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Bryant Gibby

Bryant Gibby Used car manager

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Not missing customers

     We have had an ongoing battle with our sales guys to make sure the lot and the phone station (where they get sales calls and internet leads) are being watched at all times. The obvious reason for that is to make sure that we aren't missing any customers that drive through the lot. We switched to a new facility about 4 years ago and our lot/phone station coverage has been a constant issue. The old facility was set up to where you could easily see the entire lot from the showroom, so there was never an issue with customers going unnoticed.

 

     We have tried to institute a schedule for both the phone station and the "spotter station" to make sure we have a guy in both places at all times. Needless to say, it has been like pulling teeth to manage that schedule. We currently don't adhere to the schedule at all and rely on our guys actually doing there jobs and rely on us babysitting them.

 

     I'm thinking there has to be a better way to approach this issue, but can't really think of anything else outside of the worthless schedule that we have. I'm too busy to be babysitting everyone so any suggestions would be more than welcome. Maybe we need to build another facility that has a better view of the lot!!!

Jim Bell
We don't have an 'up system.' I have tried that in the past as a sales manager and the problem seemed to be that once the guy that got his up, the next guy wouldn't realize it. Right now, my guys are almost always at the window or outside on the lot watching for customers. With our i-leads, they are getting notifications via text when something comes in and needs to be responded to. If they can't get it, it will go to the next person after 10 minutes. Sales calls are routed through the operator and she will page as a call comes in. I'm sure that you can make it work with the new facility, but you will just have to find the right process.
Bill Gardiner
Having been out of the business for a few years I still find myself visiting prev employers' lots and helping friends/family shop for vehicles. I've seen a dramatic change since `08 in perceived lot coverage and "aggressiveness" from salespeople. When I was managing the sales desk I would've gone ballistic if I watched customers come and go as easily as I have on multiple lots on multiple days of the week. Is it laziness, FB and Twitter, or something else, I don't know. Perhaps you could try a fresh lot-up spiff if they close it? Keep it small but motivating the sales team with $$. I will say this, resist the urge to flood the floor with newbies. It was the single greatest demotivator at the last lot I worked for (in sales, not mgmt) and, ultimately, caused some good talent to leave.
Jim Bell
I got to disagree with you Bill on motivating them with spiff money. Why should we spiff them for doing their job that they were hired for?
Zach Bello
I agree with Jim. I've had this discussion with my father several times about incentivizing salespeople to "do their jobs" (in my situation, email capture rates). His attitude in his store is exactly what Jim is saying, why do we need to incentivize people to do what they are already supposed to be doing? If the salespeople don't want to do their jobs, politely show them the door.
Charles Gallaer
I had a similar problem at my store, a relatively new building built in the late 90s. My employer went with an "open" showroom floor where customers would sit with sales people at desks and then work deals with a sales manager in the sales manager's office. The sales people had one room where they each had their own phone, desk, filing cabinet, etc. So, a sales person in the sales office couldn't see the lot from the office and the sales manager couldn't see the lot from his office. I found that sales people would congregate in either their office or the sales manager's office. I moved out of my office and moved the sales manager out of his office. I had two desks with computers set up in the showroom facing out onto the lot, where the two of us sat side by side. One of us had to be at our desk at all times so we could see the lot. The sales people would gather around where we were sitting and our response time to leads, lot coverage and phone coverage improved dramatically. Don't let the facility dictate your workflow and coverage. Technology like smartphones and wireless internet allow a lot of flexibility in locating your staff and your workspace. Good luck and let us know how it goes.

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