Recently I was speaking in a sales meeting and was pointing out how as salespeople we seem to always know how to justify to other sales people why we weren’t able to close a deal. When one sales person asks another, “what happened with your customer” we know all the ways to make it ‘ok’ that no deal was made. Things like “they are in escrow right now, but they’ll be back”… or, “they had to run because the babysitter called”…. And even the old standby “they’re jus lookin”…… Usually the other sales person nods his head and then the discussion turns to how bad things are, customers are too smart, the economy is still bad, blah, blah blah blah… My question to the group was this; why do we let each other off so easily? What if we looked at the co-worker relationship more like a personal trainer at a fitness club, you know like a spotter at the gym? Can you EVER imagine a spotter leaning over you while you are lifting the bar on the bench press saying something like, “dude, its ok if you cant make it to ten, that’s a lot of weight and I’m not even sure I could lift it ten times so if you want to stop its cool”??? Or how about, “I see your arms are shaking a bit, you should stop man. You know you look good right now so working out more isn’t really necessary, go ahead and put it back on the rack, there’s always tomorrow…” You may say that it’s a spotter job to motivate and also be there in case something goes wrong and that as co-workers its not really our individual responsibility to look out of each other, help each other improve and push each other to greater heights. I would ask, REALLY? We all know the old saying, ‘we are only as strong as our weakest link” don’t we? We know that when the company does well it benefits each of the team members as well, so why WOULDN’T we take it as our own responsibility to encourage, motivate and push each other to try harder, stick with it longer and ask for help when needed? When a salesperson walks back to ‘the circle’ with his head hanging low why not ask what happened with the intent of offering some assistance like, “I had a customer say that once, and I said this in response and it helped them make a decision to buy, maybe you should try that next time”. Maybe offer to role play a bit or even ask the group as a whole what they would have said and make it a positive discussion that gets everyone involved and as a result everyone’s head really in the game and more prepared for the next guest that walks in. As a manager it’s the same thing, review with your salesperson where the process stalled and help your staff learn from it, learn ways to keep it from stalling the next time and become a better, more prepared salesperson in the process. The reality is that there are enough car deals to go around, there really is, so there is no reason for us to not want our co-workers to be great. Watching a fellow salesperson struggle and not reaching out a hand to help does not mean more deals for you, it really means that there will be less deals for the group as a whole. When we truly consider ourselves a team, the idea of being each others ‘spotter’ makes perfect sense. Get out there and be a great spotter for your team, and until next time; Sell Something!
Car sales CAN be a career!
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 :)
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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