January 2/9, 2017: Volume 31, Number 15
By Jim Augustus Armstrong
“I’m trying to implement improvements to my selling system,” a dealer I was coaching told me. “But I’m getting resistance from some members of my sales team. How can I get them on board?”
Many dealers can relate to this question. I get it most often when I’m helping them implement a more effective selling system. If you want to maximize your sales team’s success and get the greatest buy-in for your sales system, you have got to have three things in place: the tools to succeed, training on how to use the tools and accountability.
Tools to succeed. Have you ever told a salesperson you need them to close more sales, or they need to quote higher margins? And have you ever been frustrated because no matter how many times you tell them, they never seem to improve much? If so, it’s likely because you’re giving them the outcome you want but not the tools to achieve it. That’s like telling someone you want him to drive a nail into a two-by-four but neglecting to give them a hammer. If you want your team to close more sales and command higher margins, you have got to give them the right tool. In this case that means providing them with a selling system that positions them as trusted advisors, creates differentiation, eliminates price resistance and leads prospects on a logical, step-by-step process from shopper to buyer.
Here are some tips to help you implement this kind of system. First, write out your sales system using bullet points. If it’s not written down it’s not a system. Second, what happens in the first 60 seconds after a prospect walks in is critical, so carefully script this out. Third, develop a list of questions to ask prospects. Fourth, build in differentiators and trust builders that are done every time, like using testimonials, offering walk-ins a beverage menu, wearing shoe covers in the home, inspecting her vacuum, etc.
Training to use the tools. It’s not enough to have the tools in place; you have got to train your team on how to use them. I’ve worked with dealers who simply handed their team a sales form with a list of questions but didn’t train them on scripts, processes, etc. They then wondered why their “system” didn’t work. Training is key.
Accountability. Raising teenagers taught me it’s not what’s expected, it’s what’s inspected. This is good advice for salespeople, too. You have got to hold your team accountable to not only use the tools but to use them correctly. Accountability also includes recognizing and rewarding your team as they implement and succeed. I provide dealers with a turnkey sales process and teach them to publicly reward salespeople with a dinner gift card the first time they use it on a customer. Reward and recognize the behavior you want.
All three of these—tools, training and accountability—can be accomplished with a one-hour weekly sales training. During these trainings you can role play by having a salesperson play the customer and another “sell” to them. You can troubleshoot, cover different selling scenarios, reward and recognize their successes, and host contests.
This may seem like a lot of work, but consider the payoff. Let’s say your average ticket is $3,500 and you have four salespeople. By implementing a system like this, each team member should be able to close one extra sale each week, figuring conservatively. This equals an additional $14,000 per week, or $728,000 per year, without spending another dime on marketing. This makes your sales training easily the most profitable hour of your week.