Are you a hunter or farmer For so many years, we have struggled as an industry when it comes to follow up. Then, companies like Clients for Life and came along and started sending our follow up letters for us. All we had to do was sign it and mail it. This gave us more time to focus on working with the customers who were on the lot and calling in.
Basically, it gave us the ability to focus more time on hunting for new business and the farming was something we were able to relax on, just a little bit, but it was a much needed break right? Then, with the invention of email we are able to reach more customers faster than ever before and thanks to tools like CRMs we don't have to sign letters or even look at what is being sent because 90% of it is templated. The idea behind all of this awesome technology is to free up the time consuming tasks so we can focus all of our attention on generating new business...basically....HUNTING.
Unfortunately, the information age also came with some interesting side effects.
#1 - Less folks walking on the lot because they can shop online and narrow their choices before spending $4.80 a gallon in gas
#2 - Less folks answering their phone because they can just email...or ignore your email
#3 - Our sales people have spent so much time learning how to use all this technology that many of them have forgotten how to HUNT.
Farming and Hunting are equally important but much of our farming has been automated and it's nearly impossible to automate the hunting process so let's talk about why we've forgotten how to hunt and what we can do to get back on track.
Sales Leadership Team: Before you spaz out, don't blame your sales person. The reason they forgot how to hunt is because many of us, as their leaders, have forgotten how important it is to teach them the fundamentals of being a Hunter.
We know how to do it and it was part of our upbringing so it's easy for us to assume that our team should just 'get it' but...well...they don't. And we didn't 'get it' either, somebody taught us so let's pass it on :)
1. Hunters prepare. Before going out into the wild, they make sure they have the gear they need to provide for their family. For a sales person that consists of the following NECESSARY tools.
A. Skills - LOT SKILLS: We need to make sure our team can walk us through the entire sales process from start to finish. Greeting to close. If they can't, don't verbally beat them up! If they can't do it it's your fault as their leader because you're responsible for training them how to do it the right way so use this as a teachable moment. PHONE SKILLS: They need to be able to handle a phone up, as well as an outbound follow up call. They need to be able to handle objections, concerns and roadblocks to gain the appointment or to bring someone back in if they didn't buy. NEGOTIATION SKILLS: They need to be able to handle objections like a pro. Cardone, Verde and a Million others have great info on this. Heck, for 99¢ you can download the AutoCloses app from the app store and it has the 25 most common auto objections at http://j.mp/autoclosesapp
B. Daily plan - Your sales people don't want to sit on their ass staring out the window, they just don't know what else they are supposed to do. Help them get in the habit of planning their day. We all used to have to spend 1 hour each day on improving our SKILLS, HABITS & ATTITUDE and it made us better. Why don't we help our folks do the same? Sample day: Set aside 20 minutes on your calendar for each of your sales people to have a quick 1 on 1 meeting with you to talk about what they did yesterday, what they're doing today and what they need from you in order to be successful. Have them set aside 20 minutes to role play with another team member. Have them set aside 20 minutes to listen to something motivational or read something motivational. Have them set aside 20 minutes every day for product knowledge. Have them set aside 1 hour each day to make all of their follow up calls to hot, warm and cold prospects. Have them spend 40 minutes each day making true prospecting calls to lease lists, customers over 90 days old and orphan owners. How many, how many, who's next? That's 3 hours of their day planned out with a purpose.
C. Attitude - Your sales people NEED a positive attitude in order to make A and B work properly. This tool is CRITICAL for them to be effective hunters. Let's face it, everyone has a bad day, we have personal things that come up that are unpleasant, stressful and sometimes overwhelming. As their leader, we need to help remind them of why we brought them on our team, why we keep them on our team. We need to remind them that they are valuable, they are important to us, they are great people. Without our sales people we don't have any chance of success so we need to treat them with the respect and value that they deserve. Without our sales people performing at their best, we cannot support our families.
Farming 101 Don't rely on your CRM alone.
The CRM may automate follow up but it's still not human. We're in the people business and relying on your CRM is telling yourself that the automated computer message is just as powerful as you are.
Nothing is more powerful than human interaction. A warm phone call every few months can work wonders in being a great farmer for years to come. Try something like: "Hey Bob & Sue this is Mat at (Dealership). I just wanted to say hello to keep in touch. I hope you're still enjoying that Honda Accord as much as you did on the day you picked it up. Call me at (number) if you need anything at all and I'll be here to help."
Farming is a process, one that often feels thankless but it sets the stage for long term relationships. Hunting can be scary but exciting and it is what helps you eat today, and gives you the means to farm another field for years to come.
I'd like to encourage you to set aside 20 minutes or so to write down all of your strengths and put them in one of two buckets: Farming or Hunting. Look it over and see where you need to focus your attention in order to improve.
Once you do it yourself, ask your sales people to do the same exercise so you can learn which areas they feel like they need your help.
Thanks for reading, make today amazing!
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