In today's marketplace, I submit that it is no longer acceptable to merely satisfy our customers and employees. That statement is not ground-breaking, we've all heard it. In most cases, providing what I call "Ridiculous" Service does not come naturally. As a matter of fact, it's quite un-natural. We create habits even when it comes to serving. If we are going to blow our customer's faces off, we have to stop and think. We have to first identify what it takes to satisfy them, and then we need to seek a way to go further. We have to say. "In addition to ___, would you allow me to ___?" Customers understand that it is not a matter of 'if' you blow it, they just want to know that 'when' you do, you are going to respond in a big way. Our mistakes need to be viewed as opportunities to rescue and delight our customers. When you do this, don't keep it a secret. Shout it from the mountaintops! THIS is what keeps them coming back and becoming an advocate for your business.
We have to learn how to neutralize negative experiences by responding quickly and with some creativity. The image that I have attached to this article is an example of how an absolute bonehead move turned into a great story. We left off $1500 worth of incentives on a customer's paperwork. When the error was detected, we had a decision to make. First, I guess we could have just kept quiet. When I have to resort to this kind of thievery to get by, I'll fire myself, grow a long beard and play my ukulele on the street corner. Secondly, we could have dropped the check in the mail with a sticky note that read "oops". Instead, we decided to proclaim our greatness. How would I feel if I unexpectedly received $1500 in the mail exactly one month before Christmas? Let's turn this financial faux pas into a marketing masterpiece. Make no mistake, I have no doubt that anyone reading this would return money that belongs to the customer. The difference is HOW we returned it. Did you notice the playful language of the letter? When did we stop having fun at work? We do these types of fun things on ANY situation in which we owe customers money. Do you want to blow someone's mind? Send them $125 explaining that you were able to secure a little extra on their trade in from last month. Try to buy that kind of advertising for $125. I dare you. The point here is that we seek out an opportunities to set ourselves apart.
The budget on this marketing campaign was whatever the letterhead, envelope, and stamp cost. Under a buck, I suppose. Oh yeah, about two minutes of my precious time.
If you'll notice, I grabbed a really old letterhead that still had the Pontiac logo on it. See, when your heart in is the right place, little mistakes don't matter that much.
Who's your Danny?
Here are a list of Dr. Bob Nelson's Top Employee Motivators and Demotivators.
The Top Ten Employee Motivators
#1 Personally thank employees for doing a good job--one on one, in writing, or both. Do it timely, often and sincerely.
#2 Be willing to take the time to meet with and listen to employees--as much as they need or want.
#3 Provide specific feedback about performance of the person, the department and the organization.
#4 Strive to create a work environment that is open, trusting and fun. Encourage new ideas and initiative.
#5 Provide information on how the company makes and loses money, upcoming products and strategies for competing in the marketplace, and how the person fits into the overall plan.
#6 Involve employees in decisions, especially as those decisions affect them.
#7 Provide employees with a sense of ownership in their work and the work environment.
#8 Recognize, reward and promote people based on their performance; deal with low and marginal performers so that they improve or leave.
#9 Give people a chance to grow and learn new skills; show them how you can help them meet their goals within the context of meeting the organization's goals. Create a partnership with each employee.
#10 Celebrate successes--of the company, of the department and of individuals in it. Take time for team- and morale-building meetings and activities.
The Top Ten Employee Demotivators
#1 Organizational Politics - An environment in which the competition for power, influence, resources and promotions is based on subjective or hidden criteria.
#2 Unclear Expectations - Employees need to understand what to expect from a recognition program. What are their roles and responsibilities?
#3 Unnecessary Rules - Keep programs simple. Too many rules mean too much bureaucracy.
#4 Poorly Designed Work - Poorly engineered work gets in the way of satisfying internal and external customers and frustrates employees.
#5 Unproductive Meetings - Employees often leave meetings exhausted, battered and bored.
#6 Internal Competition -The healthiest organizations compete against their competition, not against themselves.
#7 Lack of Follow Up - Promise only what can be delivered. Deliver on all promises.
#8 Constant Change - Changing the rules of the game is demotivating. If they do change, make them better – adding new opportunities. If change is necessary or the bar needs to be raised, consult with your employees.
#9 Dishonesty - Employees hate being lied to
#10 Hypocrisy - Do not say one thing and then do another. Be consistent.
Are You Really Providing Tax Services For Your Customers?
I was speaking with one of my dealers recently and we were talking about how so many people are waiting to receive their tax returns before they buy a vehicle. I said, "You know what would be cool? (In a Joking Matter) If some company like H&R Block or some other company could just set up their services right in the dealership and when someone says they're waiting to get their return we can say, no need to wait, you can get them done right here!" The dealer then said to me, that's exactly what we're doing! I was like WHAT????? So they went on to say that there is a tax service that is specifically set up to help dealers maximize the "Tax Return" objection. I thought this was an AWESOME idea! This may not be a fit for your store but if it is and it can help I wish you the best results possible!
Here is the website if you're interested. View Website Here!
Danny talks about the importance of down payments..
For every one on this board that didn't get to make it to Internet Sales 20 Group in LA.....Shame on you! Once again, Sean V. and his band of industry phenoms blew it out of the water! Every once in a while I will catch my wife off guard and I'll say, "I can't wait until tomorrow." She always responds, "Why, what's happening tomorrow?" to which I respond, "I get better looking every day!" Then she punches me and moves on. This is kind of like thinking about what these people could possibly do to trump this trump of the last trump! No matter how good it gets, the next one always seems to get better. In this digital world that we live in, information changes dramatically between these events. The speakers at the IS20G are the people who are right in the middle of these changes...whether they are writing about them or making the changes themselves! I don't care how many conferences that you have been to...I guarantee you have never been to one like this. The interaction is a game-changer.
I will say that Sean V. Bradley is the finest moderator in the country, in ANY industry. Whether he agrees with the speaker or not, he will explore EVERY angle of the conversation. He encourages...no, he INSISTS on participation from everyone. Attendees will tell you that they get as much from other dealers as they do from the speakers. First, a presenter will speak to a point, then a dealer will chime in on the effectiveness of the method. Then another attendee will ask THAT dealer specific questions. It's awesome to be a part of these discussions. Then, as if that is not enough, at the end, you get a chance to get together with accountability partners to formulate a plan to execute what you have learned. IS20G was over less than a week ago and I have already had communication with MY accountability partner...and I'm a General Manager!
Now, to my friends who DID attend...
Rubber. Meets. Road.
Ideas are easy, execution is hard. Why don't we lift weights? Because they're frickin' heavy, that's why!
From the book "The Greatest Salesman in the World". A book, second only to the Bible, in shaping my life.
I will leave you in the capable hands of Og Mandino...
My dreams are worthless, my plans are dust, my goals are impossible.
All are of no value unless they are followed by action.
I will act now. Never has there been a map, however carefully executed to detail and scale, which carried its owner over even one inch of ground. Never has there been a parchment of law, however fair, which prevented one crime. Never has there been a scroll, even such as the one I hold, which earned so much as a penny or produced a single word of acclamation. Action, alone, is the tinder which ignites the map, the parchment, this scroll, my dreams, my plans, my goals, into a living force. Action is the food and drink which will nourish my success.
I will act now. My procrastination which has held me back was born of fear and now I recognize this secret mined from the depths of all courageous hearts. Now I know that to conquer fear I must always act without hesitation and the flutters in my heart will vanish. Now I know that action reduces the lion of terror to an act of equanimity.
I will act now. Henceforth, I will remember the lesson of the firefly who gives of its light only when it is on the wing, only when it is in action. I will become a firefly and even in the day my glow will be seen in spite of the sun. Let others be as butterflies who preen their wings yet depend on the charity of a flower for life. I will be as the firefly and my light will brighten the world.
I will act now. I will not avoid the tasks of today and charge them to tomorrow for I know that tomorrow never comes. Let me act now even though my actions may not bring happiness or success for it is better to act and fail than not to act and flounder. Happiness, in truth, may not be the fruit plucked by my action yet without action all fruit will die on the vine.
I will act now. I will act now. I will act now. I will act now. Henceforth, I will repeat these words again and again, each hour, each day, every day, until the words become as much a habit as my breathing and the actions which follow become as instinctive as the blinking of my eyelids. With these words I can condition my mind to perform every act necessary for my success. With these words I can condition my mind to meet every challenge which the failure avoids.
I will act now. I will repeat these words again and again and again. When I awake I will say them and leap from my cot while the failure sleeps yet another hour.
I will act now. When I enter the market place I will say them and immediately confront my first prospect while the failure ponders yet his possibility of rebuff.
I will act now. When I face a closed door I will say them and knock while the failure waits outside with fear and trepidation.
I will act now. When I face temptation I will say them and immediately act to remove myself from evil.
I will act now. When I am tempted to quit and begin again tomorrow I will say them and immediately act to consummate another sale.
I will act now. Only action determines my value in the market place and to multiply my value I will multiply my actions. I will walk where the failure fears to walk. I will work when the failure seeks rest. I will talk when the failure remains silent. I will call on ten who can buy my goods while the failure makes grand plans to call on one. I will say it is done before the failure says it is too late.
I will act now. For now is all I have. Tomorrow is the day reserved for the labor of the lazy. I am not lazy. Tomorrow is the day when the evil become good. I am not evil. Tomorrow is the day when the weak become strong. I am not weak. Tomorrow is the day when the failure will succeed. I am not a failure.
I will act now. When the lion is hungry he eats. When the eagle has thirst he drinks. Lest they act, both will perish.
I hunger for success. I thirst for happiness and peace of mind. Lest I act I will perish in a life of lure, misery, and sleepless nights. I will command, and I will obey mine own command.
I will act now. Success will not wait. If I delay she will become betrothed to another and lost to me forever. This is the time. This is the place. I am the one.
I will act now.
Who's your Danny?
On November 19, 2005, a day after having surgery, I was diagnosed with squamous cell carcinoma cancer. I would compare receiving the news to going to the dentist and being numbed. However, this numbed my whole body. For 20 minutes I rushed through all kinds of thoughts and emotions – shock, anger, “why me?” questions, sadness.
After the 20 minutes, I made a big decision. I decided to live. I decided that all of the emotions and thoughts I was experiencing were not supporting me. I decided right then and there to switch my mind and all actions to that of support and complete cure. At that moment, I was cured.
On January 31, 2006 I received my 33rd and final daily radiation treatment. I am now cancer free. I did not need the doctor to declare that for me; I had already made that decision from the day of diagnosis. I had even told my doctor that at my first appointment.
My whole life I have believed in the power of the mind. The ability to create your outer life from thoughts and emotions from within are undeniable. Nothing is as powerful as your personal philosophy in life. The good news is that your personal philosophy is simply decided by you and your own free will.
In my lifetime, I have been both poor and rich. I have had both sad and happy times. I have lived through tragedies and triumphs. One thing that has never wavered has been my mental approach to whatever has come towards me. Nothing can create wealth and abundance in any segment of a person’s life more than their attitudes and thoughts.
I have seen materially rich people with great poverty of mind and I have seen people in great struggles with an attitude of abundance. Wealth and possessions can flee in an instant, but nothing or nobody can take away your mind and your choice of thought.
Whenever friends or relatives would begin to discuss my disease, they would focus on how it was so unfair, especially since I am a lifetime non-smoker. Ninety-nine percent of the particular cancer that I had occurs in heavy smokers. I had to make a decision not to focus on whether it was fair or not and focus on what could be done to move forward.
I made a decision to research my disease. I wanted to be empowered in my decisions. I created a regimented approach that included traditional treatment along with nutrition, supplements, whole body detoxification, exercise, proper rest, mental imaging and prayer. Some of these approaches were never mentioned by traditional medicine practitioners. However, I made the decision to be in charge of my knowledge and my actions.
After witnessing many people going through treatment for cancer and experiencing both my parents passing from the disease as well, I am more convinced than ever that your attitude and power of your mind makes a difference in everything you do in life. Your decision about your attitude in life is the most important choice of your life.
Words are cheap. What matters is the true belief system behind your words and the actions you take because of those belief systems. Economies don’t improve, people improve. Waiting for something to happen is for losers. The most important economy is the one created between your ears.
During down markets you have to get creative to make things happen. Although you may not be able to push a new car market if it’s not there, you can niche market, create affiliations, utilize your customer base better and push a used car market. In other words, there are options for success. Standing and waiting for the world to create your economy is not a good option.
There is an old quote that says, “When you go to work on yourself and get better it’s amazing how much better your customer’s get.” The one activity that can always pay off during a down economy is individual and organizational development.
Everything boils down to the four P’s of business - people, process, product and positioning. Do you work daily on your personal development? Do you work daily to increase your knowledge and ability to sell your product? Do you work daily to increase the effectiveness of your process? Do you work daily to increase your positioning through better marketing? If you work on these things daily you will determine your sales success in good times or bad. Good times will now become the norm.
Thoreau said it best: “Things don’t change; people change.” Make a commitment to figure out why you want to do something. When the why gets strong, the how gets easy. When you know why you want something, ideas of how will flow to you. Concentrate on the solution, not the problem. When you dwell on the idea of a prosperous market you create the reality of a prosperous market.
When you open the door to your belief system, you close the door of scarcity. When you are suffering from a lack of something it’s because you have a mental condition of lack. Everything apparent in your outside world of today is a direct reflection of your inside world from yesterday.
As you improve yourself you begin to think and act on another level of energy. Imagine the analogy of playing a video game and having to get a good enough score at one level to go to the next level. Once you improve enough you enter a whole other level that creates another opportunity for improvement.
Negotiating can be done in a professional manner that can increase customer satisfaction while helping to protect both parties’ interests.
Let’s first look at some of the problems that give negotiating a bad name and then look at the solutions. A lack of training in negotiating in the automotive industry has put sales people at a disadvantage. Usually, a sales person is taught how to negotiate in a learn-as-you-go method. Although all learning must be accomplished by doing, some preparation has to be done to make the learning experience more effective. All sales people and managers should go through a course on basic and advanced negotiating. Assuming that sales managers can automatically teach your sales people to negotiate professionally is asking for trouble. How did the managers learn to negotiate?
Sales people should be taught the expected procedures. I like to call these routing procedures. Routing procedures will define everyone’s responsibilities, from the moment a customer is greeted until they are delivered, including the necessary paperwork and who initiates what. Included in the routing procedures are items known as, black and white items. Black and white items are the things that should never vary at your dealership. These items are to be defined by your top management and can include such things as not quoting discounted prices on the lot or never low-balling on price.
Another source of problems in negotiating is the misuse of traditional negotiating techniques. The “higher authority technique” is a technique of always deferring to a higher authority for a decision. The technique is a solid negotiation tactic that has been run into the ground by automotive people. Having your sales people run to the manager more than once or twice in negotiations is a crime. Not giving the sales person any latitude or decision-making capability in negotiations leads to the yo-yo effect that creates mistrust in the sales person and customer.
When is the last time a sales person in your dealership was taught what to do when a customer asks for a lower down payment, lower payment, higher trade values or a reduction of the sales price. Most veteran sales people in dealerships all over the country could not verbally and written give you at least three or four steps to each one of the above objections without having to think or blink. How many objections in negotiation are there? Most objections fall into only a few categories. Have your sales people role played recently on those objections and the potential answer to them? Example: “Mr. Customer, we would be happy to lower your monthly budget $50 a month. Did you want to go 60 months instead of 48, or put $1,500 more cash investment, or look at the car with about $50 a month less in equipment, or look at a lease/Smart Buy program? Which would be best for you?” Whether you like my words or there are some others you prefer is not as important as having a way to handle the objections and practicing them over and over until the sales people know their negotiating skills.
“He or she who prepares the most, wins the most.” A large part of negotiating is knowing when and how to negotiate, as well as being prepared for all situations. The tragic death of John Kennedy Jr. might have been prevented with more preparation. Although negotiating may not be life or death for a sales person, it can feel like life or death to a sales person that wants to help his or her customer and doesn’t know how.
The following are few simple negotiating techniques:
1. Flinch - always fl inch at any proposal or counter proposal.
2. Split the Split - When customers offer to split the difference, offer back to split their proposal again. Example: $3,000 apart $1,500 split offered $ 2,250 your counter
3. Bracket proposals - If your desired gross profit is $3,000 and the customer offers you $1,500, propose back as much above your desired profit as they proposed below, example: $4,500 gross would be the same $1,500 amount above your desired gross, as they had offered below. Most likely they will offer to split the difference and it also lends credence to your offer.
4. Give/get - Try always to get something in return for giving something. This will stop the customer from nibbling and eroding your gross. If you don’t use give/get, you will not only give away all your gross but will also create a shopper.
Everyone negotiates everyday. Whether it’s on vehicles, houses, relationships or pay plans etc., everyone negotiates on things we sometimes didn’t even realize we had negotiated on. Somehow people walk away from negotiating things other than automobiles feeling extremely positive about the process. Why? I invite you to ask how you would feel negotiating at your dealership and what you could do to make it better for the customer, sales person, manager and dealership.
When you have a first encounter with a customer, they are usually wondering one simple question. Can I trust you?
There are three stages of buying:
1. Character and Trust
I don’t know that one stage is more important than the other but I do know that the trust stage usually happens first. When you build a house and the foundation is weak, no matter how nice a house you build it comes crumbling down eventually. A sale is the same way. You can sell all you want. You can create an emotional frenzy. You can justify emotions with logic and reasoning but at the end if the customer has a twinge of doubt about you they will pause and hesitate to complete the sale.
Usually when the customer stalls after showing all the right buying signs, we blame the customer and create some unflattering names for him or her. Here’s a news fl ash: Most of the time it’s your fault. It’s not the customer’s job to trust you. It’s not the customer’s job to create a rapport and a bond. It’s not the customer’s job.
Often, the customer comes in sold on your product and has a need and desire for it. They want to buy it. But when it gets to the end, one thing keeps them from buying – fear. Fear of making a mistake. Your customers are human. Customer’s have fears of making a mistake in buying the wrong vehicle, getting the wrong price, getting the wrong information or having a bad experience.
To sell more, you must allow the customer to buy. To buy a customer needs a path without obstacles and doubt. To remove the customer’s doubts and fear you must practice risk aversion and reversal.
Sales training has focused primarily on handling objections and other reactive selling approaches. Practicing risk aversion is a proactive approach to selling that addresses common fears up front and removes them before the become an obstacle. Fifteen minutes spent on proactive risk aversion can eliminate two hours of reactive objection handling.
Take a pencil and paper and write down all the common fears of your customers and common objections you receive. Write down the silent objections you don’t get but you know are really there. No matter what you sell, it’s the same objections over and over. It doesn’t take that much to be aware of the objections, to be prepared to proactively eliminate them and even answer them if they still come up.
Listen to what customers say and what they are trying to say. Listen to what customers really mean. And, listen to what customers aren’t saying but intuitively you know they are thinking. Increasing your intuitive ability is a major step in becoming a master sales person. Watch your customer’s body language. You don’t need a course to teach you what people are thinking by their body language. You simply need to observe, think and feel as they do. TLC – Think Like a Customer.
Remember, that trust comes before money.
This scene was the inspiration for my blog, "My Lean, Mean, Lead-Handling Machine". You're spending a lot of time and money on lead providers, SEO, SEM, website goodies, etc........Are Lucy and Ethel handling your leads? Why go to all of this trouble and expense if you are not serious about training. This clip is one of the funniest moments in television history. When you think of those little candy chocolates as $3000-$4000 missed car deals, it's not that funny.
If this reminds you of your Internet Department, then pay close attention to every word you hear at Internet Sales 20 Group.
Who's your Danny?
Do you want to be more successful? You can achieve greater success if you begin to follow certain secrets that blow open the doors that are closed for you now. I am comfortable in saying that all people have some closed doors that limit their achievement. What are the doors that I am talking about and how can you open them?
The doors are a metaphor for the gateways to successful achievement. The keys are the secrets that unlock them and allow you move forward faster and with less conflict toward your dreams than ever before.
Key #1 - Energy
Everyone needs physical, mental, emotional and spiritual energy to propel them toward their goals. It’s often been said that “fatigue makes cowards of us all.” What do you do that gives or robs you of energy? Make a list of 10 common actions in your day. Next to each, put a plus or a minus according to whether it gives or depletes energy. The mind, body and spirit go hand in hand. If one source is constantly drawing energy it will affect the energy in the other area. Do you ever feel so depleted mentally that physically you are just going through the motions?
Create an action plan to eliminate or greatly reduce all things that deplete your energy. Decide what your tolerance is. Successful and satisfied people create levels of tolerance for themselves and others who come in contact with them.
Key #2 - Enthusiasm
Ethos loosely translated means, “The Breath of God.” This means enthusiasm is contagious. It’s hard to get others excited unless you are excited. Nobody is excited all the time. We all have our ups and downs. What anchor do you have that will immediately connect you to the enthusiasm that you need to achieve the successful level of living that you want? Just by having a built-in and pre-arranged filter that detects when you are not at your peak level of enthusiasm will enable you to make corrections quickly. Without the filters you can become a zombie simply going through the motions until you or someone else makes you aware of your lack of enthusiasm.
Key #3 - Emotion
Do you live with emotion? You don’t have to be drama queen to live emotionally. Emotions are about feelings. Successful people tend to live in the moment. Stress, fatigue and worry detract from the joy of living in the moment. “Worry is paying interest on a debt not yet due.” Everyone experiences levels of depleting emotions that create a false and overwhelming sense of reality. How many times have you heard of people with near death experiences who now live with a greater sense of awareness and emotion?
Colors become brighter, jokes become funnier and experiences become richer. Your level of attainment in emotional living will increase your connection to others. To enrich your chances of success, you have to enrich others.
Key #4 - Humor
Nothing can bond people quicker than humor. Nothing can change your attitude, emotions, enthusiasm and outlook more than humor. Humor releases endorphins in the brain and creates a feeling of euphoria. Humor is an instant-on switch for changing your actions and outlook toward everything you face in your day. Experiencing humor is powerful. Being a conduit of humor for others is power multiplied exponentially.
Key #5 - Persistence
Persistent = consistent. Persistence is perhaps the most common denominator of successful living. Successful people keep moving when others quit. It’s been said that most of success is just showing up. Persistence is the key to showing up when other have quit. History is full of examples and testimonials to the power of persistence. Failure only occurs at the time when you quit. Those who live successfully know the power of persistent pursuit.
Persistent pursuit of goals and dreams creates a powerful sense of living unmatched by anything else. Persistence becomes a life force that creates self confidence for those who execute the power of persistence on a daily basis. In a world where the strong survive, persistence equals the playing field and gives the edge to those who apply its power.
Combining all the keys to success will create a sense of urgency needed for success. Examine the current level of each of the five keys to success in your life and create a personal game plan for successful living.
Great managers view themselves as coaches more than managers. There is an old adage: “Lead people and manage things.” There is a fine line between creating and utilizing systems and processes and micromanaging details without emphasizing the power of personal interaction.
Good systems and processes should allow employees to raise their performance by giving them confidence in their direction and lessening the burden of the manager and coach from having to constantly inform people of their expected actions.
The problems and obstacles for mangers and coaches happen when the process is elevated over the players who utilize those systems and an improper implementation training process is used. Great systems with poor people make for poor results. Great systems tied to poor coaching of people in the system results in poor results. Managers and coaches can’t give a process to their players and expect the process to work without consistently motivating and leading the players in the system.
Think of your process like a machine. A machine is created to perform the desired function. Once you create the machine, you test it and know it will work. It fails when the mechanics of the machine break or when the operator has an error in operating the machine. Your business process is much the same.
When you integrate a player into a system, you must explain what they are to do. Next, a coach must explain why the player must perform the tasks required utilizing the desired process. When the why gets strong, the how gets easy. If a player is clear about the why, the process will be performed with maximum results.
The third step is to demonstrate how the tasks and process work. Don’t just tell – demonstrate. If the player believes the process can be executed properly and has evidential proof that his or her coach or someone else can do it in the way that is expected, the player will emotionally buy into the process. The coaches must get the commitment or buy-in for anything to work. Therefore, coaches must have the trust and respect of the players. There is also a second part of the demonstration that must take place. The demonstration phase should move from the coach demonstrating to the player to the stage where the player performs the functions with close direction and inspection of the coach.
The last step of the implementation is never-ending. This stage is continual coaching and inspection. Players must know they are continually being coached, inspired and reviewed in their performance.
Recently, my daughter Erin secured a summer job after her first year in college. She is employed by the J. Alexander chain of restaurants. The process employed by J. Alexander’s is not only a good reference point for the steps of coaching that I have mentioned, but is a reference for excellence.
Erin was interviewed and profiled by three different managers on three different occasions. When Erin was hired, she had to complete detailed training that would make many businesses green with envy. Erin had to train with a study guide consisting of more than 100 pages. Erinhad to pass six written tests just to begin serving as a waitress or as they are called in their culture – champions. She had to be able to recite the company creed. Further training and testing was required to be able to serve on the weekends, which are their busiest days. Before being released to begin her position, Erin had to shadow another trained champion and then switch and have the experienced person trail her. Both Erin and I were amazed at the commitment to process, training and implementation.
Remember, the processes and dedication of J. Alexander’s produces a champion who can serve and produce an experience that is measured in small dollars. Your business may produce a product and experience that is measured in many thousands of dollars. Based on your process, training, implementation and coaching, are you a coaching champion?
Customers don’t buy vehicles, and sales people don’t sell vehicles. Customers buy solutions to problems they can feel emotionally. Sales people are the conduit that helps customers discover those emotional solutions.
People buy from people. Customers generally do business with people they like and trust. Your customers don’t walk out of your dealership telling you that they bought from you because you are a jerk. Customers can get vehicles anywhere. Most of you are not selling a rare commodity. Therefore the decision criteria of a customer are based upon money, me and machine. However, you are the secret ingredient. You have the power to influence the perception of the customer about you, the machine and the money.
A customer will move through three stages of the selling process – Character/Trust, Emotion and Logic. People have to like and trust you, then they allow you to guide them to emotions that eventually combine with logic. Emotion distorts reality. That’s why everyday customers walk out of F&I and tell you that they did not plan to buy a vehicle today.
The number one reason people buy a vehicle is and always will be confidence. Confidence they feel in the money, me and machine that you give them. Therefore the most empowering decision you can ever make as a sales person is accept full responsibility for every sale made or lost.
Once you accept full responsibility for winning and losing and eliminate the easily accepted notion that it’s about price, you become an incredibly powerful, winning sales person. If you allow one excuse for losing into your subconscious it opens the door for a million excuses. Weak sales people raise skinny kids. Eliminate all excuses such as price and watch your sales take off.
If price is the issue, what can you do to influence the price or the decision? Practice apples to oranges selling. If everybody else is showing the customer apples, you show them better apples and show them oranges, as well. Always think HFG – Hope for Gain. What is the customer trying to accomplish and how can I apply to their sense of HFG.
How will the first stage of your engagement with the customer set you apart and influence the customer? Most customers decide to buy from you in 15 seconds to two minutes. The decision is made about you long before they ever make a decision about price. Try this greeting: “Hi folks, are you out beginning to look and shop around?” What are they going to say, “No we are just looking and shopping?” Be proactive. Take the objection away up front and make the customer feel at ease while you do it. Nobody else is greeting the customer this way.
Most sales people operate out of the same gene pool. If you do this you eventually become a homogenized, generic sales person. What follows are bad results, lots of price shoppers, low sales, low incomes and eventually a bad case of excuses. Never forget that everything you do makes a difference.
Before any customer leaves, are you and your manager “walking the wheel”? “Walking the wheel” is a phrase I use to remind us to explore all avenues. Bigger car, smaller car, car to SUV, new to used, used to new, demo, longer term, cash back, delay payment, pay off the remaining lease payments on their trade, trade another vehicle, trade two vehicles, etc. How hard do you fight for every sale? Persistent = consistent.
Winning at sales is simply a choice. You can choose to win or choose to lose. Once you choose, you become the sales person you have decided to be at the given moment.
The managers in your dealership must have a written job description with clearly defined responsibilities and expectations.
Having specific goals for the department is required. Daily action plans for selling, training, appointments, one-on-one coaching, save-a deal meetings, deal structuring, follow-up, etc will increase sales by 20 percent without spending more for advertising.
If you read biographies of successful people or businesses, one common thread always seems to be a strong sense of passion fueled by big goals. When you write specific goals down on paper, you are committing yourself mentally, emotionally and physically to the attainment of those goals. Do your dealership and your employees set the long and short-term goals? As the dealer, have you committed your dreams to paper for the month, six months, a year, five years, 10 years, 20 years? Speed of the boss, speed of the crew, if you make the commitment, your employees will, too.
Once you have set your goals, plan your specific actions to reach them. Write a specific action plan for when to train, what to train on, who will conduct the training, how long the training will last and your expected goal of improvement for that area. Post a training schedule for the month and make it a monthly priority. Training is not a sometimes activity. It’s an everyday requirement.
Set goals for appointments and make action plans to reach those goals as a dealership. This requires goals and action plans for each sales person as to their activities to set daily appointments. Strive for and monitor appointments and watch your sales increase.
Every sales person should be coached daily in a one-on-one session. Set a game plan for who does this, when they do it and the expected results. Items covered in those sessions should be their sales pace in relation to their goals and their percentage of success for total seen contacts, demos, write-ups, closed and deliveries. Those items should be monitored for both yesterday’s traffic and month-to-date totals. Each sales person should have a day planner. The sales people should be required to have a plan for their day that is broken down into an hourly focus. To-do lists and follow-up systems should be reviewed for both sold and unsold customers. Review yesterday’s traffic for each sales person, walk back through what happened and listen for clues that would show breakdowns in their sale process. These activities alone can increase your dealership’s sales 20 percent.
To make more money, each morning the managers hold a save-a-deal meeting in the F&I office to review yesterday’s sold and unsold traffic. All deals in F&I should be reviewed. Review approvals to see if they have been delivered and if not, why? If delivered, have they been booked out and turned to the office? Review finance turndowns for reasons why and any possibilities to approve those deals. Review dealer trades and the status of those deals. Review heat sheets and contracts in transit for deals not funded and deals that have missing items, such as titles, etc.
It takes increased effort and focus to improve your sales 20 percent. Many dealers just increase their advertising in hopes of increasing sales, and in turn, make their sales people traffic junkies. The percentage of gain in bottom line and long-term benefits is what you are seeking, not short-term fixes. The first step is to get rid of the notion, that there are good and bad months. You either have good or bad goals, game plans, actions and reviews of actions. Good or bad months are directly attributed to those items and are not luck.