How would you rate the skill sets of the sales staff at your dealership? Let’s review a few of those skill sets:
• Phone skills — taking inbound calls and making outbound calls
• Follow-up skills — Following up sold and unsold customers with an organized game plan utilizing multiple streams of follow-up methods
• Marketing — Utilizing a planned and sequenced marketing campaign utilizing multiple media methods for low- to no cost self-marketing and prospecting
• Action Management — Otherwise known as “time management”; a well-thought out and executed game plan for a daily, weekly and monthly action plan
• Self-Education — A well-planned and executed game plan for self-education based upon increasing sales skills, people skills, life skills and marketing skills
• Closing skills — The ability to bring all the work done with the customer, the relationships and value created to a purchase decision
Over the years, I have been in thousands of dealerships and know that the answers to the above questions for the vast majority of dealerships are a lot poorer than any of us would like to admit. If you are a manager or dealer, my question to you is the following:
If you have been trying unsuccessfully for many years to raise the skill levels on the above areas, what will change or make a difference in the future? If you keep banging your head against a wall and all you get is a bloody headache, then wouldn’t it make sense to try something different?
One of two things will have to change. Either you must spend the time, effort and resources necessary to recruit, hire, train and retain the right type of quality people, or you must devise a new sales process that alleviates most, if not all, of the above responsibilities from your sales staff. There is a much greater chance that you can hire and teach salespeople to execute a few things really well rather than expecting your sales representatives to execute a whole range of responsibilities at a high level.
Some of you may read this and say that I want you to just give up on salespeople and for some of you that is partially true. If you will not spend a tremendous amount of time and resources on recruiting the right people, then don’t bother in expecting better results. It’s ridiculous. What do you presently have in writing that you implement on a regular basis for a recruiting, interviewing, testing and training program for your dealership? My guess is five percent of dealerships have anything. If that is the case for your dealership, once again I must ask, “What do you expect?” If you say you want a good sales staff that performs necessary sales functions at a high professional level and you spend zero thought, time and resources towards getting good people that even have a capacity to perform these functions, then you will get what you pay for.
If you have determined that you cannot get high-quality people or do not want to spend the resources necessary to get the top quality people, then I do not find shame in creating a limited sales process with limited functions for your sales staff to ensure a high probability of success. My hope is that you chose some plan of massive action rather than keep doing the same thing and expecting a miracle. Hoping and praying alone does not seem to work. To paraphrase a quote, “Pray, but move your feet.”
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