Working Hard Versus Working Smart Defined

We’ve all heard it...”You need to work smart not hard.” I know when I was selling cars that’s what my managers preached to me. I don’t remember if any of them actually defined what that meant or how to execute it in real time though. 


I thought if I worked more hours and took more ups that I was working smarter. After all it’s a numbers game right? If I catch more ups I’ll sell more cars; it seems like it fits the mold. I later figured out that was working hard...real hard in fact. I sold a bunch of cars, but I was working my ass off. It didn’t take too long to figure it out though. So here’s what I figured out...

  • My close rate on a fresh up was 20% (I counted all my ups).
  • My close rate on a referral was 80%
  • My close rate on a previous customer was 90%
  • My close rate on a Bird Dog was 90%
  • My close rate on personal prospected opportunities was 75%

Well there it is in black and white. Working smart was concentrating on higher close opportunities. Let’s fact it...catching ups and dealing with the the 20 percenters is hard work after a while. Working with a Bird Dog, a repeat customer, or a referral is easy pickins.

So if that’s the case then why do salespeople continue to work so hard?

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Comment by Scott Klein on June 7, 2012 at 1:23pm

Agreed 110% Scott! I've come to the conclusion that most salespeople take the path of least resistance. Waiting on the "up bus" is easier than cultivating a pipeline of higher close ratio people, higher gross deals, better CSI scores, and happier service customers. Not to mention the fact that they refer all their friends & relatives.

Comment by Scott Hengtgen on June 7, 2012 at 12:24pm

It has never been a secret that our closing ratio on referrals, be-backs, bird dogs, and son are always a lot higher then fresh ups. It has always puzzled me why a sales person would want to fight over few ups with 15 to 20 other sales people then work their pipe line. I personally educate my sales staff because they do not like training. Now I know there is no difference but they think so. Remember, a persons perception is their reality know matter how distorded it is. What I'm getting at is we as leaders need to find ways to grow our sales staff to make them 20 plus cars a month people. Sales people do not like training but have no problem being educated. As a manager if your sales staff sucks you need to look in the mirror, they are a direct reflection of you.

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