The Showroom

Seven Dumb Rules That Impede Sales

July 2007, Auto Dealer Today - WebXclusive

by George Dans - Also by this author

Recently, a dealer asked me, “How can I sell more cars right now?” Sometimes if you want to sell more cars, you need to evaluate and abolish some of the rules you already have in place. Let’s discuss several dumb rules that hold dealerships back from excelling.
Dumb Rule 1: The same person who sold the vehicle must deliver it. The problem with this rule is that normally your top salespeople are the ones selling the majority of the vehicles. If your process is too slow from start to finish, that means that your top salespeople are tied up for hours. One solution is to hire a part-time sales assistant to handle the paperwork; then your top salespeople can go back to generating more revenue for you. Another option is to make one of your below-average salespeople an assistant before you let them go due to low production. As work increases, the assistant can become full time for that salesperson.

Dumb Rule 2: Salespeople are responsible for charge backs. What a de-motivator this one is. It’s not the salesperson’s fault if the car comes back and needs extra repairs or recon. Don’t you know how hard it is to find motivated people or get people motivated? All we do is de-motivate them with this dumb old rule.

Dumb Rule 3: Don’t fuel up the inventory. If your salespeople are out on the lot following the basics to the sale and the customer requests to take the vehicle for a test drive, the customer shouldn’t have to wait for gas to be put in the vehicle. Or worse yet, no one should be sent out in a vehicle with too little fuel so the car runs out of gas during the test drive.  Ensuring that every vehicle has sufficient fuel for test drives won’t destroy your bottom line.

Dumb Rule 4: All salespeople must have the same opportunity. When salespeople are trained to handle the incoming sales call, then hand the phone to them. Other than that, don’t allow them to touch the phone. If someone is not trained to sell a specific model of vehicle, don’t let them sell it.  Additional selling opportunities should only arise through the mastery of necessary skill sets. Get rid of that dumb rule.

Dumb Rule 5: Don’t hire part-time salespeople. This dumb rule is based on the precept that hiring part-time salespeople will upset your staff.  A part-time salesperson is more likely to be motivated and should have sales goals to achieve to retain their position.  Do you have an objection to selling more vehicles? It’s not the staff’s job to determine who you hire.  If your part-time salespeople sell more units than your full–time, less–than-average salespeople, doesn’t that tell you they are giving you less than part-time effort?

Dumb Rule 6: Work hours must be long and exhaustive for the staff to be successful.  How many people in your organization have you lost due to the hours? The most successful salespeople have a balanced life.  How much time off is built into your schedule?  Give your salespeople consecutive days off  more than once a month. Women generally will not sacrifice their families for your dealership, but if you allow them a bit of freedom in scheduling, they’ll often work harder and smarter during fewer hours to allow them to juggle everything.  It’s a win-win situation.

Dumb Rule 7: Follow up is the salespersons responsibility.  You hired your salesperson to sell, not to send cards and letters. They typically don’t have the skill set to properly follow-up, so why do you consistently battle with them? Instead, hire a person to help you protect your goldmine called your database. Those dealers that have developed a business development center, or BDC, are so far ahead of their competition. If your store can’t sustain a full-time BDC, hire a person to be in charge of your BSC, which is business sales center. Then, organize your database and develop an ongoing systemic customer contact system. By following this suggestion, you will never be at the mercy of your salespeople who dislike and refuse to follow up.

So, how many of these seven dumb rules are in your dealership?  If you have them, get rid of them so you can sell more cars!

Vol 4, Issue 5

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