The Dealership Culture Starts At The Top

Something has to give. Change is mandatory in our industry, reinvention a must! Every day I see what people are posting about dealerships all over the web. Let's face it, as a whole people hate us. Strong words I know but just look at how our customers are treated. It's not that they are being treated bad in most cases, but indifferently. It's as if we're saying, thanks for the money, I could care less if you come back. Maybe that's not what you're thinking, but it's what your actions say. A friend of mine and of AutoMax Recruiting and Training, David Johnson, wrote a real eye-opener of a post called, The Worst Dealership I've Ever Seen, Is It You? I suggest you read it. How do you keep that perception from happening? First, you have to know that itss a top down commitment. Yes, you need the right salespeople, salespeople that get it, salespeople that are self-motivated but it's a fact that even the most motivated people will feel defeated if they are in the wrong environment. That environment comes from you, the GM's, the GSM's, SM's and the DP's. What kind of culture does your dealership have? Are you screaming at your salespeople in your sales meetings or are you training them how to do their job. Are you pointing out what they are doing right? As a parent I learned that it's much more important to tell a child what they are doing right than it is to tell them what they are doing wrong. Yes, you need to correct your children but how will they ever know what they are doing is right if you don't tell them? The answer? They [...]

By | March 1st, 2012|Automotive Sales Training|1 Comment

The Death of a Salesman, Has The Day Arrived?

Let me share with you my experience, as a customer, intent to purchase a new 2012 vehicle.  My name is Ernie Kasprowicz, General Manager and Partner of AutoMax Recruiting and Training, LLC.  We are a company focused on staffing auto dealers with quality people within all departments and provide enhanced job skills training programs.  We have conducted over 11,000 salesperson recruiting programs over the course of 13 years.  My background is from retail auto, starting as a green pea salesperson through F&I, sales, general sales and general management responsibility.  I have now worked for AutoMax for the better part of 13 years.  I have seen a lot.  What I have experienced recently in my pursuit to purchase a new vehicle for my personal use is both shocking and disturbing to me. I am a person who purchases a new vehicle, maintains it and holds on to it for as long as reasonably possible.   I shop thoroughly before making a final decision.  I am not locked into one particular brand or model and take the time to investigate my options.  For my most recent purchase I visited more than 7 dealerships test driving 10 vehicles.  The good to great news is that anyone involved with representing a new vehicle has a great product to sell.  They are ALL really good, offering features and benefits that are very close in comparison. What is the bad news?  I didn’t meet a salesperson in the bunch.  Not one.  Oh, to be sure, a “salesperson” approached me, “showed” me the car, took test drives and even “worked” numbers.  But, not one had a real clue of how a professional salesperson should interact with a customer.  What I experienced was the [...]

By | February 29th, 2012|Automotive Sales Training|18 Comments

The Importance of A Traffic Log

I was at a Dealership the other day that had laid-off the receptionist. She was also the person that managed The Traffic Log. So I asked the Sales Manager, “who is taking care of the traffic log ? ”... “I am”, he said. .... “Well, when you step out, who manages the log?” ... “The salesmen”, was his answer.  Oh, no ! ... was what flashed in my head ... as I visualized a Referee throwing a flag !  The quickest and best way to check sales effectiveness is with an accurate, up to date Traffic Log. It is a gauge on how effective the sales department is ... and it is especially important after new sales people are hired and in the process of being trained. YOUR SUCCESS AS A MANAGER Your success is based not only on volume and profit, but on your closing ratio as well. (The number of customers closed) ÷ (The number of customers seen in the showroom) = (your effectiveness as a Sales Manager). A high closing rate, approximately four or five out of ten is achieved with a properly trained and motivated sales force ... one that is developed and supported with sound and consistent management practices. In many dealerships, the salesperson selling the most vehicles is not necessarily the best salesperson. A top salesperson that sees twice as many customers but sells only a few more units than the second ranked salesperson is not maximizing opportunities and actually losing money for the Dealership. This type of top salesperson is actually turning away customers who might have been sold if the sales process had been used effectively. For example: If John saw 11 customers and closed 4 ... [...]

By | February 14th, 2012|Automotive Sales Training|2 Comments

Are Top Sales Performers Made Or Born?

This is a very interesting question and one that I will answer with scientific fact, but first let's look at the two different sides of this debate. When you look outside of sales at the likes of Lance Armstrong, Muhammad Ali, Jerry Rice and even Tiger Woods (pre scandal) you see performances that are so far beyond their competition you can't help but think they were born with the right DNA. This is how most corporation hire, they hire for talent. They look for the best and the brightest using a predetermined formula from past hires. Afterwards, little or no training is offered. Then there is the side that believes top performers are created; that they are molded and developed. Much like a sculpture looks for the best clay, a company looks for the desire and motivation to succeed then molds them into top sales performers through ongoing training, development, and mentoring. Obviously one takes more time than the other and more commitment from the employer but which one results in top performers more than the other? Through the work of academic researcher K. Anders Anderson and years of studying the top performers in a variety of different fields it was concluded that top performers are made far more often than they are born.  The differentiating factor? Practice. So, in light of this scientific evidence, that top performers are made and not born, what are you doing to develop your next sales superstars? Developing Sales Performance Plan For Productivity, Expect Results Everybody has a different learning cycle, with each person at a different spot in that learning cycle. You have to ask yourself if this person will be groomed for possible promotion later and if [...]

By | February 9th, 2012|Automotive Sales Training|2 Comments

Developing Top Performing Sales Superstars

de•vel•op 1. to bring out the capabilities or possibilities of; bring to a more advanced or effective state: to develop natural resources; to develop one's talent. 2. to cause to grow or expand: to develop one's muscles. About 10 years ago or so I took my oldest son, Joe Lockerd, to the gym with me, he wanted to learn how to lift, workout and “develop” his body. At the time Joe was about 5’10 and weighed maybe 145-150 pounds. He got on the flat bench, I stood over him and lowered just the bar, which weighs 45 pounds, into his hands; he could barely press it 5 times. I was about 50 at the time and although flat bench has never been one of my strong points proceeded to do 150 pounds 10 times. My son, now based on seeing me do what he wanted to do became motivated to “Expand by Demand.” Fast forward 10 years later and based on commitment, hard work, focus and the demands he put on his muscles, by lifting heavier and heavier weights, they have expanded to the point where at 5’10” 205 pounds and 6% body fat he can bench 365, squat 405, leg press 1000 and curl 155 pounds! What does any of this have to do with Developing Top Performing Sales Superstars, other than bragging about my son, you may be asking yourself? First he needed to find his “why”, why did he want to change his body, feel better, look better [girls] be more confident in all areas of his life. After hiring a green pea, we need to find out their “why” first and why that why is a must, rather than just a [...]

By | February 8th, 2012|Automotive Sales Training|Comments Off on Developing Top Performing Sales Superstars

Proper Preparation Prevents “Piss”- Poor Performance

Automax has instilled “The Six P’s” throughout its journey to become the leading Auto Sales and Training Company within the industry. Without PROPER PREPARATION, how do you expect for your company to reach its maximum potential? Automax strives everyday to be the best. From day one, we have striven to help change people’s lives by preparing them with the necessary tools to become “committed, well trained sales people with no bad habits”. We have prepared over 100,000 sales people with the proper training to prevent “Piss”- poor performance. Preparation is a key to success; without it, AutoMax, would not be the company it is today. Now tell me, how do you PROPERLY PREPARE? Subscribe to future posts below:

By | December 27th, 2011|Automotive Sales Training|Comments Off on Proper Preparation Prevents “Piss”- Poor Performance

A Selling Tip That Actually Works

On the very last day of class (for the last half dozen classes) I have been running a client development contest. My students have been going out prospecting. Armed with only paper and pen, they had to come back with a name and phone number of a potential client. They were given 90 minutes (This was being done at lunch time and I wanted them to have a chance to eat) Remember, none of these people were hired by the dealership and they had no business cards. All I did was load their lips with what to say. The results speak for themselves. With an average of ten students per class, my greenpeas came back with an astonishing 669 names and telephone numbers in just 10 classes. One student holds the record with 24 in ninety minutes. And the dealership record is 147 names with phone numbers. I don't have the complete figures as to how many were sold, because it is too early, but preliminary data show the closing rate is about 24% with good follow up. DO THE MATH!!!! Is this worth 90 minutes to pick up potentially18 units in one day on average? What if they did this everyday? So here is my question: What is your sales-staff doing at lunchtime? P.S. Check out Craigs Video Blog on eating at the dealership HERE

By | December 6th, 2011|Automotive Sales Training|1 Comment

How Does This Apply to Selling Cars?

In his book, The Paradox of Choice, Barry Schwartz comes to an interesting conclusion involving human choice. "People choose not on the basis of what’s most important, but on what’s easiest to evaluate.” Common sense would dictate that if you were given a list of choices, you would choose the one that is most important to you, when in reality humans usually choose the one that is easiest for them to understand and evaluate. Very often we do so because we don’t have the time to put in the research necessary to make an informed decision. Politicians are rarely elected based on the majority of people doing research on their background and the policies they support. They are elected for the fact that people can relate to the message they are spreading and because we have heard of them before. Seems to make sense to me. This is one reason why the vehicle manufacturers combine options into option packages. Also why it may NOT be a good idea to walk the inventory with the customer looking to find the vehicle the customer may be interested in. It is much better to have a needs and wants conversation with the customer in the showroom and then bring the oldest vehicle from the inventory that most matches their needs and wants to them. Do this and you may find you sell more because it is easier for the customer to decide. What Do You Think? How does this apply to selling cars?

By | December 2nd, 2011|Automotive Sales Training|3 Comments

What is The Value Of Automotive Sales Training

What is the value of automotive sales training? Do you value it from the point of zero dollars or from the negative dollars that the absence of training brings with it? Strange question I know, but think about it a moment. If you leave a glass of cold water at room temperature it will warm up, if you leave a warm glass of water at room temperature it will cool down, the same with automotive sales training. I hear it all the time, "Training at my store doesn't stick," or "Whenever I train it's like what I'm saying goes in one ear and out the other." Why do you think that is? They're a lot of factors that come into play when it comes to learning, time of day, attention span, the skills of the trainer and even the desire of the student to learn. If we look back on the cold and warm water scenario the answer is that the water will always return to the mean temperature, or the temperature of the room. So, in order to increase the mean skill of your sales force you must continually conduct automotive sales training, that way when your salespeople revert back to what they've always done, their mean skill will increase. A little hard to put down into words but let me explain it real numbers. Let's say that out of 10, the skill level of your sales force is a 3. Well, when you train, the skill of the your sales force, right after training, goes up to a 5. But, if you don't manage your expectations correctly or follow up with more automotive sales training, your sales team will fall back to their [...]

By | October 22nd, 2011|Automotive Sales Training|Comments Off on What is The Value Of Automotive Sales Training

Stop Making An Ass Out Of Yourself and Your Customers

Strong title I know but we've all heard the old axiom before, "Don't assume, it makes an ass out of you and me." (Assume = Ass + u + me) Having said that, why are you still assuming in your sales process? No, I'm not referring to another old axiom that says, "Always assume the same." That's a another thing altogether, what I'm referring to is the fact that a lot of automotive salespeople feel that they know what the customer wants, more than the customer themselves. Assumptions happen for a variety of reasons: The way our customers dress. The car they drive on the lot. The words they use. Our own inability to listen to what their saying. By asking the wrong questions. And yes, even the color of their skin. There are more reasons of course, but in order to illustrate this I'd like to tell you a story that was told to me by David Johnson of PersuasiveConcepts. David was a new automotive salesperson, in the business for less than four months, when an elderly gentleman rode onto the lot on a bicycle. The guy wasn't well dressed and looked as if he hadn't shaved in 2 months. He asked David, "Is this the KIA dealership?" David said no and preceded to tell him that the KIA dealership was just next store. The gentleman said thank you and began to peddle his bike when another salesperson stepped in and asked what he was looking for. As it turned out the guy had 80 one hundred dollar bills in his pocket and was ready to buy, which he did, from the other salesperson. What did David do wrong? He assumed that this guy [...]

By | October 20th, 2011|Automotive Sales Training|Comments Off on Stop Making An Ass Out Of Yourself and Your Customers