I learned how to earn real money in this business years ago from a co-worker, Mario. Mario owned the sales board, but he rarely if ever took an up.
Until I figured Mario out, he made my green pea life miserable. He never stood point waiting for ups or broke a sweat on the lot. What Mario did was talk on the phone – and sell cars, left and right.
Mario’s numbers were the best in the dealership – consistently 20 or more units a month. Most of us were struggling to put eight or 10 units on the board.
After months observing Mario, I began to map his mind. Mario worked his customer list, what we now call a database. He phoned those customers and he wrote them letters. He asked how the car they’d bought was working out for them. He asked if others in their family or among their friends were in the market. He assured them he’d run interference when they needed something. He remembered them on their birthday and car-purchase anniversary and on special holidays and events.
I learned that to earn a good living selling cars and to prosper I had to stop chasing ups and work a customer list too. I learned to capture information from every up, sold or not, and add that to my list. I found the customer list of the associate I’d replaced and made that list mine too. I started to pursue them until they died or told me to stop.
Making money Mario’s way isn’t rocket science. It is a personalized strategy that engages people. It is an attitude that propels the sales associate to go after and create business rather than wait for it. Mario’s way, I discovered, was the path to:
- Predictable sales numbers
- Predictable income numbers
- Predictable CSI
- Better grosses
So why don’t more sales people follow Mario’s way? Consider the opportunities in these stats:
- Only 10 percent of customers are contacted about their purchase after the sale
- Eighty-two percent cannot recall their sales associate’s name 12 months after the sale – there is no follow up!
- We fail to go to work and instead kill up to seven hours a day in huddles, filling our coffee cup, surfing the net and otherwise waiting for the miracle to happen. Start tracking sales associates’ time – most “work” just under two hours a day in terms of productive effort.
It’s the manager’s job to teach every sales associate to work their customers to create future business from them. Here are some facts to consider:
- The average household has three drivers, each a potential customer. The average customer will own 12 vehicles in his or her lifetime. That one household represents 36 potential sales for someone.
- Fresh ups carry low grosses, tend to be tough on CSI and earn sales associates only minimum commissions.
- 30 percent of everyone in the associate’s database has someone in their family or among their friends and associates who is going to buy a car within 90 days, according to Joe Verde.
Do these statistics and observations help you see the potential of database selling? Watching Mario and others has convinced me that every manager encounters four types of sales associates. Can you identify yours? Doing so will help you plan their growth paths:
1. Unconsciously incompetent: These people don’t know what they don’t know. They ask the wrong questions and say the wrong things. For instance, they allow the up to control the sales process and decide whether the demo will happen. NADA reports that 51 percent of buyers buy on the spot when they have received a great product demo.
2. Consciously incompetent: This associate tries hard, but pride can prevent him or her from recognizing and accepting that future-farming, though not glamorous, is highly effective. They fail to grasp that repeat buyer and referral buyer closing percentages are 60 percent and 55 percent respectively. They ignore that 38 percent of buyers will buy within four hours of making a buying decision, that 57 percent will buy within three days and 90 percent will buy within one week. If they’re not pursuing these ups, they’re losing business.
3. Consciously competent: This individual is waking up and coming to work! He or she is working hard to break old, unproductive habits. They’re learning to postpone the instant gratification and rush of a new up for the dogged pursuit and bigger sales numbers, higher grosses and repeat business from database farming.
4. Unconsciously competent: The right sales attitude, technique and skills are second nature to this individual by now. Their good habits have become second nature. They instinctively do what is right, consistently. They know that selling cars is more than an event, but rather a long road. They embrace the truth that their success is theirs to achieve, no one else’s. They manage their time, they work hard, they understand the stats are on their side, and they make great money.
CRM tools that make customer follow up and communication easy — and automated reminders that help sales associates never forget a customer’s important date or event — can help all four groups of individuals improve their sales success.
By helping your team map Mario’s mind and showing them how to use their database, the phone and the CRM to build their referral business, you’ll give them a real gift – a plan to help them be more productive, enjoy their job more, and make more money – while pursuing ups less.