We hear it all the time: “My business is off because the economy is in flux.”
For many companies, this is simply an excuse or a place to put the blame other than on poor management. For some, it’s the excuse they need to throw in the towel and close down. While unfortunate, every business that closes represents an opportunity for their competition, to those companies that are committed to thriving regardless of what the economy brings. In our experience, the management at those companies follows most of these practices. And, while there is no “silver bullet” or guarantee, we’ve seen these companies succeed in the hardest of times.
1. Become a true leader. Despite what may be happening around you, take control, chart a course and make things happen. Strong leaders become stronger when faced with adversity.
2. Create an “Elephant List.” You’ve heard the saying, “How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time.” Now put it into practice. For 30 consecutive days, write down every issue and problem that surfaces. Then, identify what needs to be done to fix it. At the end of the month review the list. If any problems are still there, try to find a permanent solution. Remember, the first or second “fix” may not be the right solution, so keep trying until the problem no longer exists.
3. Give every customer the “Red Carpet Treatment.” Be sure everyone at your dealership treats every potential customer and customer as if they were the only VIP customer you had. This will help you create loyal clients who purchase because of their relationship with your dealership and how you make them feel, not because you have the lowest price.
4. Don’t judge. Every single opportunity or prospect should be worked fully. Don’t make assumptions based on appearance or other factors that will turn buyers away.
5. Invest in your people. Provide continuous education and training for salespeople and managers so they know how to follow-up and close in a customer-focused manner. Monitor, assess, pinpoint and correct challenges.
6. Create a plan, communicate it and work it. Manage the entire sales operation using a step-by-step plan so everyone knows what they should be doing at any given time. Track, analyze and monitor progress and performance through every step of the selling process, every day. Use the results to identify actions and additional areas for education and training.
7. Count traffic and leads. Use an accurate traffic count to create a level playing field and measure execution based on an improvement in closing ratios, not units sold. This gives every salesperson the opportunity to take advantage of incentives.
8. Hold daily meetings. Motivate your team every day to achieve their best performance. Emphasize teamwork. Recognize how each individual contributes to the team’s success.
9. Train daily. Give every salesperson 10 things to do every day and help them put a plan in place to get them done. Then, review their progress and plan for the following day.
10. Think like The Little Engine That Could. “I think I can. I thought I could.” Attitude is everything.