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Jared Hamilton
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Bart Wilson

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Imagine that you are a mechanic. In order to do your job correctly you would need to purchase specific tools. These tools are designed to help you effective complete specific jobs. For example, there is a certain wrench to remove a certain bolt on the front of a certain engine.

What if you ignored your tools and tried to fix everything with a pair of channel locks and a hammer? Not only would the job not get done correctly, it wouldn’t be a very effective use of your time.

As salespeople we have a number of tools at our disposal. I want to use one as an example because I see its misuse quite often. This tool is your dealership’s CRM.

Back in the day each salesperson kept track of their prospects with an archaic filing system, maybe 3 X 5 cards. The quality of the pre-sale and post-sale follow up would depend on the quality of the notes. Lose a card and you would lose a guest. Misfile a card and the customer would receive no follow up. I have even seen Post-it notes used as a follow up system. Ouch!

If only there was a way to store our guests and notes and automatically prompt us when follow up needs to be done. We would never lose a customer again! We could call it a CRM.

Someone out there listened and developed such a system. Now we have these electronic prompts all the time and we are required to spend time in front of a computer entering notes on every guest (which, by the way, we are supposed to call far too often). How is a salesperson supposed to sell cars when they have all this follow-up to do?

Managers, your salespeople are kinking the system. Far too many of them are clicking tasks they have not completed because they don’t understand the tools they have. It would be the same as if I didn’t want to go to the toolbox and grab the specific tool for the job because it’s too far to walk. I have a hammer and those channel locks right here and I think I can get the bolt off without getting the tool.

This is just one example. I’m sure if we took the time we could think of more. What is the solution?

First, there must be accountability. Call tracking helps (although salespeople will say they use their cell phones to make the calls), and so do daily one on ones.

Second, I feel that there must be a “what’s in it for me?” meeting, maybe several, to explain the benefits of using the CRM. Training will go a long way as well. Many salespeople don’t use the tools they have because they may not understand them. There is a great discussion on DrivingSales on how to get salespeople to use the CRM if you need some more ideas.

Third, management should use the CRM, not just salespeople. Managers should be utilizing it to do follow up and handle issues.

So here is the question: What other tools are sitting in the toolbox gathering dust?

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