Why Are My Sales Down This Month?
Many of my clients reported a record March. Some even reported their March sales were their highest single month ever. All were happy, some were even giddy.
Fast forward a few weeks…
Why are my sales down this month?
I write “yikes” because, of course, they should know. That is, if they knew why their sales were strong in March, they should be able to quickly pinpoint why they’re sluggish in April.
And therein lies the problem… and the solution.
For almost a decade, dealers enjoyed growing sales as the market grew. Most managers just rode the wave and had zero real clue why they were selling more. Of course, they assumed they were just that good – and their bonuses reflected that. When the market began to flatten, they scrambled, and they started pointing fingers.
Some hired outsiders to conduct event sales for their teams. Quick shot of units retailed.
Some paid for gimmicks to drive unqualified prospects to their floor in search of fabulous (often non-existent) prizes. Quick shot of Ups with some incremental units retailed.
Most just started throwing money at any vendor who used the words digital, proprietary, in-market, and A.I. in their sales pitch.
Of course, none of these tactics are a strategy, and none are sustainable over the long term.
Why are your sales down after such a spectacular month? There are plenty of reasons, though the two most common are not mutually exclusive:
- This could simply be what’s called regression to the mean. In other words, last month you were lucky. You enjoyed lots of good luck. This month you’re lucky too. You’re enjoying lots of bad luck. It happens; and it happens to great dealers too. The difference is, when great dealers are hit with a lot of bad luck, they still enjoy good results because their processes endure, and downward swings are minimized.
- You may have really pushed last month – ensured all Ups were recorded in the CRM and greeted by a manager. Your team “worked” for every deal and you saw every Up as a buyer. Then, after breaking your arms patting each other on the back for such a great month, everyone relaxed. You became satisfied. The single greatest difference between great dealers and those treading water is that great dealers are never satisfied. They celebrate for about ten minutes, and then they move on.
We know bad habits are created in good times; and in the car business, good times could mean a single month.
Process sells cars. Period. End of story.
Process, however, requires rules. Rules require consequences. Consequences mean accountability. Though accountability doesn’t mean punishment. It means accountability… always. In bad times and good.
Dealers growing market share don’t relax their accountability when times are good. And, because they don’t, they continue growing share when times are bad. They can pinpoint why their sales are a little sluggish this month because they know their floor traffic is down 3.2% and their lead-to-show ratio has slipped to 24%. They know which salesperson is struggling to get to the Write-Up and which one is failing to defend their prices on the lot.
They know this because they have processes, rules, consequences, and accountability; and they track and measure the important things to ensure they’re able to spot opportunities for improvement as the month, the week or even the day progresses.
In our current flat-to-down market: if you don’t know exactly what got you to the top, you won’t be enjoying the view for very long.
Predictably, your time up there is about two weeks…