Salespeople… ahh, they grow up so fast, don’t they?
One day they’re young, wide-eyed Green Peas treating every Up like a qualified buyer, selling sixteen out of the gate and hanging on your every word; and the next, they’re a bunch of know-it-all 8-Car Alans standing in the smoking circle complaining about how much your inventory and your advertising suck.
Gosh, where did those three months go anyway?
The progression (or should I write regression?) of the 8-Car Alans in automotive retail is interesting to me. Interesting in that, to the person, they can tell you all about their first full month in the industry when they sold sixteen or eighteen or twenty-two. They’ll tell you today, of course, that was just beginner’s luck.
Though back when they were enjoying their best month ever, they didn’t think it was luck. They thought selling cars was easy, and they assumed their results were just going to improve over time. During that first month, they assumed everyone was a buyer, so they approached every Up with a belief that they were going to sell them a vehicle today. They listened to you and the other managers, they followed the approved processes, they studied the product, they devoured any sales training they could get, and they walked the used car inventory every morning.
They assumed everyone was buying today because they didn’t know any better. They did everything you told them told to do because you said it would help them sell more cars. And… it did.
For most automotive sellers languishing near the bottom of your sales board, their best month in the business is not only behind them, it’s way behind them. Their best month in the business occurred when they were getting their necktie cut and finding themselves the target of most pranks and the butt of most jokes.
Today, they’re selling eight a month and, as expected, they’re not very happy with the car business.
This begs the question: What happened? How did they go from being the golden child in their first month to becoming another one of your problem children today?
Simple: They figured everything out.
Like Skynet from The Terminator, they became self-aware. One day, they just stopped listening to you, they started freelancing with every Up, they quit studying the product, they ceased looking for sales training, and they knew everyone on the lot was a deadbeat tire-kicker until they proved themselves worthy of buying. They ended their winning streak and settled into average.
Now, they’re seasoned; and now they know too much. If only they could remain Green Peas forever.
If you want to turn your 8-Car Alans into 30-Car Theos, you may want to lead them like you did when they were new to the business – before they had all the answers. Selling cars is not hard, it just takes work. It takes the kind of work they performed when they were Green Peas; when they did as you told them. Specifically, you should lead them back to the basics and ensure they:
- Listen to you and the other managers
- Follow every step of your sales processes
- Study your product every day (especially your used car inventory)
- Seek out and devour any sales training they can find
- Assume everyone is a buyer who is buying today… because they are.
Everyone is a Buyer
It’s no secret that most of today’s Ups arrive on your lot armed with all the information they need to make an informed decision. They’ve done their own needs analysis, their own product selection and their own feature presentation. They’re showing up ready to by your vehicle.
Unfortunately, your 8-Car Alans are losing your buyers before they even get them to the demo drive. Your average salespeople are blowing out ready buyers because they’ve been burned before. They’ve been burned by the tire-kickers; so, now they make everyone prove they’re a qualified buyer before they ever let them see a single vehicle. They’ve stopped assuming your Ups were buyers and they’ve begun freelancing their own road-to-the-sale because it helps them sniff out the deadbeats.
You have sales processes for a reason – enforce them. You spend thousands every year on sales training – reinforce the lessons. You spend tens of thousands every month on advertising to drive ready buyers to your lot – ensure your team is treating them as ready buyers.
Just like you did when they were Green Peas.
If you ever wonder what happened to that wide-eyed Green Pea who sold sixteen in his first month – though he now sells eight and hangs out with the complainers in the smoking circle – look in the mirror. You drove his results that first month by enforcing the basics and ensuring good habits.
If you ever wish they could stay Green Peas forever, start treating them like Green Peas… forever.
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