Sell One Today
For many valid reasons (too many other duties, too many subordinates, wrong pay plan, etc.) and some invalid reasons (lazy, apathetic, schadenfreude – look it up), automotive sales managers often struggle to properly motivate their charges to reach stretch goals.
Of course, this should be their primary duty. That is, ensuring their salespeople maximize their true sales potential. Let’s see if this scenario sounds familiar to you:
- Salesperson sets a goal of 18 for this month after selling 17 last month.
- The salesperson is now left alone to sink or swim for the next 30 days.
- On the 15th of the month, the salesperson has 12 out.
- When the month ends, the salesperson sold between 16 and 18 units.
All this, despite the fact he or she was pacing 24+ at mid-month.
Rinse, lather, repeat.
One Small Change
Interestingly, with just one small change in the sales manager’s leadership approach, that salesperson would’ve sold 30. The one small change? Asking, “How can I help you sell one today?” and then, of course, acting on this.
The concept of ‘sell one today’ is not new. It’s how most automotive salespeople selling 30+ approach each day. They challenge themselves to sell one today.
For the 20-car (or worse) folks on your team, it’s up to you the sales manager to instill this in their daily routine. It’s also – and this is the most important part of driving sales success – squarely on your shoulders to help everyone on your team sell one today.
Sell One Today
This begins as soon as the salespeople arrive to start their shift. Don’t let them mill about for an hour; don’t’ wait for them to get in their groove; don’t let them join the vaping circle; don’t even let them get their coffee!
But Steve, I have a lot on my plate when I get to the dealership. It’s impossible for me to meet with the team until about 10 or 11!
Get there early. If you can’t get there early, then save the admin stuff for about ten minutes while you hold a quick meeting at the desk with all salespeople – yes, even the 30-car guys and gals. You only need to say one thing (and mean it) at this meeting:
“Everyone needs to sell one today – whatever it takes. After you’ve sold one, then your goal is to sell one more. After that, one more. The great news is that as soon as I finish (the morning paperwork/ordering cars/whatever), I’m going to help each of you sell one today. Now, go find that one sale you’re going to make today and invite them in for an appointment.”
Now we do a little something that’s been successful for about 50 years: MBWA – management by walking around. This means, when you’re done with whatever administrative duties you’re saddled with every morning, you get up and walk around.
You take a couple of minutes with each of your sellers – at their workstations – and you become a Show Me Leader:
YOU: “Do you have at least one sale planned for today?”
SALESPERSON: (It doesn’t matter what the salesperson replies.)
YOU: “Great! Show me.”
While not obvious at first, eventually your salespeople will know what “show me” means. If they just told you they can’t find any good prospects, they’ll show what they’ve been doing, and you’ll help them find someone to sell by pointing them in a new direction (database, internet lead, be-back, service drive, etc.).
If they just told you they’ve got an appointment scheduled for today, they’ll show this prospect. Congratulate them and then challenge them to set two more appointments. Also, tell this salesperson you’ll help them find these two additional prospects if they cannot.
Attitude and Activity
Congratulations! You’re now executing on the two most important factors that lead to automotive sales success: Attitude and Activity. Your attitude: that every salesperson can and should sell one today, is driving their activities. Additionally, you’ve instilled in them an attitude that they must sell one today.
The idea that I will sell one today is a powerful driver of success, and a much better goal than the one the salesperson set for themselves at the beginning of the month.
The result? Most of your team will sell one or more units today… and tomorrow… and the next day… and the next. Your 17-car seller with the 18-car goal will look up at the board on the last day of the month and see 31!
Their confidence and their attitude will improve alongside their paycheck. Their life will never be the same again – that is, as long as you continue to help them sell one today, of course.