How do you scale sales success? It’s one of the most common questions that sales managers ask themselves. You need your sales team to follow protocol, but you also want them to find their own unique voice. Ensuring each member of your team is successful might be difficult, but it certainly isn’t impossible.
Now, I think we can basically agree that there are savants out there. There are just some people who can sell you just about anything… no matter how mundane the product or service is.
Then, of course, you have those folks who reside somewhere in-between. They can’t convince an entire group of folks to buy a single toothpick, but their charm might help sell something of tangible value.
The typical mindset of most general managers is that these “non-savants” can become better, stronger sales people by being in the presence of these savants and observing them: watch how the savants greet in-store visitors, how they persuade them and ultimately, how they sell to them.
While this would seem like a highly logical move, it probably isn’t the best decision. An individual can only learn so much through observation. You need to be able to control one’s perspective.
Think of your top salesperson as your “Pablo Picasso.” Picasso was one of the most brilliant and influential artists of the 20th century. Sitting beside him for days would assist in some fundamentals but you would still never possess his unique perspective.
Even if your dealership doesn’t have the sales equivalent of a Pablo Picasso, chances are good that you have those one or two salespeople who are just amazing. Pairing new, inexperienced salespeople with your top performers isn’t going to make them any better because each of their perspectives is different.
As a general manager, you need to cater to the needs of both your less experience salespeople and your “savants” — and that means being aware of their unique perspectives.
For the new salespeople, you need to be able to “control their perspective,” in a way that allows them to learn basic fundamentals. Once they learn some basic principles, then they can go off on their own and hone their skill-set.
When I say “control their perspective,” I mean control the types of different scenarios they’re learning. The better equipped they are to control those scenarios, the clearer their sales processes will ultimately become, and the more cars they’ll be able to sell.
So, the question becomes, how do we scale Pablo Picasso?
Here’s a good example outside of an automotive dealership setting:
One of the more popular trends in recent years is a little something called “wine & canvas.” The basic concept is that folks get together in an art studio to enjoy some wine and learn to paint something on a canvas.
Not only is the experience meant to be a good time, but it’s supposed to give each participant a sense of accomplishment. The instructor taught everyone in a controlled environment how to make a specific work of art.
If the class has paid attention and done everything asked, they should have a beautiful piece of art to hang on their wall.
It’s the perfect example of controlling perspective to scale success. In this case, it’s scaled art. And after everyone has learned the different fundamentals, they can either return to class consistently for a new set of coached fundamentals or they can take what they have learned and go off to create their own works of art. Only a select few will be blossom to the level of designing their own canvas size and composition structure, but all still feel like artists.
This same concept of controlled perspective can definitely be applied to your sales team. In order to be successful, your sales team needs to first learn how to handle the most common showroom scenarios.
Once they know those scenarios and have experienced them, those sales team members can add their own unique flair.
Your top salespeople will occasionally seek out guidance from their sales managers, and it’s also their responsibility to cater to their needs. That being said, if those sales people have the fundamentals “down pat,” you or other sales managers can challenge them with more unusual scenarios.
So, what ARE the most common scenarios your team is likely to encounter? When you’re training a new staff member, conduct a role play discussion with these scenarios. While doing so, make sure you give them some generic talking points and answers to practice with — so they get used to engaging with consumers in those scenarios or in those stages of the funnel.
Before hitting the sales floor, you’ve likely noticed that many of your seasoned sales guys have challenged the new sales guy with the most difficult scenarios they’ve faced. While it’s definitely important to be prepared for just about anything, how often do these scenarios actually occur?
When coaching your more seasoned sales reps, makes sure they’re teaching newbies the most frequent scenarios versus the most complex.
Once they know how to simply talk to a prospective customer, they’ll have enough confidence to cater to other needs.
As you continue to grow and nurture your team, it’s important to remember that not every salesperson is going to be a Picasso. In you expect every salesperson to be a “sales Picasso,” you won’t be able to significantly scale a successful team.
Each sales person has their own unique perspective, and it’s important to make sure that you have managers who are willing to meet the needs of both your savants as well as those who need a little extra guidance. That’s precisely what scale is all about!
Scaled growth and improvement might seem unnecessarily mechanical, but you’ll see a plethora of talents emerge that will diversify and strengthen your dealership.