Cross training and team building are critical
Are your business development and Internet sales teams integrated with your experienced sales team, as documented in your store’s playbook? If you do not have a defined process with a back-up plan for each scenario, it may be time for a bit of a culture change. Or, as I often refer to bridging the gaps between departments, a paradigm shift.
When a culture change or process adjustment is made through cross-training, we can strengthen our team’s unity. As I have mentioned in a previous article, from my experience the most effective system for scheduling appointments that show and sell is to involve both appointment-minded and sales-minded individuals. Business development is AWOL (A Way of Life) and starts in the mind and heart of every team member in each of our profit centers. Habits must be examined and, where necessary, discarded with new ones being formed. It takes honest self-appraisal, goal setting and more. Having a personal “elevator pitch” whenever asked “What do you do for a living?” helps. When an employee hears and feels their “why,” the transformation to being a part of your team begins. There is much work to be done to be number one and no single department or member can reach full potential without the others. No team wins with just a good offense after all.
Across the dealership, it is essential to set clear, detailed benchmarks and goals with accountability throughout the team building process. This develops an understanding of just how much training effort and excellence is required from all. This appreciation focuses energy into synergy.
A benchmark of 150 dials per day for a business development representative is different than the benchmark for a sales representative calling 30 customers. Let me clarify that dials are made to gain an initial connection and build rapport with a potential customer. These can be done with new leads or existing customers from your database, reaching out to customers on every number they have provided. Rather than just setting benchmarks, it is essential to track them, thereby ensuring the effectiveness of the team and highlighting areas in need of improvement.
Marketing becomes “magnetic” when specific elements converge and produce attraction. The key point to understand is that it is not what we say; it is how we made them feel. Always remember that we want a consistent experience for every customer. That is, when the team is on the same page but not robotic, we have an opportunity to create a positive experience and separate ourselves from our competition. Differentiation is, ironically, created by commonality.
Anyone responsible for making outbound calls must understand human nature and the reaction customers have when receiving a sales call. For example, if I call somebody and immediately tell them who I am and why I am calling (e.g. to sell them a car or bring them back for service, etc.), I have far greater chance of hearing a stream of excuses as to why they can’t talk.
However, if I determine I have the right person and they say it is a good time the “saving face” principle comes into play. When someone says it is a good time I can then utilize the laws of reciprocation to make a positive emotional “deposit” by reinforcing that it is a good time by thanking them for speaking with me. Remember, people are influenced and persuaded by their subconscious. Customers are used to the quick and slick talk so many sales people have embedded in their technique. It is refreshing to them when I give them the courtesy of explaining that I am glad it is a good time because I would not want to interrupt or inconvenience them. Even if they mentally kick themselves, human nature will take over and their instinct to save face will give us the opportunity to talk to them.
Similarly, when I ask if they have a pen handy I do not want to give the prospect an opportunity to tell me they do without immediately telling them I will wait for them to get one. Why? Because again, to save face they may say they have a pen and really don’t. They are either writing in the air or believing that they are going to remember everything that is said. They are not going to actually say “I lied and I don’t really have a pen.”
For the same reason, when we confirm appointments we are assumptive. From my experience the confirmation calls validate the importance and uniqueness of this appointment versus any others they have ever made or experienced in the past. We do not ask the open-ended question, “You are still coming, right?” Instead, let them know that you are giving them the courtesy of making sure that they have the best directions from wherever they are coming. Assume the show. Remember that whether we are on the sales floor in the business development center, working back and forth or managing the department, a mental drive is essential when confirming appointments, taking TO calls and never assuming that the appropriate data was collected.
Accountability is not an option and follow-up is a long-term process. Examine not only the importance of training on communication and phone skill fundamentals but also the understanding of human instinct and personality types. Thus begins the journey to the top of your market.