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Fact: When all of your variable staff embraces and lives out this strategy every day, well, there is just "no stopping that freight train". In fact, it’s a force so strong that when any customer continues to call, email or visit other dealerships, the “theory of contrast” is very much in play.
We simply need to make sure that all on the team, including managers, never lose the spirit nor their enthusiasm due to what things look like on the surface. You may have a level of comfort with all on the team giving every guest their best, but I do recommend you assess whether it is done 100% of the time by 100% of the staff.
You, as a dealer or manager can drive this concept into your culture like a wedge. By doing so, you will close more first time guests, create future return traffic like you have never experienced before (with excellent follow-up), and will (of course) create more front and back gross in the process. Period. End of story (well, actually I’m not quite through!).
I am certainly empathetic to the challenges and frustrations that salespeople and managers routinely encounter. They are constantly trying to work through credit-challenged customers, negative equity scenarios, unrealistic and sometimes rude customers, and of course all else that they face every day. Yet if I am not mistaken, that is everyday life in the car business, and part of why it can pay so well!
Another reality is salespeople are more prone to stay pro-active in their follow-up efforts when they know they have performed well and made a fantastic impression on the showroom guest.
Face it…the dealership that allows salespeople and managers the opportunity to provide for their families deserves nothing less than the employees very best efforts every time, no exceptions. When a customer gives them the chance to structure a deal, or simply needs preliminary information while in their research phase, salespeople should focus on providing thorough, courteous and professional treatment…100% of the time. When this is the case, this is the store that takes most customers further down the road to the sale than the average or less-committed employee takes that same customer.
This means: No longer can a salesperson go to the desk trying to sell the manager on the reasons to cut the visit short. Nor can we have managers expressing with body language and/or with word, that the salesperson has been foolish in spending so much time with a non-(today) buyer. We are investing time and effort, not sacrificing it.
Remember, the less apt they are to close now, the more motivation we should have to give it our absolute all! Every customer deserves:
• Effective counseling and interviewing prior to selection, minimally prior to desking the deal
• Impressive Feature/Benefit Walk-around presentations…like no one else can or will
• Effective test drives (20-30 minutes and making it “work” for the cause)
• Consistent trade walks (with the customer present) prior to discussing figures (potentially earning some flexibility on what the customer will be willing to accept for their trade)
• Service “Value” Walk prior to discussing figures (sell the value of the dealership, it matters). Do this even if figures are not being discussed during a particular visit
• A proper and timely T.O. with every customer
• Quality and timely follow-up, not just for the warmest of opportunities
Someone (the dealer) has paid money for every guest that calls, emails and enters our environment. If you didn’t pay it, you shouldn’t get to take shortcuts. The 70-80% of customers who leave without buying (this time) should leave thinking “Wow, when I get closer to actually buying, I want to go back there!”
In our business, we don’t sell a high percentage of those who initially call or come in, but always remember that the dealership’s image is always on the line and we need to be constantly earning the return visits, as well as all of the profit that is possible on the sales that we do make.
At the end of each day, every salesperson and manager should take pride in their contribution of 100/100/100%. This is a huge determining factor in their long term success, as well as that of their employer.
Below is a good flyer to post in the conference room:
Thank you and remember… I invite your call should you desire a chat.
The Mar-Kee Group
The Mar-Kee Group is proud to celebrate 20 years of outstanding Sales, Service, and Management Training.
1996 was the year we rolled the dice. Thank goodness we didn’t know all that we would be up against, which we now know was a blessing, or we may never have powered forward.
The first time David and I walked into our newly leased empty building, he remembers the first thing I said, and it echoed…”How long did we lease this place for?”
I want to give a quick mention of our background. David was the corporate recruiter and trainer for a seven franchise dealer group, and I was the general manager of the Honda store. We had many discussions for a year or so regarding the possibility of starting a training company.
Well, the dealership owner informed me one day that he had sold the Honda store and if I didn’t mind, would I keep everything together, produce in the interim, keep everyone’s spirits up, oh, and please liquidate the pre-owned inventory as quickly as I could, and while doing so please be a good steward of his money.
I’m not the most educated guy in the world, but I am loyal and had a good bit of pride in what we had built over the previous years. Stay I did, and 90 days later I did the walk-through of the store with the new dealer and management team. What a blessing in disguise. Here I sit writing about The Mar-Kee Group’s 20 year anniversary!
I’ll never forget the statement the dealer’s son made in the walk-through of the facility. He stated that the first thing they were going to do was get rid of that leasing crap we had been doing. We had gone from 10% lease penetration, to 49.8% with an average of a 30 month term, and loving the short cycle return business. Anyway, the next day we opened the new, vacant office of The Mar-Kee Group.
David and I spent the next few years building the Success - One Idea at a Time program. This became a 64 VHS tape, 244 brief video sales training library, and we also began doing a good bit of in-dealership sales and management training.
In 2005, much earlier than dealers were ready to make the paradigm shift, we began building and offering the online program, eAutotraining.
I am incredibly proud of my partner, David Martin, and his accomplishments with over 10 NADA speaking appearances, and a great many Australian Key Note appearances. He has delivered our message in an extraordinary fashion and we are both proud of what we have provided to so many front line salespeople, who too often are left to survive and thrive on their own merits.
From my humble beginnings as a salesperson for three years, and then given the opportunity to perform at every variable management position over a period of nineteen years, to then go on to partner in building a training company where so many have given their trust and put their confidence in, well, I do take some pride in that.
First and foremost, we were not generic trainers trying to figure out the car business. We were car guys, with torn tee shirts, getting into the training business. One thing about car people, they know if you know or not, if you’ve paid your dues. They know immediately if you have real solutions for the things that take place every day in the dealership world. With that in mind, our business approach delivers the messages in brief segments, incorporates role play, and provides printed course materials along with testing.
Another way that we have been able to remain relevant is the fact that we never stop revising and adding the most up-to-date information for our valued clients. Also part of the successful business partnership is mutual respect and the balance we bring to the table.
In closing, I will say that a lot has transpired over the 20 year journey….from VHS, to DVD, to online training. A few times we, along with the rest of the world, have weathered some economic storms, yet keep coming out on the other side, powering through and staying excited about helping others put “The Art of Selling” back into the dealership.
The Mar-Kee Group
It bothers me to see parents teaching their kids that it’s okay to break the law, to mostly adhere to the laws and rules that they agree with. Let me explain. I live in a neighborhood that has expanded over time, and it became necessary to have stop signs placed right in front of my house, plus a few up and down the street. I have heard comments from people in the neighborhood that the signs are unnecessary and ridiculous.
Every day I see people roll through the signs, sometimes at a reduced speed, and then some who barely brake at all. I think about their audience, the kids in the car, many on their way to and from school (Get the irony? “School’s always in session!”).
What behavior is being formed by example? A "green light" to run the stop sign. Yet it is also forming a way of thinking about rules and policies that will make a difference in their lives, both personally and professionally.
1. Stay committed to the sales process and avoid short cuts. Managers instruct about the benefits and responsibility regarding the full sales process and building maximum value prior to a proposal. However, on occasion they may speed through some deals, which waters down the 100% commitment to the sales process we talk about in the meetings.
2. Profanity. Enough said here.
3. Avoid negative comments about other employees, customers or supervisors.
4. Be aware of your treatment of other employees in every department.
5. Show dignity and respect to those sales members who are struggling, as well as those experiencing other issues that are proven obstacles to the purchasing mission.
6. Don’t only focus on hot prospects. Be aware of giving little thought to the ongoing follow-up of all internet leads, calls and showroom guests. Of the 80% who don’t close right now, nearly 100% will buy multiple vehicles in the future, and they can influence where others shop. It’s just too short-sighted to think only of right now. That’s too first grade, "they built those school desks small for a reason—so we don’t fit in them later in life.
7. Be early for work.
8. Open the door for others. In addition, if you get the opportunity, show others the importance of escorting a guest to their destination, instead of simply pointing.
9. Be professional and polite in how you answer all calls. “Thank you for holding; this is ________________.” That sounds personable and professional. If you sound disappointed, interrupted, chaotic and just too busy to take a call, both with internal and external calls, then you’re saying it’s okay to be that way.
10. Stay off of social media at work.
11. Dress for success. I know a GM that told one of our employees that one of the last things he does every Sunday is shine his shoes. I worked with this gentleman thirty years ago, and he has always dressed for success.
12. Keep the facility clean. People need to see you taking care of the facility.
13. Eat smart. This includes the quick during-the-day snacks.
14. Be an expert at all of the skills at which you expect your salespeople to excel. Examples: phone scripts, objection handling techniques, counseling with customers before vehicle selection, consumer lease presentations, and the dozens of other areas that are great for the cause.
Bottom line, you are in the driver’s seat.
As a sales leader, make certain that your examples are the most valuable thing your people will experience.
For more information on sales management training, please contact us for details. Check out our newly launched 90-Day Boot Camp for your sales and service team. Dramatically change how your underachievers perform!
Visit our website for more information, or call 888-300-4629.
The Mar-Kee Group
Well, you know it’s inevitable. Eventually some in your dealership will leave, either voluntarily or involuntarily, but will exit nonetheless. Instead of just allowing people to ride off into the sunset, why not invest 5 to 10 minutes with them on the off-chance that you could learn a little something? You may be surprised at how many people with experience in your workplace possess valuable information that you could put to good use.
This is important because another reason to incorporate exit interviews is to increase the chance of ending on a good note with the person leaving. Remember, they’re consumers too!
1. Take time to review the exit interview form. The first thing on it is the employee’s reason for leaving. You really don’t want to spend a lot of time here but it’s good for the company records, nonetheless.
2. Ask the employee how can customer satisfaction be improved? To trigger some input you may have to give a few examples and remind them it’s not just in the department they worked in.
3. Ask the employee how can employee satisfaction be improved? This may trigger discussion on employee treatment, training issues, quicker deliveries, pay plans, support from service and an assortment of other comments that you can filter through later. Remember, when you want more information, ask them to expand on or clarify why they feel this way.
4. Ask the employee how can profitability be improved? That is – any suggestions they may have that could generate income and or control expenses.
5. Ask the employee what’s their take on the overall dealership image & ask for suggestions. Ask them to identify pros and cons of working for your company. This will reveal areas you are doing well in and uncover needed improvements, if applicable.
Most of the time, the General Manager or Dealer would handle the sessions. However in the event they are not available or hey, maybe they were the problem; you will want Plan B in place. Plan B must be a qualified manager or two who understands the true importance and purpose to execute this meeting as designed.
Preface all meetings with a statement like: “Tom, we are always looking for ways to improve our operation and we value your opinions. This should only take 5 to 10 minutes and we would like for you to be candid and share your viewpoint in a few areas”. Then proceed using your form. You don’t want to rush through this, but anything over 5 to 10 minutes is probably overkill. Sometimes you may need to let them off the hook by saying that if they can’t think of anything right now, to please feel free to keep a copy of the form and email or mail it back after they have had a chance to think about their answers.
With these exit interviews, some will complain, some will provide valuable insight, and on occasion, you’ll get some real doozies. Sometimes you will discover some perceptions that may be shared by other employees that you can act on. Exit interviews can uncover extremely valuable information so don’t overlook this 5 to10 minute opportunity to strengthen your dealership. I used this when I was a GM. It captured some great ideas and indeed many employees exited on a more favorable note.
Customers looking to buy a new or pre-owned vehicle will always be looking to get the best deal. It’s hardwired in most of us to attempt negotiations. Where you end up, if you get the deal, and how good the customer feels about it is dependent on the salesperson knowing something acceptable and convincing to say next.
Whether you use this up front (before the initial proposal) or in response to a request for additional concessions, it’s one of the best ways to “pass the test” when a customer wants to make sure they aren’t leaving money on the table. Mastering the art of replying with the best acceptable responses to price objections has never been more important than today.
Train your team on this strategy and continue to discuss until all have this down to an art form where it’s simply a conversation taking place. Understand that if some are not prepared to handle price objections professionally, they will continue to react instead of respond, losing deal momentum and selling you on cutting the deal more!
Many times, the opportunity to sell a customer originated from their internet research, where they discovered you had a vehicle they want and at an acceptable price. However, this will not keep most of them from wanting an additional discount. It’s the old psychological reality of, “If this is what they are asking, then I want to start the deal from there.”
When a customer sees something in writing, it tends to be a bit more convincing. A visual backup validates things as more factual, as opposed to a verbal response only. We recommend the following script be on a professional document and are happy to provide one customized for your dealership.
(See script and visual tool below.)
Utilize the original MSRP as you begin your conversations with a customer and while presenting the vehicle. This falls right into the concept of “Theory of Contrast”. This is another opportunity for you to be pro-active in eliminating or minimizing some of the customer’s intentions of getting a lower price. Obviously, the objective here is for them to feel even better about their investment and to lessen the chance they have additional illusions of “savingsdeur”.
Example discussion: “Mr/Mrs __________, the original MSRP, or price of your vehicle when it was new was $36,800, and at $36,800 it was a great value. Let me share what the original owner received for $36,800, and what you’ll be getting even though your investment is only $24,900.”
Most customers need some assurance that they are indeed saving a significant amount of money looking at Pre-owned, which tends to validate the wisdom in their purchase strategy.
As mentioned above, we are very motivated to help your dealership customize these strategies into your own words and professional documents. As leaders in Automotive, Boat and RV sales training, The Mar-Kee Group takes every effort to ensure our clients and their employees are confident and empowered by the tools we offer. Ultimately, it means happier customers that return time and again to your dealership, increased overall sales, and boosted morale for your sales team. A win-win-win for everyone involved! Contact us with any questions or for more information on our sales training courses and strategies.
The Mar-Kee Group
The Mar-Kee Group is proud to celebrate 20 years of outstanding Sales, Service, and Management Training.
Though so much of the communication these days seems to be in the form of email and texting, we must not forget to pick up the phone. I catch myself sometimes starting an email when a phone call would be far more personal and helpful. Wow, a good old fashioned phone chat.
It is human nature for many salespeople to avoid direct communication with the customer. They think the customer would prefer electronic communication, or face it, some on staff may even have caller-reluctance.
With that being said, the subject today is "Voice Mail." You may remember the Seinfeld show when George left a horrific voice mail and was trying to figure out how to scale a wall or whatever it took in order to retrieve the message. Once it's gone, it's gone.
There are many reasons for a follow-up call. I'm willing to bet there are some on staff that could benefit greatly with some script options for the cause.
The objective is to make sure some aren't "winging it" and causing a detrimental result.
"Mr./Mrs. _____ this is _____ with (____________) and I wanted to thank you again for allowing us to serve you. Please don't hesitate to call us if we can help in any way because our mission is to keep you 100% satisfied with your vehicle and of course with our dealership as well. Remember, after a few days it is very common for people to have a question or two regarding the vehicle and I invite your call or you can simply stop back by for assistance. Have a fabulous Day/Evening. Goodbye."
"Mr./Mrs. _____. This is _____ with (Dealership) and I wanted to thank you again for allowing us to serve you. Please don't hesitate to call us if we can help in any way. Congratulations again on your new vehicle and please know that all of us at (Dealership) really appreciate your business. Call me anytime. Have a fabulous Day/Evening. Goodbye."
"Mr./Mrs. _____ this is _____ with(________________). I just wanted to say it was a pleasure meeting you and we appreciate your stopping in (or calling) our store. We hope to help you further with your vehicle needs so please don't hesitate to call me for more information or if the kind of vehicle you are looking for has changed. Have a fabulous Day/Evening. Goodbye."
"Mr./Mrs. _____. This is _____ with (Dealership). I just wanted to say I very much enjoyed meeting you and hope to help you further with your vehicle needs. Please don't hesitate to call me for more information and especially if the type of vehicle you are interested changes so I can assist you there as well. Have a fabulous Day/Evening. Goodbye."
Need more phone sales tips? Call The Mar-Kee Group for a free consultation.
The Mar-Kee Group
Decide if you need to change your business in a "major" way. Could this be just the "Game Changer" that you need? What should be included in a strong follow-up regimen for a sold (and non-sold) customer?
What's your follow up strategy?
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