Most sales people only have three ways to generate income: Fresh ups, incoming phone calls, or internet leads. The dealer pays for all of them. By teaching sales to invest in themselves with prospecting tools their sales can easily double in 20 months.

No one prospecting will make you a killing but many will make you an abundance of money.

Have bonuses that the sales people receive that are half cash and half into a prospecting account. See how fast your sales grow in 6 months after they have 4 or 5 tools.

It's a managers responsibility to get the prospecting tools in all their sales reps hands quickly as possible so that they live on repeats and referrals. The difference is your gross's are higher, close ratio is higher, more fun, less stress, and slow down turnover.

Make prospecting one of your goals for your salespeople in 2014 and teach them how to make money when their sleeping

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Comment by Big Tom LaPointe on January 7, 2014 at 11:28pm
Great point here. Agree with David and others who say sales managers don't know how to prospect themselves. 500 lb phone too heave for them. And on linkedin there is a discussion with a vendor speaking against it as "old school"
Comment by Fran Taylor on December 28, 2013 at 2:57pm

I agree with you Scott about some managers need some help prospecting . Thanks Marsh . Much appreciated .

Comment by Scott Klein on December 28, 2013 at 2:52pm

Spot on David. Most managers don't know how to prospect because they didn't do it themselves. They won't make calls in front of salespeople because they didn't make the calls themselves. With the advent of Internet Departments and BDC Departments, the climate of walk in traffic has changed considerably over the last several years. My guess is 20% (20% might be high) of every customer that walks on the lot today has already spoken with someone and they are asking to speak with that person. If a store gets 1000 walkins for the month and only 200 are "fresh" opportunities that means each salesperson's will get 10 walkins (assuming 20 salespeople). 10 walkins plus whatever they can get from BDC is not enough to make a living. That being the case, prospecting is a must in this day and age. Afterall, prospecting is what most salespeople in different environments do anyway. Guys selling life insurance or advertising prospect, so why can't people selling cars do the same thing?

Comment by Fran Taylor on December 28, 2013 at 2:38pm

Thanks David . You have much value in your comment . Much appreciated .

Comment by David Ruggles on December 28, 2013 at 1:46pm

When you say the word "prospecting" to most sales people you receive back a blank stare.  Management needs to show them how to do it.  I mean managers need to make cold calls in front of sales people.  They need to "show," not just "tell."  Once a sales person gets comfortable with the idea and has some actual success, it becomes difficult to make them NOT do it, as if you'd want to.  But they need word tracks and a manager's help to get their pump primed, IMHO.  Many managers were NOT good prospectors.  If they were, they would have turned down the manager's job, not wanting to take a cut in pay.  Way too many managers were "successful" by churning through "ups" and some closing skills  As a consequence, they think that's the best way to do things. 

Some OEMs are supporting their dealers to get into the tire business based on the OEM's national contract.  A really critical point in retaining your customers is when their car needs a new set of skins.  Sales people can take an active part in making sure customers know where to get the best price on tires.  It ain't Costco, Sam's, Goodyear, Firestone, Pep Boys, Discount Tire, etc.  We NEVER want our customers to have an excuse to go to those competitors.  And when they are in the market for tires is a GREAT time to spring the "magic" prospecting question,  "You'd be interested in a new one, wouldn't you, if we could get you into one for about what you're paying now?"  Sales people should be partners with Service and Parts in the tire business.  After all, there is no glory in selling tires for no profit.  There IS glory in keeping your customers from having any excuse to go to a competitor for tires, and then losing them forever.  Enterprising sales people communicate with non customers telling the "tire story."  A Dodge dealer in Des Moines recently talked about all of the off brand vehicle owners they have sold tires to, and how they have turned the tire program into conquest sales. 

IMHO the key to prospecting is to NOT act too much like a sales person.  Don't always be trying to push something.  Keep your name in front of consumers with a birthday card or occasional note.  Don't even mentioned cars.  Call them when you know they aren't home, and leave a voice mail.  The best prospector/sales person I've ever known is Greg Reitz in Davenport IA.  He leaves a message that says, "I called to leave you this message when I thought you might be at work because I know you're busy...  but I just wanted to wish you happy birthday.  This guy does everything "old school."  He arrives at the dealership at 5:00 AM to send cards and set up his day.  He's a walking talking text book on prospecting and follow up.  The guy sold 800 units in 2011 and will send out 8K Christmas cards in 2013. 


Comment by Fran Taylor on December 27, 2013 at 6:31pm

Thanks . I had a lot of fun doing them . 

Comment by Marsh Buice on December 27, 2013 at 5:37pm
Good share Fran ;)
Comment by DealerELITE on December 27, 2013 at 5:33pm

Fran thank you for sharing

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