What are Sales Manager doing today to increase their effectiveness as a Sales Manager? It seems like many dealerships are working with lean sales staff, so how are you/they getting the most out of your sales team?

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Comment by Fred G. Slabine on August 27, 2010 at 11:42am
Yes, you are correct, Active listening is a skill in itself. When you actively listen to your customer you are developing their self esteem. You are saying to them, "Your thoughts are important to me, please tell me more."

By utilizing nodding, eye contact and agreeing with the customer, you are building trust in your relationship with the customer.

Unfortunately the sales manager is a very busy individual and when working deals, instead of asking what do you know about the customer personally & professionally, they are driven by what is it going to take to make a deal today; thereby setting the lead for what is important, the numbers!
Comment by Holly Nieuwendijk on August 27, 2010 at 11:21am
I agree rapport and relationship building is very important. A big part of that is listening and thoughtfully responding to what the customer is saying. Regardless of whether you are professional, house wife/husband, building contractor, etc. everyone is juggling a lot of things and they really don't want someone to waste their time, it's just too valuable. Respect has a lot to do with building trust with a potential customer.
Comment by Fred G. Slabine on August 27, 2010 at 10:49am
Your welcome and thank you, Holly. I believe the most important part of the sales process that the sales managers should focus on, is the development of the relationship. The first impression sets the tone, who do you feel more comfortable with? Someone who is sloppy in their dress, makes you feel that you are interfering in their day, asks the question; “Can I help you?” Or a professional in appearance and mannerisms, who smiles, and says welcome to ABC motors, my name is Fred Slabine and yours?

Developing rapport is the next item of importance, as who would you rather buys from? Someone who is interested in you or someone who you feel is just interested in their commission? Have you ever felt both ways upon meeting someone? Whom did you buy from?

The sales process and product knowledge are paramount to being successful as once again; who would you rather buy from; someone who lacks product and the sales process knowledge or a competent professional sales person whom you develop trust with as they answer your question honestly and knowledgably.

What are your thoughts?
Comment by Holly Nieuwendijk on August 27, 2010 at 10:03am
Thanks Fred. Very insightful. Any particular part of the sales process a Sales Manager should be focusing on?
Comment by Fred G. Slabine on August 26, 2010 at 3:20pm
The best way for sales managers to get the most out of their sales team is to motivate and inspire them, model effective selling techniques, provide intensive training for new hires, and make sure that seasoned professionals get refresher courses from time to time.

Sales training is the least expensive way to increase sales and profits. What does the average dealership pay for advertising each month--$10,000, $20,000, $30,000 or more? Well, sales training costs less than a thousand dollars per trainee, far less than the gross profit on one sale. Assume that each sale produces about $2,200 in gross profits--$1350 on the front end and $850 in F&I. Well, if the salesperson sells just one extra vehicle each month, the dealership will get back more than 26 times his initial investment (12 months x $2,200=$26,400). Just imagine the additional profits the dealership will generate if 5 salespeople receive training and each sells just 4 more vehicles a month for 12 months. The figures grow exponentially—5 people x 4 units x 12 months x $2200 in gross profits = $528,000 per year in additional gross profits. If you could invest in the stock market and know you’d get between 26 and 500 times your initial investment, it would be a no-brainer, right?

Training is not everything; however. Sales managers should learn to develop their sales personnel by offering them positive reinforcement and avenues to make corrections seem small and easy to accomplish. Here’s an example that is all too common. Sales manager to sales person: “Dave, you did not find out that the customer needed to involve his wife in the decision, so we couldn’t close him. Don’t let it happen again.” Here’s another way to make the same correction: “Dave, I am proud of you, you made a great impression on your customer. He liked you and loved the vehicle. Unfortunately you forgot to find out if anyone else was needed for him to make a decision. I’ve made that mistake myself and I am sure you won’t do it again. Now let’s give him a call and see what we can do to make him smile”

Which approach is more motivating, inspiring, and productive? You choose.

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