Being in the industry for 26 years, I’ve had the privilege of talking to, working alongside with and managing some of the best sales people in country. Through the years, I’ve compiled a list of the common characteristics of this elite class of professionals – I’m talking about sales people making in excess of $100,000 a year.
Here are their secrets:
1. They plan their day the night before in writing. This means they can hit the ground running with a well thought out plan of action. They don’t waste time during the day stopping to think or decide what to do next.
2. They show up for work early, and do a walk through the dealership to say hello to fellow team members. While doing this, they:
a. Look for opportunities to do business.
b. Preview new inventory.
c. Looks for trades brought in the night before.
This way they have the latest information they need to share with customers.
3. They spend ½ hour to an hour on product and/or skill training. It could be one or more of the following:
a. Participate in the dealer’s sales training online.
b. Get certified on new products.
c. Do online skill building.
d. Read a book on selling techniques.
e. Roleplay with another salesperson.
4. Keep in touch with customers and prospects.
a. Call customers and prospects to let them know about any specials going on at the dealership.
b. Send every customer they’ve sold a car to, and every prospect, both holiday cards and birthday cards. Then they follow up with a phone call to wish their customers the very best – whatever the occasion.
5. They are proactive in assisting the customer’s entire family, or anyone living in the household.
a. They call customers to update information on the other vehicles in the customer’s household. Questions they ask include:
n Besides the car you bought from us, how many other vehicles do you have in your household?
n What are the makes and models of other vehicles in your household?
n What is the current mileage of each of these vehicles?
n When do you see yourself replacing each of these vehicles? In a month, or three months, six months?
b. They put this information in their mobile device — Palm Pilot, Blackberry, Day Timer, etc., and then call the customer according to preset schedule at three months intervals or whenever it is appropriate to follow up.
c. They offer assistance with the objective of making life easier for these customers and members of their households – letting them know about any dealership specials, or particular pre-owned cars that might be of interest to them.
6. They hand out three to five business cards every day outside of the dealership. (The average sales consultant only hands out one or two business cards per week outside of the dealership.) Successful sales consultants pass business cards out at every opportunity:
a. Outside of work — at the mall, the drycleaners, church, at lunch, etc.
b. With this message: “Here’s my card if I can ever help you out. Even if I don’t have a car you want to buy, I can give you advice on buying a car.”
7. One or two days a week, they schedule themselves in the service lane with the goal of greeting current customers and getting them to drive and evaluate new vehicles.
8. The best sales consultants tell everybody about the history of the company. They explain why they chose to work there.
9. They follow the specific sales process of the dealership where they work, and they don’t fight the process.
10. They possess a strong sense of urgency in making the sale. They have a competitive nature, enthusiastic drive, positive attitude and passion. (This is something you can’t teach.)
11. They generally only associate with other high achievers when at work! They don’t associate with the sales people who are only selling six cars a month. Like top athletes and millionaires, they associate with their peers.
12. They ask for and insist upon daily one-on-one with a manager or other top performer who will critique them and give them excellent advice for improving their techniques. They don’t want to be left alone.
13. They have a backup plan/vehicle to show the customer.
14. The best sales consultants always keep their managers involved:
a. Introduce every customer to their manager early in the process.
b. Ask the manager to call customer when customers are not responding or returning calls.
c. Challenge managers – “I think we are close to making this happen. I know if you talk with our customer, you could come to an agreement!”
d. It’s about the sales person, the manager and the customer all working together as a team to help the customer.
15. They act as if they owned their own business and reinvest in that business.
a. They spend 5% of their own commission income in marketing themselves. They usually:
n Create their own business cards.
n Create and send out newsletters.
n Create their own web site.
n Use social media tools to put their name before the public.
16. They sometimes become prominent in the community, as a volunteer, town official, or in some other capacity, so people already feel comfortable with them when they meet them in the dealership showroom.
The point is, there is no quick fix to being the best sales consultant in the automotive industry.
Everybody is looking for the silver bullet, but there’s isn’t any. The best sales consultants do all of these little things listed above on a consistent basis.
And when they do, these are the consultants that become the leaders in sales in their dealerships, and move forward in their careers to become general managers, or dealership owners.
Ultimately, they enjoy the highest levels of financial success and achievement.