AutoUSA Ask The Expert November 2012

Marsh BuiceMarsh Buice of Mark Dodge Chrysler Jeep in Louisiana answers this month’s ques­tion for AutoUSA readers

Occasionally we have sales team members who get off track and perform poorly.  Any suggestions on how to give them a proverbial push to get focused on their job?

As a Sales Manager I have come across a broad spectrum of sales people over the years.  Maintaining a positive outlook is the hallmark of good professionals but when their outlook and expectations start to falter they lose their focus. From this point let me speak right to your sales team and share with them my ten reasons why I think sales people lose their edge.

 1) You have no sense of urgency.

Hint: If tomorrows always come, what use is today? There are no tomorrows in the car business. Once your customers leave, you must believe they will never come back. You have one shot to earn their business; your customers may have seen other shows, but they haven’t seen yours. Give them a memorable show capped with a “fear of loss,” suspenseful ending. If they don’t feel they’ll miss out, they will move on.

2) You aren’t catching enough Ups.

Hint: Not catching enough Ups leaves you with no margin for error in your month; to reach your monthly goal of delivered customers, you will need at least 3x as many Ups.  P.S. when this plan doesn’t work, grab even more Ups—sounds crazy, but the numbers will always turn back in your favor, if you faint not.

3) You are the Dear Abby.

Hint: You are an expert in giving advice yet heed none of it. The best advice you can give another salesperson is to lead by example. Sweep around your own front door before you sweep around mine.

4) You are educating and not motivating.

Hint: Your customers are not interested in your expert opinion of why there is no chance of their idealistic plan of buying a vehicle working. Instead, discover your customer’s transportation dilemma and then motivate them by showing how your product will solve their problem. Your customers have plenty ofWhy Not’s-give them a reason Why.

5) Your customers don’t like you.

Hint: There are no kiosks out on the blacktop; if stats and facts sold cars, you and I would be stocking shelves somewhere. Become interesting by being interested [in your customers.] Get your customers to open up by learning how to L.O.V.E. them.  Discover your customer’s Likes, Occupation, Values (i.e. civic groups), and Endorsements (their friends who are your sold customers are killer 3rd party endorsements.) Customers don’t have to like your profession, but they’ve got to love you. Customers buy you as much as they buy the product you represent.

6) No Demo, No Show.

Hint: No wheel, no deal. Your customers must drive your vehicle. Even if they switch colors, or their friend has one, or they came by last week, they must drive again. You’ve got to get your customers emotionally engaged-value driven, in order to maximize your gross profit. If they don’t feel the road, they won’t pay the dough.

7) You are scared of losing a deal.

Hint: You can’t lose what you don’t have. When a customer is at your dealership, driving your vehicle, they have some sort of inkling what you do for a living. It’s ok to ask for their business, it’s not okay not to. You’ll always get what you never ask for. When you have qualified and presented your product, demonstrated and written your customers up, you have earned the right to ask for their business. Ask yourself, what’s the worst that can happen when you ask your customers for their business?

8) You can’t get your customers inside and written up.

Hint: Unless your customer’s name is Milton Bradley, they don’t want to play games. If you find you cannot get your customers inside, it’s probably because they either don’t like what you feel they should drive (because you lectured them on why this is the only car in the city that will get them to $250/month) or you’ve done a poor job in selling yourself. Studies indicate that a majority of the reasons why customers don’t buy from a dealership is not because of price (shocking I know), but it’s because of the salesperson. Selecting the right vehicle, marketing your likeability and then bringing your customers inside and writing them up will give you the leverage needed in overcoming your customer’s true objections. If the objection only comes up once, it’s most likely just a stalling smokescreen.

9) You are looking at the problem, not the opportunity.

Hint: There is a 100% chance your fellow salespeople are not buying from you, so why are you insistent on finishing your sports recap on what you would’ve done on 3rd and long instead of grabbing the customer that just pulled up. Great salespeople start moving toward an Up before they can give their mind a chance to talk them out of it.  The best salespeople are blind; they don’t care what their customers’ look like, what they drove up in, or where they want to be on a monthly payment. If you haven’t figured it out yet, you don’t know who can or who can’t buy; coveralls can pay cash, some doctors can’t get financed. Stop looking for what is wrong with your Up-you’re not perfect either, and instead focus on the opportunity that stands before you. Opportunities are usually disguised as problems.

 10) You are buying and selling.

Hint: Don’t buy it, just sell it; it’s your customers’ decision whether or not to buy your vehicle. You report, they decide. Give your customers the best possible options so they can make an informed decision. Don’t want to present an $1150 monthly payment? Kind of queasy of telling your customer what their 6-month-old trade that they bought from you is worth?  Not up to asking for a $5000 down payment when they swore to you a dozen times they wouldn’t put any money down? Elect to take the path of most resistance; where other salespeople are taking the low ground-telling the customers they have to make some phone calls in an effort to break the bad news via telephone instead of face to face, instead be the sales person who is bold enough to present your findings reinforced with options. Customers become agitated because few salespeople are willing to take the time and explain why they are in their current situation. They may not like what they hear, but they will respect you in the long run for your professional explanation.

There are many reasons why you aren’t selling as well as you should, but only one reason why you can’t. The one reason why you can’t is YOU. Decide, act, and get out of your own way.


Marsh Buice is the Sales Manager at Mark Chrysler Dodge Jeep in Lake Charles, LA  He is also a regular contributor to the network.