By Michael Renaud, General Manager, Alan Ram’s Proactive Training Solutions
It’s a brand-new year and with that comes a chance to start over. New dreams mean bigger goals and for some of you, this is your shot to hit the reset button. No looking back, just charging forward! But what are the right steps to take? In this article, we’ll simplify these steps and provide you with the three fundamental keys to reaching your dealership sales goals.
The sad truth is that many of us lose steam once we hit our first roadblock. Or someone else pulls us in another direction and our goals end up getting pushed further and further away. The momentum wears off and we struggle to just do the minimum. So, how do you overcome the classic sales burnout?
Car sales training is important for dealers. But for many sales reps, proper training and management weren’t available, or perhaps you didn’t plan on being in the car business for that long. Due to lack of training or poor follow-up skills, many sales reps start each year just like newbies and end up relying heavily on the dealership’s inbound sales leads. Alan used to say, “Many veterans don’t have ten years of experience. They have one year just repeated ten times over.”
There is tremendous opportunity in the retail car industry, but merely standing on the front line waiting for the next deal to come is not going to bring you or your team long-term success. Many dealerships are experiencing their best months ever right now but bad habits are created during these great times. And bad habits are – you guessed it, extremely hard to break!
This January, the focus should be on going back to the fundamentals. What are your exact goals and how can you achieve them? What specific activities should you or your team be doing daily to remain on target? Today more than ever, it’s not about who sells the most but who spills the least.
Here are three key steps to take that should help set you up for a successful year. If you are a manager, sit down with your sales team and coach them on these steps or review this in your next sales meeting. Remember, if they win, you win.
1. Set Your Goals
It’s important to set goals for yourself and your income so you don’t experience the ups and downs in your paychecks. Taking some time now to review your goals and dreams for the year can help inspire you and keep you motivated when times get tough. You might be putting in some long hours so keep the goals visible, create a vision board or declare your goals to your partner.
Managers: now is the time to ensure that you have the right team in place to achieve your dealership’s goals. And for goodness sakes, don’t wear yourself out trying to keep your team motivated. Hire motivated people from the start! Your job as a manager is to manage the team’s activities between customers and provide them with the tools and training they need to succeed.
2. Create a Plan
You have a clear vision of your goals, now what? What specific things will you need to achieve these goals? Review your team’s pay plan and determine how many vehicles you need to sell to make your desired income. This is where you will need to put some thought into your everyday habits.
How can you be the most effective and convert in high numbers? It’s easy to work hard and put in long hours but mastering the most effective methods, word tracks and strategies can help you work smart and will yield more bang for your buck. This is where training to be an effective sales consultant will yield better results for you.
How many calls will you need to make per day? How many customers do you need to talk with to close X number of deals? How will you follow up with your unsold customers to ensure you are staying in touch? What about retention? How will you stay in touch to ensure you get referrals? When do you plan to ask for referrals and how? These are just some of the things you will need to consider.
Creating processes for your team and setting clear expectations from the start is key. Inspect what you expect and stay consistent. Don’t let up on managing those activities that you know are effective and needed for your team’s success.
You have clear goals and a vision for 2022. You’ve created a plan and have committed to the work. Now it’s time to hit the gas! Keep your eyes on the target and don’t let distractions get in the way.
Huddle the team together, have a pow-wow. Whatever you need to do to officially launch your plan. Get everyone’s commitment and in turn, commit to coaching them along the way. Invest your time in the team and train them to be better. The right people want to be led. Simulate and practice with them to give them more confidence to master sales calls. If you lead by example and you commit to helping them as a manager, they will be more likely to follow through and they could have their best year ever.
Here are some fundamental points to help salespeople stay above the bar with shoppers this year:
Stay in control by asking the right questions – They say that the person in control is the person that is asking all the questions. But do you know what questions are the right ones to ask? Do they narrow down the customer too much? Make sure to ask questions that will give your shoppers more reasons to come and see you. For example, “What other vehicles would you consider if they met your needs?”
Be the buyer – Profit works both ways, don’t limit yourself to just selling cars. Getting the shopper excited about seeing their trade will also encourage them to see you instead of the dealership down the street. You can also add valuable used inventory to your frontline that can attract more future buyers.
Always offer alternatives – We are going through a peculiar time with new car inventory and shoppers are willing to switch cars if asked. Make sure that you are opening up their options and offering like models but also alternate models, colors, packages, even segments; and don’t forget about certified used car alternatives.
Remember, a goal without a plan is just a wish. These tips should point you in the right direction, help you establish a good plan with measurable goals, improve your management skills, achieve your goals and drive your profits even higher. To your success!
About the Author
Michael Renaud is the General Manager of Alan Ram’s Proactive Training Solutions. With expertise in BDC Structure/Management, Sales Management, Fixed Operations, Marketing, and Operations, Michael has worked for both franchised and independent dealers. He brings his breadth of experience across the dealerships to help clients improve their bottom-line results.