When it comes to marketing, there are many ingrained rules that people and management follow. We’re all familiar with the real estate motto, “Location, location, location,” as well as the golden principle of sales, “the customer is always right.”
For the most part, we follow these assertions because they make logical sense. In fact, sales are generally a realm of logic. While there is a nod to the human element, the reality is even when interacting with people, dealerships rely much more heavily on logic than one might think. Companies will use colors that have been scientifically proven to entice. Marketing strategies will be run through focus groups before being implemented.
This isn’t usually a terrible thing. The reason why we use logic is that it often works and works well. However, following logic too religiously could end up backfiring. Logic is not foolproof. When blindly following logic, we can miss other, more creative possibilities. Marriage to logic makes us less inclined to take risks and can therefore inadvertently lead to lost opportunities or limited growth. So though you should still pay attention to logic, there are benefits to allowing for logic-free moments in your dealership practice.
How can you implement logic abandonment in a way that can effectively boost your management performance?
To start with, begin shifting your focus from customers and expand it to include your employees. It’s easy to get stuck in the rut of “The customer is always right” and forget that in the equation of sales there are two sides: the buyer and the seller. When looking logically at that equation, we assume that the focus should be on the receiving end, where the profits seem to lie. Therefore, all energies are placed on client-based sales techniques.
Instead, as a manager abandoning logic, look for ways to encourage your sales staff to think about themselves. Ask them what tools they would need to be effective salespeople. During brainstorming sessions, give them free reign to explore ideas. Rather than starting with a specific point, such as, “Foot traffic is down, how can we make it go up?” ask open-ended questions that place your salespeople at the center. Using the above example of wanting to bring in more people, you could ask your team, “What tools do we have right here that we’re not using?” Broader questions that focus on the people and resources you already possess should spur creativity much more than focus on the vague unknowns of clients yet to come.
Additionally, strengthen your team spirit. Often there’s so much emphasis on sales and the customer, that morale amongst the troops goes down. Your dealership is only as reliable as your sales team. Build time into your dealership’s work schedule for employee self-assessment. Have them examine themselves and their possibilities. Ask them to explore their emotional state. It could be there is something they are dealing with that is blocking them from reaching their full potential. Logically, you might be concerned that this is a waste of time which will eat into sales. However, by opening time for self-evaluation by employees, you’re investing in sales, since you’ll be able to pinpoint trouble spots and deal with them immediately, rather than letting obstacles to a productive salesforce be ignored, which can impact sales tremendously.
Finally, make your dealership’s culture one that values innovation over sales. While this seems to be illogical, it actually can bring in more sales than the traditional route. Customers are fickle and what is in fashion or desirable one day will quickly change. If you’re stuck on sales, you’ll never evaluate your approach. However, if your buzzword is innovation, you’ll welcome the flexibility that comes with trying new practices, making you more competitive in today’s market.
Though logic still has a place in sales and shouldn’t be entirely discounted, it is equally important to make room for ideas and management styles that fly in the face of logic. As managers, we need to welcome some disorder. And that starts with opening up to the possibility of different thinking and encouraging salespeople to think of themselves and for themselves.