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No Snooze Buttons: Awakening Productivity in Your Salespeople

When your salespeople procrastinate, they may feel like they’re gaining time to prepare for tasks they dread by briefly putting them off, but what’s really happening is they’re losing valuable time, interrupting a productive work rhythm and maybe even costing your dealership valuable opportunities.

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How many times do you hit the snooze button when you wake up in the morning? If you’re like most people, you hit the snooze button at least once.

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When you opt for that extra nine minutes of sleep, it may seem like you’re getting additional rest, but what’s actually happening is you’re trading what could have been uninterrupted sleep for fitful dozing. Not only that, but you wake up feeling groggy, your sleep cycle is disrupted and your memory suffers.

Like so many principles, these consequences of procrastination are paralleled elsewhere as well — such as in automotive retail. When your salespeople procrastinate, they may feel like they’re gaining time to prepare for tasks they dread by putting them off for “just a few minutes” or “only a day or two,” but what’s really happening is they’re losing valuable time in their day, interrupting a productive work rhythm and maybe even costing your dealership valuable opportunities.

Consider how procrastination hurts your operation’s success in certain scenarios:

  • A customer calls in and the salesperson waits to call them back. During that time, the customer goes to your competitor.
  • A key goes missing and a salesperson waits to see if it’ll turn up. Meanwhile, a prospect comes in and wants to test drive that exact vehicle, but the salesperson is unable to get them in the car they want because they don’t have the key.
  • A customer declines recommended service and your service technician procrastinates on following up with them. The vehicle issue develops into a legitimate maintenance problem that must be addressed, but the customer gets the service work done at a different location because your dealership is out of sight, out of mind.

But how do you encourage your sales and service employees to make a change and be more productive? Here are nine ways to wake them up (one for every minute of the snooze button):

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  1. Set firm deadlines. For example, every call, text or email that comes in must be returned within two hours.
  2. Incentivize them. Whether it’s a SPIFF or friendly competition, motivation defeats procrastination. (Aren’t you less likely to hit snooze when you have an exciting day ahead?)
  3. Have clear policies that enforce the behavior you want. For example, everyone must return a key immediately after they’re done with it.
  4. Recognize noteworthy performance. Similar to the last point, reinforce desirable behavior by recognizing salespeople who are going above and beyond.
  5. Provide a checklist of desired activities for each day or each prospect, with timelines for each. Thiswill helpset clear expectations. However, recognize that each individual person may have a different process that works better for them.
  6. Remove unnecessary burdens. If there are any miscellaneous tasks or responsibilities you can take off your salespeople’s plates, do it! That way, they can focus on the things that matter.
  7. Give employees the tools they need to do their jobs more efficiently. If your salespeople are bogged down by manual tasks, implement technology that will speed up those processes and put more time in your staff’s day.
  8. Focus on engagement. If an employee is feeling disengaged, that puts a damper on their performance. Provide frequent training and feedback to help keep employees engaged.
  9. Lead by example. Strive to emulate the behavior you expect of your team. After all, if you don’t practice what you preach, how can you expect your salespeople to do the same?

If your sales department has been snoozing a little too much lately, it’s time to wake them up and reclaim those missed opportunities.

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Steve Robinson – KeyTrak

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