How to Be a Sales Superstar: Mark Tewart’s Proven Four P’s Method for Training Your Staff

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We recently welcomed back Mark Tewart to the CBT Studios. Mark is president of Tewart Enterprises, best-selling author of How to Be a Sales Superstar, and host of On The Mark right here on the CBT Network. In this segment, Mark discussed the importance of consistent training, effective hiring strategies, and what dealers should be focusing on in the second half of 2019.

Mark TewartVIDEO TRANSCRIPT: 

Jim Fitzpatrick:
Hi everyone, I’m Jim Fitzpatrick. Thanks so much for joining us on another edition of CBT News. Today, we’re so delighted to have Mr. Mark Tewart here in the house in our studios. He is usually criss-crossing the country somewhere, helping dealers add to their bottom line. As you know, Mark is also the host of On the Mark with Mark Tewart, here on the CBT Automotive Network. We’re so proud of that show. You’ve been doing it now for what, two, three years, right?

Jim Fitzpatrick:
At least, at least. Great. Well, we get such great feedback when you’re on and the show does very, very well. Let’s kind of drill down here because you do have your hand on the pulse of the retail automotive industry. What should dealers focus on, in your opinion, for the second half of 2019? We kind of got through the first half, and we had some ups and downs, but it looks like there might be some headwinds, some challenges for the second half. Talk to us about that and what you think dealers really need to focus on.

Mark Tewart:
I always tell my clients, just to break it down very simply, the old four piece, people, process, product, and positioning. You can’t do anything without great people, so really, really focus on more ways in different areas to get good people. Then, once you have them, how do you onboard them? What do you do to grow them?

Mark Tewart:
Then, your processes, make them tight. Everything you do, sales process, deal process, how you get your cars ready. Everything should be overprocessed and written down. Product, that’s going to be big.

Mark Tewart:
If we do hit headwinds, where a dealer can lose a lot of money and profit very quickly is in the wrong product, get your product clean. Create a process that eliminates overaging and systemically finds out why you had overaging and get rid of that. Inventory is going to be huge, especially interest rates at a period rose and all of a sudden dealers were like, “Wow, now I’ve floor plan expense that’s way more than what I’ve seen in years-

Jim Fitzpatrick:
That’s right.

Mark Tewart:
And it’s crushing me. It takes your bottom line overnight.

Jim Fitzpatrick:
That’s right.

Mark Tewart:
Positioning, not so much whether it’s digital or conventional, getting clear on what your position is versus your competition. If anybody should buy, why should they buy from you? Specific, be very specific on your “why buy here?” and your position.

Jim Fitzpatrick:
Right, sure. Let’s drill down on the people. We’re in a very tight market right now for human capital because unemployment is so incredibly low, record lows. Many dealers that we talk to will say, “That is our greatest challenge is getting people”, and then if you add the word “good people” to that, it makes it even that much more difficult. It’s kind of like we’re… we talked to somebody else that said they’d get back to the old world so they can fog a mirror then they’ve got the job, but we really need to have at least bodies on the showroom floor taking care of the customers that are coming in because the economy is still good and business is still good, but it’s so hard to get that good, quality candidate that walks in the door.

Jim Fitzpatrick:
Any recommendations on that?

Mark Tewart:
First of all, eliminate the word “bodies”. I don’t want bodies, I’d rather have four good people than 12 and eight of them are bad. Take the position that you can, but is it going to be a bigger challenge and you have to do more things and you have to do it every single day? You have to go to your own database, email them two or three times a year or ask. You have to go out in the community and ask. You have to get people that supply all kinds of businesses with people. It could be a labor force of some sort. You have to ask for referrals. You have to have a built-in referral system.

Mark Tewart:
Pharmaceutical industry, they’ll pay 5 or $10,000-

Jim Fitzpatrick:
I know.

Mark Tewart:
As a referral and you say, “Well, that’s too much.” How much does it cost you to have the wrong person?

Jim Fitzpatrick:
I know.

Mark Tewart:
You have to [crosstalk 00:03:48]-

Jim Fitzpatrick:
Or the right person?

Mark Tewart:
You have to do it out of want, not need. You can no longer wait until you’re three deep. Think about this. If a Super Bowl team wins, they don’t say, “We don’t have to do the draft this year because we won the Super Bowl.” You’re always constantly [crosstalk 00:04:01]-

Jim Fitzpatrick:
That’s right.

Mark Tewart:
Everyday finding five, six, seven ways-

Jim Fitzpatrick:
That’s right.

Mark Tewart:
Then, onboard them. Why? If you have a Millennial that doesn’t know what to do, they quit the first day, so you have to hold their hand. Now, that’s not all Millennials, that’s not a disparaging thing. I think all people want to know who, what, when, where, how, why of their job, so the onboarding process needs to be more specific, written down, go after it in more detail than you ever have before, a month, two months on what somebody is going to do until they can do it on their own and then guide them. Coach, counsel, cut. Coach them to be better. Counsel them to get better, and if it doesn’t work out, then you got to cut them, but you’re-

Jim Fitzpatrick:
How long do you give them [crosstalk 00:04:38]-

Mark Tewart:
You got to spend more time.

Jim Fitzpatrick:
How long do you give a new hire that comes into your dealership that’s never sold vehicles before? They come in and say, “Well, I worked at Best Buy”, or, “I worked as a bartender”, or, “I just graduated college.” How long do you give that individual before you say, “Hey, the car business isn’t right for you”? “All you’re selling is four or five cars a month. It’s killing us. You got to go on.” A, what has to happen before that conversation from the dealer’s perspective? How long do you give somebody? Is it 90 days? Is it six months? Is it a year?

Mark Tewart:
There is no set time, Jim. You really have to look at the individual. In the Bible it says, “You move towards me, I’ll move towards you”, I use that analogy. If I see somebody pouring their heart into it, they’re self-educating, they’re working on their peak performance and their self-improvement, they’re working hard and taking action, I’ll stick with that person longer because, you know what I can’t coach? I can’t coach effort.

Jim Fitzpatrick:
That’s true.

Mark Tewart:
I can’t put in what God left out. They’ve got it, I can help them grow what they do with that effort and make them better and coach. If I don’t see the effort, I sit down and I counsel them and then I cut them, but we use to say… there was a terminology that I’ve said before. I don’t believe it’s quite 100% anymore. Take your time and hire somebody, I understand that, but fire them fast. I don’t think the fire fast is a steadfast rule anymore. Work with somebody through their efforts and make it better, and if not, then you got to go look for somebody else. Don’t make excuses, just use the coach, counsel, cut. If you hire somebody, give them everything you’ve got in the coaching part of it and the counseling before you cut them. Give them everything. You owe it to them.

Jim Fitzpatrick:
Let’s switch gears a little bit and talk about turnover, obviously, where 70-plus percent continues to haunt us in the car business. What are some of the things that we have to do to bring that turnover down? I know we touched on a few of them, talking about the sales department, but if you were a dealer today and it was Mark Tewart Automotive Group and you were running at 70%, what would you tell your generals to do to bring that number down?

Mark Tewart:
First of all, this may sound weird coming from somebody who’s done a lot of sales training, I would not keep butting my head up against a wall if you’re having the same results and change. I believe more and more and more dealers, and I’m seeing it every day, will go to a more limited sales role of a product specialist. I have clients doing this. You can teach about anybody to do three things really well. It’s really hard to find the person that’s talented and has enough self-investment of their time to do all the things that a great salesperson does, but if I can get somebody to greet a customer, present and demonstrate, maybe do an initial writeup and they’re a product specialist and you have more of a team to support that, you’ll see more and more segmentation.

Mark Tewart:
Some people are saying, “Well, I’m going to have one person do everything”, rarely is that successful. I’ve had clients do it, but rarely is it successful. Now, if I limit the role of a salesperson, I pay them differently, I have different hours, I have a different culture and environment, I have different ways that I reward them, you have a better chance. The big thing, onboard, onboard, onboard. You get somebody, invest the time rather than just letting them go and say, “Go sell something.” Never worked, it doesn’t work now. It’s a stain on all of us-

Mark Tewart:
Should take responsibility and say, “We’re embarrassed, we’re embarrassed.” You know what’s going to happen?

Mark Tewart:
The Amazons and the others are going to come into this environment and they’re going to spin it upside down and change our environment because we allowed it to happen. It will be our own fault.

Jim Fitzpatrick:
Well, talk to any dealer that has a CarMax in their market and ask them, “Where do those used car sales go?” “They went down to CarMax.” “Well, why did they go to CarMax?” “The way the customer is treated down there.” Of course, there’s a one-price element to it, but nobody that sells at CarMax today goes on the showroom floor without at least a 30-day heavy, hardcore training program that’s underneath them. That foundational training, and so much of it is spent on customer service and how to take care of the customers and less about price because of the one-price structure. We don’t do that in the typical, traditional retail side of the business, do we?

Mark Tewart:
No, and as a matter of fact, to give you an idea, I was really the first in this industry to have online training way back when. You know what? I’m going to tell you, that alone is not the solution-

Jim Fitzpatrick:
No, right.

Mark Tewart:
Even though I sell online training.

Jim Fitzpatrick:
No, I know.

Mark Tewart:
It’s just part of it. If you’re not physically invested, mentally invested with your people, if not every day, every other day in some type and aspect of growing somebody, that is the number one thing you do as a leader is grow people.

Jim Fitzpatrick:
That’s right, and for sales managers out there that think they’re funny when somebody comes out of training and you say, “Now, forget everything that those guys just showed you, here, I’m going to show you the real business”, it’s not funny, don’t do it. It hurts that individual because it undermines the training that they were believing in when they were taking it during the three days or a week or two weeks, whatever you had them in there. Support the training. In fact, how many times have you spoken to a sales manager that has never been exposed to the training that the salespeople are exposed to?

Mark Tewart:
We won’t do that. As a matter of fact, we will not work with a group that won’t allow us to also work with the leaders and managers.

Jim Fitzpatrick:
That’s great policy.

Mark Tewart:
If you don’t train with managers in leadership, you’re kidding yourself.

Jim Fitzpatrick:
That’s right, that’s right. I [crosstalk 00:09:56]-

Mark Tewart:
They have to not only be exposed to what the salespeople in any other department, BDC, internet service, but they also have to learn leadership and management processes. They have to learn more in-depth about the four P’s. That’s the first place you start.

Jim Fitzpatrick:
That’s right, that’s right. Let’s touch on what the role of a salesperson looks like in the digital retailing that it looks like the industry is headed for.

Mark Tewart:
I believe it will be more of a limited role for a lot of the dealerships, not all, and that doesn’t make it the right way, but for a lot of stores it will be because it will be an avenue for success. They’ll be able to recruit people. Why is it that Apple, or Enterprise Rental Cars is the best example, they recruit college kids-

Jim Fitzpatrick:
I know.

Mark Tewart:
They dress the same way, they look the same-

Jim Fitzpatrick:
I know.

Mark Tewart:
Way, they talk-

Jim Fitzpatrick:
I know.

Mark Tewart:
The same way [crosstalk 00:10:39]-

Jim Fitzpatrick:
White shirt [crosstalk 00:10:39]-

Mark Tewart:
They’re really good [crosstalk 00:10:40]-

Jim Fitzpatrick:
Conservative tie, they’re ready to go.

Mark Tewart:
Two years later, they either advance or they’re gone.

Jim Fitzpatrick:
That’s right.

Mark Tewart:
70% of them leave after two years. We’d be happy with two years right now.

Jim Fitzpatrick:
I know, I know.

Mark Tewart:
The 30% that stayed do really well. They go to where they believe they can recruit people. They sell themselves and then they give them a good onboarding process. They give them a way for the future and they do the things that we’re not doing. We’re making excuses right now and there are no excuses. You either win… you choose to win, you choose to lose. If you say, “I can’t get good people”, you’re done. Sell your dealership. You can, but you got to change the environment. You got to change the pay, the job description. You got to change. If it doesn’t work for you and you want people that do everything, follow up, do the job that I used to do, you got to pay more. You got to give them better hours. You got to do something more.

Jim Fitzpatrick:
That’s right.

Mark Tewart:
The pharmaceutical industry is an example. Goes out and they hire very highly-educated people and they pay them a tremendous amount of money to do things, but they do it all and if they don’t, you know what? Then they get rid of them.

Jim Fitzpatrick:
That’s right. That’s [crosstalk 00:11:44]-

Mark Tewart:
You got to recruit a better breed of cat, or you got to change the job.

Jim Fitzpatrick:
That’s right. Well, Mark Tewart, I want to thank you so much for joining us on CBT News. It’s always a pleasure and-

Mark Tewart:
Thank you.

Jim Fitzpatrick:
You’re knocking the cover off the ball with your show, so we thank you for that as well.

Mark Tewart:
Thank you so much.

Jim Fitzpatrick:
Thanks.

CBT Automotive Network, the number one most-watched network in retail automotive. This has been a JBF Business Media Production.

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