I was fortunate enough to work in a top-100 new car dealership from the very first day of green-pea training. I was a salesperson, sales manager, team leader, desk man, and department head. Whatever you wanted to call me this month, I didn't care. But I did care, and care deeply, about two objectives—hitting forecast, and building a team that could do it every month.
I wasn't the only one on this team. Far from it. But what I learned about process only made it easier to see that without structure, basics, discipline, and leadership, sales teams fail and turn over constantly.
As leaders and sales managers, we spend an awful lot of time making sure the phones ring, the ads are spot on, website prices are lower than everyone else’s, and UPs continue to walk through the door.
While advertising/marketing is the first mechanism for the sales process, it's only one of many. Your sales basics in the sales and internet departments have as big an impact as all your promotion combined. Unfortunately, they are often the most overlooked.
If salespeople aren’t following basic sales process, either the process isn’t complete or clear, or they’re short-cutting and managers continue to tolerate it.
Let's start with salesperson basics, known to many as the steps to the sale. Here's an example of one.
- Meet and greet
- Wants/needs analysis
- Trial close
- Negotiation or trade evaluation
Not your exact steps? Chances are they might not be the same as those of other managers, salespeople, or the internet department either. Address the following:
- Agree upon your sales steps. Get your sales managers together and ask: What are our dealership's sales steps? Once you've decided, and written it out, take the next step.
- Put some teeth into it. Make sure your sales team knows the sales steps, and more importantly, that you will not tolerate shortcuts when structuring a deal. When you prove that your system makes them more deals, they'll quickly fall into line, and become believers.
- Circle your wagons. Once your new disciplined structure is entrenched, don’t let up, and don't let other managers slip into old, non-productive ways. Solid work and performance habits require consistent execution of the basics. Use your CRM, business planners, and your internet statistics to pinpoint individuals’ strengths and weaknesses. Here, you'll be able to spot challenges that vary from salesperson to salesperson. It may be the demo to write-up point, or transition from the write-up to the close.
- Inspect expectations. At the end of each month, conduct 15-minute meetings with each salesperson. Strategize ways to help them overcome problems through role playing, additional training, etc. Then regroup each month to see how they're trending Here is a formula for dialing in your sales teams basics:
Start with these basic steps, and make them part of your monthly game plan. It’s a powerful reminder that sales basics and inspection processes never go out of style, and are the least expensive, most powerful way to achieve results.