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I want to take a look at a myth that has been a mainstream statement for years – the idea that knowledge is power. I find as I visit stores and conduct workshops across the country, I meet a lot of “know it all” salespeople or worse yet, negative salespeople who want the customer to take all of the responsibility for not buying a car. I also want to reach out to the people that sit in training nodding their head in agreement or taking a ton of notes, only to leave behind the concepts they learned as soon as they leave the session. Here’s the real deal. Unless you can convert knowledge into results, you’ve got nothing! Let’s take a look at three reasons why people don’t convert knowledge into action:
1. Information overload: This is a common trap people fall into because it's easy to acquire knowledge, but not as much fun or easy to apply that information.
2. Negative filtering: Thoughts that hold people back so whenever they do learn something positive, they tend to discount it.
3. Lack of follow-up: An absence of structure and accountability that explains why smokers continue to smoke when they know it’s bad for them. While many smokers have a positive attitude about quitting, they keep smoking because changing habits or behaviors requires a concentrated effort.
Converting knowledge into action requires repetition. Repetition creates lasting change because people need to hear information over and over for it to have an impact. If you didn’t know this by now a major part of my business is selling training. One of the biggest hurdles I face on a daily basis with a dealer is breaking the belief that there is no reason to train employees because they won’t stay or they won’t change. Do you think that there is a connection between a salesperson that has the tools to be successful and stays versus a salesperson coming to work every day trained only to say, “What brings you into the dealership today?” or “Any reason other than price you wouldn’t buy and drive this car today?” or the crown jewel, “great news!” I had a dealer tell me a few months ago that I am the first person to do training at his dealership in 12 years. Question: is it just a coincidence that the dealership is last in the zone in sales and has high sales turnover? If you are a dealer, wake up! As the dealership’s decision maker you must realize that you can’t mandate productivity; it is your responsibility to give your salespeople what they need to succeed (FYI: when I talk about tools to succeed I am not talking about a working telephone and lot full of inventory).
If you are a salesperson, the following are some matters for your consideration. People grow best with an open, positive mind. Seeds planted on good soil produce many times what is sown. An open, positive filtering system can ignite creativity, ingenuity, and resourcefulness. Positive thinkers do the impossible with great regularity. The next time you are presented with something you think you already know, I challenge you to not simply say, “I already know that,” but ask yourself, “How good am I at that?” International thought leader Ken Blanchard coined a phrase known as “green light thinking.” This is when you focus on positive aspects and overcome negative filtering. In order to maximize the follow-through on the knowledge you acquire, you will need structure, support, and accountability. An effective follow up system to implement a new training concept involves: Tell me, show me, let me, and correct me.
Finally I want to leave you with two things:
1. Remember that the human brain and the computer have a lot in common: Both the computer and human brain don’t know the difference between the truth and what people tell them.
2. The golden thread that runs through the life of every high achiever is focus, backed by persistence. In the end, knowledge is potential power when made actionable and sometimes the best tools that will help you sell more cars and make more money are indeed the same tools to improve the quality and success of your life, period.