I thought I would share with you a old one but a good one. 23 years ago I had a manager named Gary Askins. I walked in to the office an arrogant young kid, (who was experiencing some moderate success in the business and thought I knew it all), I told Gary I was done with my customer. I continued, he's and ass&*@# Gary. This is when I got the lesson I share with everyone two decades later.
Gary said; "no your not, you are not done with that customer until I tell you that you are done with that customer go show them the 96 Jetta."
Troy said; "they won't buy the Jetta, they want something bigger"
Gary said; "how do you know? did you show them that car?"
Troy Said; "no, i just think........."
Gary said; "not sure you heard me then, i don't care what you think, go show them the Jetta and sell it like it was gold"
Troy said; "ok boss will do"
An hour and a half later (after we delivered the Jetta) I was in the Gary the GSM's office getting my head ripped off. He proceeded to tell me that there are two people that no matter how long I am in this business I will not have the luxury of making decisions for.
One: The customer
Two: The Dealer
Today I still not only teach this concept, I still adhere to it myself. I can't tell you how many times I have relived that same scenario with me playing the part of Gary. We simple can't afford to think for the customer. Only they know what they will buy and if sold with enthusiasm we can sell them 50% more than we do without. I made that decision for the customer which I truly have never done since.
WE ARE NOT BUYING THE CAR. THEY ARE. LET THEM MAKE EVERY DECISION REGARDLESS OF OF OUR OWN THOUGHTS. WE OWE IT TO THE OWNER/DEALER. SECONDLY, UNLESS YOUR NAME IS ON THE SIGN OR THE STOCK PAPERS, WE DON'T OWN THE PLACE EITHER.... IT IS UNFAIR TO THE OWNER FOR US TO MAKE ANY DECISIONS THAT WOULD POSSIBLY COST THE DEALERSHIP A DEAL AND GROSS.
So gather up the troops today, talk about the simple fact that they are not allowed to make decisions for the customer or the dealer. Round table it for a few with them and see what type decisions you can come up with that maybe they are making for the dealer or the customer. Here is one example to get it started.
Follow up call: I know every store is different but historically we stink at follow up calls. If we didn't we wouldn't need all the BDC's we have now. If a salesman makes the decision to put off calling a customer that really should be followed up he just made a decision for both the customer and the dealer. He made a decision for the customer that he didn't think the customer would want a follow up call and wasn't close to or serious about buying a car. He also made a decision for the dealer that the customer was not worth follow up. If he is wrong, the customer lost out on a good deal from a good dealership and a good salesman. The dealer lost out on $3000 GP. That decision of making that call is not a luxury that sales man should have.
This was a tough one for me to put into words the way it comes out in a sales meeting. I hope it made sense to all of you who read this every day. And, Gary if your out there, thanks for being a good manager and not allowing me to get bad habits that are hard to break. I turned out ok it seems....
Remember, Jerks buy cars too,
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