Throughout my career as a general manager, I always fantasized about adopting a "step down" pay plan. My idea was that every salesperson would start the month having already earned a set amount—say $10,000. From that point forward we would charge them back for every incident that represented a less than outstanding effort:
· You didn't introduce yourself when you met the customer? That's $200.
· Didn't ask for the customer's phone number or forgot to write it down immediately? That costs you $250.
· Didn't ask your sold customer for referrals? That's $75, etc, etc, etc.
I truly believe that the end result for my salespeople would have been that they would have earned the same amount as they did with our conventional plan. But as they eliminated their effort errors, they—and ultimately the dealership, of course—would be vastly ahead of their prior average earnings.
I'm proposing that the "How many did you deliver?" question be voted out of dealership vocabulary. It should be forever banished to the circle of Hades where all passé dealership expressions and illicit practices ("big-thumb" sign-ups, "When can your husband come in and go over the numbers," and "Well gee, Mr. Smith, if you back it up to the telephone, I'll tell you how much your iron is worth") live in infamy. Instead, we'll replace them with some new questions. Here are some of my proposals:
Here's a few more for managers and owners:
- How many times did you look at your Internet lead reports last month?
- How many times did you go over an Internet inquiry with your Internet salesperson?
- Did you remind someone to do a mass e-mail for the last program update?
- When was the last time you called an Internet prospect and asked them if they were happy with your dealership’s service and offered your assistance in making them a customer?
It may take some time, but I guarantee the sooner we do it, the sooner we'll have more—more deliveries, more pride, more fun and more money. We'd all be walking a little bit lighter if we stopped focusing on the "how many" of our results and spent more time on the "how many" of our efforts!