Manage and motivate them...don't fire them!

Every new day brings the promise of something grand, promising, exciting and poses a fresh start. We put our disappointments, lost sales and setbacks behind us and move towards our goals and aspirations. 

Every single day salespeople come to work. They come with a purpose or an intention. This intention may not always be clear or aspiring, but they come to work, nonetheless. The situations that salespeople face are as unique as their actions and reactions to a situation. Even the role that money plays can bring down even the most talented sales person. Factors such as low grosses, bad CSI scores, confrontational customers and all too common defeatist managers can ultimately drive the overall effectiveness of your sales team.  As a manager or company leader, how to determine the mindset of the sales team can be a challenge.  Do you interrogate them as they arrive for work or just ignore them? If so, you might have a sales team that begin their day with a coffee clutch huddle so they can complain about the previous night’s customer. There is, however, a more pro-active and productive approach to influence the intentions of your sales team.

To determine the purpose a salesperson has come equipped with, the respective manager(s) needs to gauge the sales environment. Life plays out in every showroom, every day and in every part of the country. As a result there are a massive amount of distractions that lead to a load of moods altering circumstances. As a manager, it becomes your task to understand the activities at play and find ways to re-focus negative energy into a mutually beneficial outcome. So, how does a manager take something as dynamic and complex as the showroom landscape and build a road map for success? 

Here are a few simple steps to serve as a guide for your sales people through their day:

·        Start by re-affirming specific goals. What are the expectations and productivity requirements?

·        Speak in a positive manner encouraging mind, body and spirit that any goal can be accomplished.

·        Simplify the goals so that they are realistic.

·        Set five achievable tasks that are easy to commit to and can be accomplished in a short period of time, like the end of the day.

·        Remember, the goal itself isn't as important as making sure the salesperson is on task so as to meet the deadline.

·        Sign-off on the goal prior to leaving. It’s important to make the salesperson responsible for his/her productivity. Having them sign off on their goal sheets makes them accountable for their respective level of success.

Team meetings are an effective tool for reinforcing goals. These meetings should be built on an encouraging and re-affirming foundation that supports positive thinking and action. The simple act of team meetings can alter a negative situation into positive progression. Sometimes all people need is a pat on the back, a little encouragement, group acknowledgement and positive energy. The sales manager(s) must command responsibility for the emotional energy of their staff. Success is a choice as is a failure, so make sure salespeople choose wisely by influencing the intention that your salespeople should come to work with. Make a conscious effort to improve the quality of life for those with whom you work with. Being an effective manager is to lead by example. Leaders should always bring their people into a battle prepared. Preparation is paramount to achievement. Leaders never require others to follow, they inspire the journey.

Provide individuals with a clear and concise road map to reduce uncertainty and instill accountability. Sales managers, service managers and parts managers are the key holders to greatness. The burden of dealing with a wide variety of personalities is a job requirement. All department managers must inspire the results they demand.  Stay on the lookout for those who look for reasons to fail.  Generally, the underachiever will try to find a reason to bring others down while finding fault in something or someone to excuse their mediocrity.  Separate the confused from the disillusioned and teach focus and discipline. Regardless, there will still be those that refuse to see the light of opportunity.  These select few individuals have a motivational meter that cannot be moved no matter the effort.  If you find these individuals on your showroom floor, service drive or parts counter, waste no time.  Call in the exterminator and eliminate the problem before it festers and grows.  The response from employees who are working towards the common goals of the dealership will be positive, if they understand the negative forces will be removed from their work environment.  

In the end, the responsibility of any manager is to inspire those that work with them.  Our job is to fire them up…not fire them.

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Comment by Joe Clementi on June 11, 2014 at 12:34am
Demetrius. Thank you for taking the time to read the post and commenting. Employees are a dealerships most valuable asset yet training as a percentage of income is a fraction of its expense. Unfortunately a lot of talented people have left the industry.
Comment by Demetrius Walls on June 10, 2014 at 11:57pm

Excellent topic that more dealers need to follow. Lots of posssibly good salesman left the industry because they were given up on

Comment by Joe Clementi on June 5, 2014 at 1:22pm
@Kurtis. Thank you! You have some excellent content and instructional teaching as well. I have read your posts and watched your videos. Keep contributing and thank you so much for taking the time to read the article and for your generous comments. Stay positive and keep motivating those that will listen!
Comment by Kurtis Smith on June 5, 2014 at 12:24pm

Great Post Joe!
Like I said, I am fan of your work. It is so easy to say this is what you should do, but to take the time to say this is how you should do it, is the core skill that our managers need to learn & you have given them pointers of how to do it. Nice!

Comment by Jeff Mayernik on June 5, 2014 at 12:16pm

@Joe, thanks for that. I chose to get into car sales at age 50 because it's extremely transportable. I read,study, question and test because I have 0 interest in being 'average' at anything I do.

Comment by Joe Clementi on June 5, 2014 at 9:57am
@Jeff Statistices do support a high turn over rate and you are right there are some managers that do not have the proper training. Professional sites like DealerElite offer insightful information to those that seek out the support. Your results will speak volumes about what you have learned and gained from the articles you read, the video's you watch and the books that you read. One day, the call may come to lead your own sales team and you will have the foundation for the type of leadership that is required. Thank you for your feedback and for taking the time to read the article.
Comment by Jeff Mayernik on June 5, 2014 at 9:27am

"The NADA Workforce Industry Report says dealership have sales turnover of 62%. So it means if you have 15 sales people 10 will leave the dealership this year. "

Not surprising to me, I've been selling cars for a year and I am one of the senior salespeople at our store. There are 3 big issues that I have seen regarding the counter-productive level of turnover and this post addresses one of them. Our managers are not trained to manage, they were just successful sales people who got promoted to the desk.  Our team leaders aren't chosen because they have developed a following, they are just senior (or managers pets).

Comment by Joe Clementi on June 5, 2014 at 8:59am
@David. You are right there are those 20% that excell and need little motivation. Our goal is to coach up the potential from everyone. Thank you for your thoughts and contribution.
Comment by David Ruggles on June 5, 2014 at 12:21am

The best sales people are often head and shoulders above their managers.  Yes, motivation is always important.  It just isn't the same for all sales people and it is often unspoken. 

Comment by Joe Clementi on June 4, 2014 at 7:10pm

@David, thank you for taking the time to read and comment on the blog.  While I understand your intention, motivating sales or for that matter any employee is a job "requirement". We are responsible for coaching, counseling and conditioning our people to maximize the potential for success.  All managers should be in the trenches every day helping fine tune performance and improve outcomes.  When you are active you will indeed have failures and those failures teach us how to adapt so that we can succceed. 

"I am not judged by the number of times I fail, but by the number of times I succeed; and the number of times I succeed is in direct proportion to the number of times I can fail and keep on trying."

~ Tom Hopkins



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