WoW! Soon after the article mentioned below hit the ole Internet the folks from Car Biz today contacted me to see if I wouldn't mind speaking with them for a segment on their daily CBTNews show. Needless to say I was floored and jumped at the chance to be interviewed by the site that regularly features such powerful people in the automotive industry, and huge personal inspirations, like Mark Tewart and Renee Stuart! I was pretty stoked to get on the line with Russel Brown who co-anchors the show I watch and recommend to my staff so enthusiastically and it went great, I felt honored that the things we are doing here at Raceway Ford have got the attention of others and are looked at as 'how to do it right'. I feel like I am tooting my own horn a bit much lately so I will try to taper it off however the interview is HERE of you'd like to check it out!
A few years back I began to focus my efforts in learning about and getting involved with the mysterious digital black magic that is Social Media and how I could help my dealership not only increase its online presence but actively engage with our customers in all the areas that THEY were spending time. To that end I have created and manage pages for our store in many different online areas such as Google+, Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest etc... and we have built quite a nice community of friends and followers online. Being knee deep in the efforts of our dealership it was easy for me to assume that many dealerships were doing much the same thing and yet, surprisingly most aren't! A writer for the website Edmunds.com contacted me recently because she had become aware of Raceway Fords level of online activity and was impressed enough to want to write an article about us! While speaking with Laura she shared with me how our store, while not exclusive to having a great presence online, is still somewhat unique and after an interview wrote a very nice piece about the things we are doing to keep us engaged with customers in many areas to share Ford knowledge, entertain and educate as much as we can. Its a great piece and can be read HERE. For me, the recognition that we are on the right path was pretty awesome!
Famous horses have been featured in works of art for since the dawn of time, in the days of old a prize stallion would be immortalized in oil and the canvas hung proudly above its owners mantle for all to admire. Today your prize pony can also be immortalized and hung for admiration with an original print from the ‘Automotive Michelangelo’ himself, Mr Danny Whitfield. For a limited time with the purchase of a new Ford Mustang from Raceway Ford in Riverside, CA, you will receive a framed print signed by the artist of your new car purchased for you by me, Mike theCarGuy! Imagine having your co-workers admiration of your new Mustang when they see it hanging on your office wall or your friends and family being able to see your prized stallion as it hangs prominently on a wall in your home! I have been a huge fan of Mr Whitfields work for a long time and two of his prints myself, I wanted to offer my customers the chance to own one of these amazing works of art as well... and owning a new Mustang wont be all that bad either! The remaining 2014 Mustangs are moving briskly so time is critical, if you have your sights on a new Pony the time is now, and when you buy your new car you will get one to hang on the wall too!
You can see more of the amazing automotive artistry of Danny Whitfield HERE:
Recently my boss challenged me to follow thru on my rant about getting into better shape and signed me up to run a half-marathon relay with him, needless to say after sitting on the sales desk for many years I was not going to be able to get up and get into shape easily! I started by looking in the handy dandy ‘app store’ for an application that I could download that may help me put together a game plan for getting started in small and easy to accomplish steps. I was amazed at how many app’s were indeed available for beginning runners and downloaded one that looked like it would be easy for me to figure out. As we all know sometimes dealer life just gets in the way of outside life and a few weeks went by before I even realized I hadn’t been out to take the first steps to running a race… Imagine that, a fancy app with all kinds of potential that could give me all the stats and info I could ever want right at my fingertips however, because I hadn’t even opened up the application it was doing absolutely nothing for me! Sure enough once I got up early one morning, laced up my shoes and headed out the app came in handy and really helped me keep track of my progress and let me know what I needed to achieve in order to reach my goal of running the six miles of my leg in the relay.
What does this have to do with selling cars you ask? Everything. We have all heard the phrase, “there’s an app for that” at one time or another and when it comes to being a successful salesperson there’s an app for that too. Most CRM providers offer a mobile app that allows users to accumulate customer info, track process’s and maintain contact with their customer base, some better than others however the point is; just like my running app none of the CRM mobile solutions can do a single thing for you until they are opened! It’s not enough to say you simply want to sell more cars, you have to know what you need and how to get it to achieve greater results and with the help of a CRM you can. Take a hard look at your month, how many floor up, phone ups and eLeads have you taken? Look at your demo/write-up/close ratios and then it’s simple math to figure out how to increase your sales. Once you know how many you want to sell, work backwards to figure out how many write-ups it will take, how many demos it will take to achieve that and then how many customers you will need in order to take that many demos. Now, compare that to your last three months, can you get to where you want with your current average number of opportunities? Chances are, no. Where will you find the customers to fill the gap? Remember what I said just a few sentences ago, there’s an app for that! Look to your CRM, follow up with unsold customers, sold customers and keep on it until you think you can’t work your customers base anymore and then…. You guessed it, keep working it! Once you make a commitment to yourself that you won’t settle for anything less than your very best it’s amazing how many deals start presenting themselves to you but you can’t half ass it you need to seriously get into your CRM and make it work FOR you! Go on, get started, until you open up that app it aint gonna do a thing! Have a great week and ‘Sell Something’!
If you take the C out of closer what you really have is loser! Closing in my opinion is in fact, for losers....
Now before you prepare your letter bomb or nasty comments for the flaming thread that is sure to follow, allow me to elaborate…. Back when I got started the prevailing wisdom went something like "the sale doesn't begin until the 5th to 7th time you hear the word no...." and I focused much of my time early on in learning as much about 'closing' as I could, reading books and listening to every sales manager I could 'close' deals. As I grew in my own sales experience I discovered that the more I invested in the initial stages of the customer interaction the less I had to rely on my closing ability. When I became a Sales Manager with my first team I focused most of our training and preparation for the ‘Meet and Greet, Show and Tell’ portion of the sale and very little on the ‘write up’ as I knew the best way to overcome objections was to not have them and the best way to ensure there were few if any was with a strong presentation and demonstration. Over the years I have seen a fundamental shift in the employees that are coming into the business and especially after the recent tough economic times folks starting off in sales have a real lack of understanding of the importance of customer service and lean more and more on the strong closing skills touted by the big name trainers like Grant. It seems like as soon as new salespeople get finished with their new hire paperwork they want to skip right to learning how to work the deal like a 'closer', and unfortunately many, MANY dealership leaders are all to willing to start showing them how to overcome objections and hard close customers. The art of the customer qualification (no, not ‘hows your credit’ either!) has become thing of the old days of selling as many salespeople assume the customers have done their research and are ready to get down to business working the numbers. My focus with new people, and even the seasoned folks who have fallen into the trap, is to re-enforce the importance of the critical wants and needs analysis portion of the initial meet and greet stage, and the effective demonstration of the product based on the information gathered. In other words: "Spend two hours on the lot and the write up will take 15 minutes, OR... spend 15 minutes on the lot and the write up negotiation) will take two hours or more and end with the salesperson begging the customer to buy at a discounted price/payment"
Closing becomes crucial when the salesperson hasn’t done his job thoroughly, it’s as simple as that. If the salesperson asks the right questions, listens effectively and then demonstrates how his product best meets the wants and needs of the customer he doesn’t have to close, the customer sees value and agrees to the purchase. That’s not to say there is no negotiation required and that all customers simply lay down for the deal, I’m simply stating that I am convinced that the more focus we put on the initial stages of the sales process when training, the less we have to train the 'close'.
Not the most popular way of thinking with the old school car dawgs I have engaged with however I have seen great results in my own staff here at my store now and at many stores I have trained at. Thoughts? Let me know your perspective in the comments, good or bad lets have some discussion!
Recently I had the privilege of sitting in on an awesome discussion with the incredible Rebecca Chernek and Patrick Antrim of Careersinauto.com about Rebecca's awesome Finance Training and mastering menu sales. Rebecca is training todays leaders to become tomorrows legends and she is someone I follow closely and admire greatly! Whether you are working in the F&I Office or not its a great watch for all Car Pros!
I have been thinking a lot lately about how many way I find myself using the phrase 'Go Slow To Go Fast' around the dealership and was thinking it could be the subject of a discussion.
A few ways I use it:
In hiring new staff, by slowing down the training process to be more fully comprehensive and not simply focused on showing a new salesperson how to write up a customer we can go father toward fully maximizing their potential career in sales, ie value to themselves and the dealer.
When training new staff, skipping steps to try and 'get right to the sale' can actually make the process take longer and focus the customers attention on the wrong area.... the price. By going to fast the value may not be shown fully and the only way to make a deal is then by discounting...
When fact finding and investigating with a new customer, asking more questions than speaking can allows the customer to tell you, sometimes you even vaguely(!), how to sell them a car. By letting the customer speak it can help the closing process go faster and more smooth even though it may seem to take longer to get there...
In Contracts it can be frustrating to get all the to the end, when the customer has signed countless times and realize that the customers address doesnt show their apt #! Sure some of the forms you can hand write it on but not any of the DMV forms, now you look unprofessional by hand writing on a document AND its more time consuming to re-print forms!
There are many aspects to the phrase and it is one I find my self repeating numerous times daily!
My latest hang out with the always awesome Patrick Antrim, the Founder & CEO of CareersinAuto.com in which we talked about:
How to Start a Career in Auto Sales
What to Look for when Interviewing at Auto Dealerships
How to Ensure your Personal Success with Branding
How to Leverage your Network
Where to Discover Great Tips, Techniques, and Training
And Much Much More.
Its pretty cool to hear Patrick introduce me with the following:
"Mike Corerra is a "go to guy" and is seen as the expert in many areas. He's highly respected for his well-rounded knowledge of the auto industry, but best known for being the guy who leads, empowers and develops his people.
He has held positions as Internet Sales Director, Sales Manager, Social Media Manager,Fleet, Internet Sales, Sales Trainer, General Sales Manager for leading auto groups.
Mike has experience rebuilding an Internet Sales Department and Business Development Center
He has taken the lead on dealerships Social Media presence creating and maintaining a Google+, Twitter, Pinterest and Facebook, Instagram and other social platforms to drive sales."
The always awesome folks at CareersInAuto.com asked me to 'Hangout' with their founder Patrick Antrim and talk about Positivity in Leadership. Hadnt had the chance to do a hangout so I jumped at the chance, as most know I do love to talk about the car biz! Went really great foir about 20 minutes until there was a power outage down at their offices in Temecula! We may just do this on a regular basis and are working out the details so stay tuned as we go big time folks! :)
I talk and write a LOT about Positivity, for me its so much more than a word or mood its actually a way of life. When I am speaking to my team about how Positivity can increase their sales it’s easy to sometimes diminish the power of Positivity by simply saying, “ok Mike, I need to be positive I get it. But how does being in a good mood make the difference?” The answer is usually more than the person asking ever bargained for as its more of a full scale lecture! The simply break down though is that Positivity in selling is more than just a ‘good mood’; it is about believing fully in yourself, your process and your product. When you do you project a confident, positive image to your customers and they feel good about working with you. A good deal is not a number; it never has been and never will be. A good deal is a feeling, as the great Joe Verde puts it; “A good deal is a car you like, bought from some one you feel like you can trust at a payment you feel is fair”. With Positivity the sale is just easier from start to finish, believe it or not. Yes, there will still be objections to overcome and yes you will even encounter the occasional alligator of a customer once in a while but those things shouldn’t sway you from staying positive.
I read a great book some time ago from a trainer named Stephan Schiffman and in it he made a great reference to the Three C’s needed in sales; Confidence, Competence and Concern. I don’t remember his exact wording but I have shared his ideas and overtime enhanced the basic concept with my own input. I review the Three C's with many sales people when training them and its always great to review with even seasoned folks. With Positivity the Three C’s come naturally, here they are with description:
Confidence. Confidence says you can do what you say you can do with a strong enough feeling behind it that your customer believes in you. When you say your product can some thing better than another, it’s believable. When you say you can deliver it’s easy for your customer to accept that you can however, its critical to separate confidence from over-confidence! Over-confidence can bury you, it says you cant really back up your commitment but you will try to cover for it by promising even more.
Competence. Doing what you say you are going to do says you have competence. If you tell your customer you are going to get him floor mats next week, get him floor mats next week or you will appear incompetent. If you talk with a customer on the lot today and tell him you will call him tomorrow you have to do just that, if you call him the day after or even worse a few days later it just seems like you found someone more important to work with and your customer will turn off. Competence is following through on your commitments AND paying attention to the details.
Concern. If you understand you customer’s needs its possible to you show him that you are putting them first. That doesn’t mean you forget who you work for, it means that you understand that the best deal is the one that is right for your customer, their needs and their budget. That doesn’t mean a small deal either. In order for you to show your customer that their needs are important you first have to KNOW their needs! A long time ago a manager told me that a customer will tell you exactly how to close them if you will just ask them. He always reminded me that we have two ears and one mouth and they should be used in that proportion; ask the right questions and really listen to your customer and you will know how to make the sale easily and with less grind.
I could go on forever but the point really is simple, with Positivity the rest is easy! Have an awesome week ahead everyone and as always; Sell Something!
Hey there, I'm Mike theCarGuy and here are some of my thoughts about cars, the car business and sales! Take a look around, maybe you will learn something or at the very least find your self smiling, and if you do... leave me a comment so I know I at least did something right! Thanks for stoppin by...
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