So, let’s push the big, black chairs away from the desk, put the coffee or Red Bull down and get into the weeds for this month’s edition to discuss a few useful topics for those of us banging around out there on the blacktop.
They’re All Bad
Recently, I walked up and asked to see a relatively new salesperson who was fumbling around with a handful of keys — half of those keys I’m sure he was hopefully holding for the customer coming in hours from now, and the other half were the only evidence left behind from the “No Show” or “No Go” customers. Freezing as if the LAPD shined their spotlight from a helicopter overhead, he stammered out, “Surrre…what about?” Seeing his tension, I told him that I just wanted to go over his numbers and percentages — to which he said, “Yeah, I know they’re all bad!”
“Actually, no, they’re pretty good,” I said. “Why would you think the numbers were all bad?”
He reasoned that he thought they were all bad because, in his working experience, the only time the manger walks up and wants to discuss something is if it’s something bad.
As a manager, you’re your people’s scorekeeper and you have to let them know that, some days, they are winning. Think about it: If you never talk to them, the only way they’d know if they are successful or not is by the number of deliveries they are making. But what if the output doesn’t lineup with the input? Statistically, they’re doing all the right things, but maybe they’re just are having to play through a bad hand. Yes, the scoreboard matters, but the only way they’re going to “put up” more numbers is to coach them on their stats — and the stats aren’t all about work either.
Touch your people early and often — don’t wait to have a conversation when the store needs to sell 20 more vehicles by the end of the month or when they’re boxing up their desk in exasperation. Sometimes, your role is to zoom out and let them know that statistically the numbers will work out. Some days it’s to kick them in the butt to tighten up. Other days, it’s to encourage them that, although things may be tough at home, the good they are doing at work will transfer to good outside of work.
The Orange Bike with the Loose Chain
Growing up, I rode around my neighborhood on an orange bike with a blue seat. I loved that bike — except for the fact that the bike’s chain had slack in it; when it came time to chase after my friends, my pedals would skip and cause me to bang my knees into the chrome handlebars bruising my pasty legs all up. Tension was the only thing needed to fix my bike — all I had to do was take a link out of my chain and I’d been able to go faster with fewer injuries.
In sales, tension is your friend. It’s a good thing because your growth is right there in the tension. Sure, you want it easier. I know you want every customer to lay down and buy from you. We all wish the customer knew what they wanted, had 20 percent down, no negative equity, questioned nothing and came carrying a 750-credit score — but it just doesn’t work that way, does it? If you had no tension — in life or in sales — you’d never grow. It’s the fiery arrows of rejection and slings of discouragement, coupled with the boulders of doubt that slap you around and shake you up, to bring about change and evolution. Grow or rot — the choice is yours. The missing ingredient is tension.
They Can Quit on You; You Can’t Quit on Them
It’s OK if a customer quits on you; it’s not OK for you to quit on your customer. Customers, on average, buy a vehicle every 42 months; you do this 10 to 20 times per week. Who should be more emotionally agile — you or your customer? Never ever quit on your customers. If they elect not to buy from you, let it be because they decided to not buy, not because you gave up on them and your deal.
You’re an options trader; you serve up one option and swap it out for another, and another, etc. Your customers depend on you to offer alternative ways of thinking, looking, utilizing and deciding whether your product and your level of service is the right fit for them or not. You have to be one of those “I didn’t think of that” kinds of salespeople, meaning you creatively throw out an idea, alternate model or financing arrangements and the customer looks at you and says, “You know, I didn’t even think of that.”
Thanks for catching this month’s editorial — we’ll do more in the months to come. Until next time, I’ll see you on the blacktop.
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