The other day there was a humorous discussion about the old movie Glengarry Glen Ross and how the sales meeting scene was a fairly typical type of Friday morning sales meeting for many of us who have been at this for more than 15 years or so. After the conversation I started thinking about the people who have entered into the business in the last few years and the image of salespeople they were presented with in movies and TV shows and its really stopped me in my tracks. I have heard many complaints about the attitude and since of entitlement that today’s work force has but really; its not all their fault. Think about the last movie you saw that had a salesperson in it, more than likely the salesperson wasn't portrayed very nicely. TV shows the same, most salespeople are one of two stereotypes; greedy cutthroat slime balls or lazy ignorant losers. How can we expect a new generation of employees to be the professionals they can be if the only perceptions they have had of salespeople have been negative ones? As managers we know that the car business can in fact be a very rewarding and profitable career without sacrificing honor or integrity. Yes there have been a fair amount of folks working in car sales with questionable ethics but the same is true in many, many fields that aren't blanketly labeled as bad choices for work.
As managers it is up to us to lead with integrity and provide the positive motivation that will inspires those coming in to the car business to continue the effort of raising the image and expectations of what it is that we do. Lets face it, few people started out wanting to be car salesmen but thousands and thousands of folks are. We work each day in one of the most important industries in the nation, in fact it was the auto industry that helped the most to turn the economy back in the right direction and as it has been said by many wise people; “nothing happens until a salesperson sells something!” I would advise you to start this year with a new approach, sit down with each of your salespeople and ask them to write out where they think they are now and where they would like to be in three and five years. In your talk try to find out their own feelings about what they do, if a person doesn't feel like they are working in alignment with their own value structure you have big problems as they are probably just hanging out until the opening becomes available at the truck driving school! Do your best to remind your staff, and also show them with your leadership that sales is not a job to be ashamed at working in, rather it can be a career to be proud of! Until next time, Sell Something :)