There are three primary factors in staffing that will shape your business destiny. They are your levels of clarity, empowerment and accountability. Clarity: having well-defined job descriptions AND a 40,000 foot view of your Corporate Play Book, Vision Statement and Organization Chart. Empowerment: providing your people proper training, developing preparedness and everyone responding to customers by relating through personal experience, not reacting and instilling fear, invoking a “fight or flight” response.
We are what we do folks, we can’t be one guy with the team and a different guy with customers. We and our people need to learn how to be the opposite of what any person might respond to someone taking a survey at a mall or restaurant: “What top 3-5 words come to mind when you hear car sales?” We all know the stereotype. Everyone has strengths, it’s up to us to help them find and use them.
Train, live and learn how we can continually change perceptions of US, not your buddy down the road that won’t do the deal anyway, with EVERY customer. As my friend Scott Allen, GM of Paramount KIA in Asheville, NC says, “From my 31 years of commitment to OUR industry, I have seen ‘Farmers’ get rich and ‘Hunters’ blow out, every time.”
In fact, I am happy to report his recruit of 18 months currently is the #1 volume representative throughout the entire organization (two Hyundai, Ford, three KIA, Volvo, VW and Porsche) He is among those in agreement that there is ZERO DOWN TIME for a true professional. Many of the strongest producers I know nationally practice networking. They follow up, send newsletters and have a real “Friends and Family” Program, all of which fall under the “Farming” approach. “Hunting” is posting up by the front door and hoping to catch a good one. UGH! The Huddle Magnet. I don’t care if they sell __ a month, what are they costing you in LOST DEALS?
Lastly, Accountability is far beyond CRM, lists and graph charts. Accountability is providing a daily checklist, and reporting accomplishments and failures to a manager/coach.
Managerial feedback based on training protocol is essential. Not using the same old tapes many have new hires watch or teaching them stereotypical car scripts and rebuttal, but by getting involved in utilizing the Continuing Education and Quality Control resources at your disposal. I need to be clear that anyone reading this no longer has the excuse “Nobody told me.” EVERYTHING you need to do and NOT do is open source now, my friends. This is a business of the self-employed mind-set and all responsibility does not fall on the shoulders of one or a team of managers. This is “A WE thing, not a Me thing.”
- Commit to one month of reality-based daily training. I suggest the top 4 Phone Calls and Live Chat techniques that neither deflect nor TMI a customer’s questions. Please don’t just tell each other to “build rapport.” Rather, show each other how to identify, create and adjust commonality that doesn’t insult anyone’s intelligence. Play and discuss your great and challenging calls, chats and mystery shop inquiries. Use them for building and preparing your responses, don’t react! Lack of preparation terrifies people of going “off script” or “doing it wrong.” What a set up for failure. Nobody bats a thousand, but the best watch themselves and their team-mates. A little friendly competition helps to maximize everyone’s effectiveness.
- Product Presentation/Demonstration. Instill the “Reverse TO” on all appointments and double your demo rides; assist with DL’s, plates, etc. whenever possible to assure a smooth “demonstration” of your product. It is an actual DEMO! Let’s not forget to master the essence of emotion, human instinct closing and the fact that MENTAL OWNERSHIP must preceded FINANCIAL ownership. No car becomes “theirs” without them driving it, that we can all agree upon. My point is that, when we have a backup plan for every scenario through enhanced communication we bat like all stars!
- Follow up skills with One-on-One and Team meetings. Share with one another how to make notes and begin your calls with techniques like the back-to-back, curiosity-based voice mail, conversation starters and saving face techniques to avoid making excuses. Also, work on ensuring appointments showing by sending your picture and store’s physical address to a customer’s Smartphone or texting the “easiest” directions. Use them wisely because smartphones can be our best friend or worst enemy. Try these things for a month and watch the habits of tail light calls, show and sale ratios and overall morale go up.
- Leadership is action, not a title! Be a leader, instill confidence in your team, team-mates, friends, family; etc. and watch how you naturally help more people “buy the right thing from you and get a good deal”. To be a Leader, you first have to decide to step up.
Give it a month. Do it as if your future depends upon it because it does. Good selling, my friends.