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4 Cultural Tweaks That Can Increase Dealership Sales

“Corporate culture” may sound like the sort of thing that separates hip start-ups in sunny office-lofts from fluorescent cubicle farms. While the Silicon Valley offices of tech giants may seem unrelated to your dealership showroom, there’s a surprising number of important lessons you can learn from them to increase the performance of your team.

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Andrew Tai is the CEO and co-founder of Motoinsight, but his influence extends far beyond the company. A contributing columnist to The Globe and Mail and a prolific speaker, Andrew is a recognized authority on digital retailing within the automotive industry.

“Corporate culture” is something you’ve probably read or heard about from multiple sources. This recent buzzword may sound like the sort of thing that separates hip start-ups in sunny office-lofts from fluorescent cubicle farms with beige wallpaper, but corporate culture isn’t just for corporations.

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You’ve already seen tech companies like Google and Apple reinvent the structure of typical office jobs. While the Silicon Valley offices of tech giants may seem unrelated to your dealership showroom, there’s a surprising number of important lessons you can learn from them to increase the performance of your team.

1. Be Flexible

When you think of Silicon Valley, you probably picture young people wearing trendy glasses and sitting on beanbag chairs. Unorthodox furniture aside, a flexible and lenient approach to management can give rise to truly exceptional employee performance. You hired your employees because you have faith in their abilities (or so we hope), so give them room to prove themselves.

You don’t need to compromise your dress code or performance expectations to be flexible, but take a step back and try to see your team’s value. Instead of monitoring the play-by-play activities of your staff, watch the overarching performance trends. You may be surprised by the ways your people can create success and hit targets.

2. Be Transparent

Intelligent employees are inquisitive, and that’s a good thing. Curious people will always continue to learn, which means your team will get better at their jobs every day. Encourage curiosity by providing a transparent view into your operations — because no one likes being left in the dark.

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Host regular sales meetings not only to track performance, but also to provide a view into broader management decisions. Give your team the knowledge and awareness to understand why they’re doing what they’re doing. An informed sales team is a powerful sales team.

3. Provide the Right Tools

Of course, human interaction is the cornerstone of your in-store experience. But we live in an age when people are accustomed to a high-tech fallback — even in face-to-face conversations:

You’re trying to figure out a lunch destination, so you pull out your phone and check Yelp. Or you’re arguing about the capital of Australia (it’s Canberra), so you Google it. Your team is used to having that digital fallback when they need more information everywhere else in life, so extend that utility to your sales floor with the right digital tools.

An omni-channel digital retailing solution is that fallback. This platform doesn’t just make it easier for customers to buy, it makes it easier for your team to sell. A major stressor on salespeople is the absence of information a customer wants right now. Instead of scrambling around looking confused, a digital retailing solution gives your team access to all the customer and product information, including sales activity your customers engaged in at home.

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4. Reduce the Pressure

Targets and expectations are always a necessity for your sales team, but that doesn’t mean you need a high-pressure work environment. We’ve previously discussed the merits of giving control to your customers, but the same goes for your own team. Instead of applying constant and oppressive oversight, give your salespeople ownership of their goals, and take a step back.

No one likes feeling pressured; it’s why customers are more likely to buy when they feel a sense of ease and mutual trust. But a salesperson under pressure will transfer that desperation onto their customers, ultimately hurting their own cause. Your team will work better together, and better with their customers, when they can approach leads with a sense of calm confidence.

This calm approach is possible when your team has a viable alternative to high-pressure tactics and the latitude to work with it. With a digital retailing platform, your dealership is able to offer customers something better than the usual sales pitch. This drives your numbers up while reducing the pressure on salespeople.

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Perhaps more important is the additional control and insight you have into customers beyond the showroom. Instead of sending multiple daily emails to keep your customers aware of you, simply offer them an account-based online experience that they can engage with from home. By reducing the pressure across the board, you allow your customers and salespeople to work together toward the common goal of buying a car — from your dealership.

Andrew Tai

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