Five Non-Negotiable For Sales Teams

February 2007, Auto Dealer Today - WebXclusive

by George Dans - Also by this author

What is a non-negotiable? It is something that can’t be negotiated. What about your dealership? Do you have some non-negotiables for your sales team? If you are going to have your best year ever, you must have some rules, guidelines or processes that can’t be sacrificed. Let’s come up with at least five non-negotiables for your dealership.

Non-negotiable 1 – Be on time for work.  If people don’t come in on time – and I would imagine most dealerships have a start time – doesn’t that send a signal of lack of respect to management and your team? Why it is some managers won’t hold staff accountable to rules or guidelines? I think it happens because the salesperson (if that is who the perpetrator is) has done a good job of selling management on why they shouldn’t show up on time. If these salespeople could convince customers like they convince management, they would sell a ton of cars.

Non-negotiable 2 – Have a turn-over (TO) policy. Do you have one? If a customer is getting ready to leave without buying, is that customer turned over to management or another salesperson?  If not, why? It doesn’t matter what the selling average of the salesperson is. Every customer that isn’t closed should be turned to another person. Think about this, why would we let a below average salesperson determine who can or can’t buy? You’ve got to hammer this one. As is, there isn’t enough traffic coming in, so let’s gang up on these hard to close customers. Sometimes you have to understand that half of something is better then all of nothing. Get your management involved earlier in the deal with customers so that the turn isn’t so obvious. This could be worth an extra 10 deals a month. Don’t let your salespeople chase false customer objections. If you don’t close, you lose.

Non-negotiable 3 – Mandatory boot camp for underachievers.  Boot camp will do wonders when it comes to selling more cars. Boot camp is for any salesperson or sales manager selling less then average. For salespeople, if they average less then 10 cars a month based on 90 days, they enter boot camp, which is a one-hour training session that is held once a week on the same day and time. What skills do most new salespeople or struggling veterans need? Let’s review what they need:

Organization – An organized desk, a filing system, and a database system that allows for sold customer data input and ensures proper follow-up.

A monthly success guide – A plan, that helps set activity and results goals, needs to be inspected everyday. You can help minimize the number of bad days your staff experiences by making them accountable. Make every salesperson show up with a written plan to sell a car everyday. No plan, no work until a plan is written out and signed off by management.

Mastery of selling basics – To sell more cars right now, get your team to master the basics of selling.

Knowledge on how to bypass price – Your salespeople must be able to bypass price to effectively get through the selling basics. Bypassing price buys time, so salespeople can build value.

Fresh closes – Your team may need to learn more closes to sell more vehicles.

Proficiency at handling objections – Develop confidence through skill training so salespeople won’t be afraid to ask for the sale. 

Follow-up skills – Quit messing around here; there is nothing wrong with salespeople being requested to follow up. Teach them how to handle the telephone, and teach them how to ask for referrals. Make it a mandatory requirement that they have to make five to 10 calls a day to customers in their working and sold database.

If after boot camp your salesperson is still selling below 10 a month based on a 90–day period, consider terminating the underachiever. Quit settling for average. Ten is average, and you didn’t get in business to develop a super star team of underachievers. The bottom line is we don’t run a safe house for underachievers.

Non-negotiable 4 – One-on-Ones – This one you can’t sacrifice. Every day before your salespeople start their shift, they must meet with management to review their upcoming day. This is so important and should minimize having to cram your entire month into the last week of the month. You can also have a small group meeting depending on how many salespeople you have. Bottom line is: no game plan, no review, no work.

Non-negotiable 5 – Ongoing Sales Training – Are you sick and tired of the stop and start sales training programs? Let me ask you a question? If you don’t train them to perform, to sell, to close, to follow-up, who will? Why do people quit or get fired? They weren’t good enough or they weren’t trained to be good enough. Commit to a six-week training program. I have already given you some subjects to train on.  I’m sure you can dust off your old videos or recover your “stolen” training DVDs to help get you started.

To have your best year, you also have to have your best plan. The plan is to hit your goals without failure. Stop the insanity now. Create non-negotiables to fit your dealership. Quit allowing salespeople to sell you on why they can’t be the best. You’re the coach. Now, take some time, develop your plan and do what most won’t do. Execute it.

Vol 4, Issue 1

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