with personal accountability. Recognize that your success has nothing to do with anyone else. It is all about your attitude and your effort.
Think about golf. It can be a fun game to play but most golfers wouldn't play without keeping score. In fact the serious player will not only keep track of total strokes but also how many putts, how many greens reached in regulation, how many chips. They want to improve their game but just looking at the final score is not enough information. Is my short game the problem? Should I spend my practice time at the driving range or putting green?
In the dealership setting you have a well defined sales process with several benchmark points on the way to the sale. Personal accountability means taking responsibility for your own effort and results. At a minimum you should know how many prospects you spoke to (Opportunities), how many Presentations, Demonstrations, Write-ups, Sold and Delivered. Average Time Spent per prospect is another valuable indicator.
When you track these points in the sales process and calculate your percentages against total opportunities you have a powerful tool for self improvement. No one can "feel" a 5% drop in these indicators. If you normally get 70% of prospects to the demo stage and then the ratio drops to 65% in the first week of a month you will know what you need to work on. It's too late at the end of the month to look at the sticker board and wonder what went wrong!
Once you set your benchmarks on all of these activity measures from previous performance it becomes an exercise in self improvement. Instead of wondering: "how can I sell more vehicles?" You can look at your numbers and know: "I need to increase my demo ratio by 10%. That will translate into 2 more deals". Our recognition of this "effort instead of result" focus led us to develop the P.A.L. Books©. (P.A.L. actually stands for Personal Accountability Log©) Over the last 20 years, thousands of sales consultants have used our P.A.L. Books© to increase sales effectiveness by managing their own activity.
The evolution of this philosophy led to our newest on-line product. SalesSmart© collects this information in real-time and gives sales managers the information they need to coach effort. Instead of: "Chris you need to sell more units" a manager can become a true sales coach and instead say: "Chris I notice that your ratios take a dip at the Demo stage. Let me help you with that. Tell me what you say to the prospect at the end of your Presentation to transition into the Demo."
Remember that whether you are a manager or sales consultant, personal accountability starts with measuring effort. If you aren't tracking these sales activities then all you really have to look at is the end result. You can't manage results - it's too late! However, you can manage activity and that is the key to bigger paycheques for everyone.
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