You have two choices when hiring your new salespeople…
A. You can either hire the right people who have the potential to become pros in sales, provide them with the training, daily management and proven processes they need from you to succeed…or…
B. You can just keep hiring the best of the worst who show up, give them product training, little or no actual ‘selling skills’ training, hold your breath and hope they’ll work out.
In our management workshops, almost everyone agrees that most salespeople are poorly trained.
Here’s the kicker, though: who usually gets even less training on how to be more successful in their jobs than the poorly trained salespeople?
The only people who get less training than most salespeople, are the managers who were hired or promoted and put in charge of the poorly trained salespeople.
Wow – talk about a Lose / Lose opportunity for everyone.
When I was first promoted to management, my dealer said, “Joe, you’ve done a good job in sales, and we’re making you a manager.”
Then he told me…
“There’s the desk, there’s the people – now make me proud.”
If we’re promoted – but not provided training on how to become a more effective leader so that we can better train, coach and manage our salespeople, measure their performance points to set and reach realistic improvement goals and motivate them to succeed in sales – it’s almost guaranteed we’ll end up running a team of eight car salespeople and blame the market, theweather or street repairs for our lack of sales and profit.
When I stopped selling cars for a couple years, I learned how to sell on a professional level from several real pros in sales and in other fields, including some you’d never think about – like Plato, Socrates and Aristotle. They were the smart guys from about 2,500 years ago and were all very big on ‘logic’ as being a key for making good decisions.
- Logical: If you look at your service department, it’s just logical that a well-trained tech with a well-stocked toolbox and access to ‘Special Tools’ will repair more cars faster and better than a new guy with a socket set, a few wrenches and a hammer.
- Logical: It’s just as logical that a well-trained salesperson with a well-stocked toolbox of selling skills, phone, internet and retention skills and processes, and with ‘Special Skills’ to deal with price, closing, negotiating, and handling objections – will more likely succeed than that next ‘nice’ new guy you’ll hire who ‘always liked cars’ and wants to try selling them.
- Illogical: It’s illogical for a dealership to hire a salesperson and not train and manage them, and even more illogical to hire or promote someone and hope they’ll ‘catch on’ and become a good manager without training.
Which leads to my next point…
Without management training, salespeople who are promoted may still make critical decisions based on a salesperson’s point of view.
It doesn’t matter how nice we are, or how many cars we sold when we were in sales – management is a totally different job and requires different skill sets to make good management decisions. Without training in hiring practices, they hire the wrong people. Without understanding how to set realistic performance goals, they set highballs and learn how to justify not hitting them. Without being taught how to train, coach and manage salespeople, they can’t – so they justify why they don’t.
In our sales and support departments, we talk to 500 dealers, managers and salespeople every week – and we see dealers promote great salespeople, hoping they’ll be able to get the whole team selling more units just like they did when they were in sales…but a lot of them fail to even replace the sales that were lost because of their promotion. All because they weren’t taught what they need to know and understand about ‘Retail Sales Management’.
The ‘math’ tells the story: If you promote the 25 car guy, you’ve lost 25 units and $62,500 in gross per month right off the bat. So, if that new manager doesn’t have the hiring, training, coaching, activity management, motivational and leadership skills to help your salespeople pick up those 25 units overnight, you’re out 300 units and close to a million in gross profit in the next 12 months. Then we hear the dealer’s disappointment, “We saw so much potential in him or her and thought they could duplicate what they’d done…”, or the justification (blaming) starts and we’re back to market, weather, price and street repairs.
Stop Blaming & Start Training
You know what one of the worst parts of this is?
Dealers and managers will blow that million bucks in gross and justify not training their salespeople and managers because of the short time away from the dealership and the minor investment it takes to turn them into successful professionals. 20 units a month is a realistic expectation for well-trained and well-managed salespeople, but without training, 80 percent of the dealers end up with salespeople who have that 20 car potential, but are stuck in an 8 unit organization.
We obviously talk about this in our management workshops, and about now a dealer jokingly asked us one time,
“If our salespeople are just a bunch of 8-car guys, doesn’t that make us a bunch of 8-car managers?”
Fortunately, the group answered in unison and everybody kinda laughed off the truth. But he was right – until managers get trained and get better, your sales team won’t get much better, either.
Ben Franklin, who by the way was the very first person in the U.S. to ever earn $1 million, and who also just happens to be on the $100 bill, referred to all of this as…
“Penny wise & pound foolish.”