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About 10 years ago I attended a "Sales Training Camp" and came home with piles and piles of paperwork, examples, scripts, and other goodies. I ran across this list of 10 ways to shape-up a sales force that I took home from that seminar. Not surprisingly, we are saying many of the same things today as we said a decade ago. If your a salesperson, you may not like any of these ideas - sorry. If you are a performer, you understand. If not, um, become one or find a new gig.
1, Fire them: Hapless Hal clearly doesn’t know what he’s doing. He’s been with you a month. What’s the point in waiting? If someone’s really not going to work out you know that immediately. Use a three month probationary period to weed out the worst performers. But the staff who are not obviously useless need time to learn about the dealers products, and that can take 12 to 18 months. In theory, any of them should be able to do it, because they have proven track records – otherwise you would not have hired them - I hope.
2. Spy's spy's and more spy's. Monitor and record phone conversations. Check how many calls they’ve made by looking at their call log. Count up their emails. Monitor their internet usage – are they spending more time on the CRM, or Hotmail? Are they talking to customers, or each other? It never ceases to amaze me at how efficient people get at wasting time.
3. Watch them in action: If Joe Sales Rep is struggling, go out with him to greet customers, sit with him while he makes phone calls. Help him sell the product but by no means belittle him in front of the customer. Then take him out for a coffee and ask, “How did you think that went?” You’ll learn as much from their response as you did from their performance.
4. Show them the money: Cash definitely motivates certain people. Offer a bonus pot as a yearend incentive. The more they achieve over goals, the more that goes into the pot. Like they say "short term bonuses help the sales people, long term bonuses help the dealer."
5. Pimp that ride: Flower children they ain’t. Sales staff have got dollar signs in their eyes. So suck up to these connoisseurs of bling and get them driving fancy rides. I love this one, demo for anyone! This is a no-brainer (assuming all the insurance and licensing is good with Joe Rep) and salespeople love it. Offer anyone a demo with a few hooks. First, figure out a monthly figure, lets use $500. Each day the salesperson has the demo, and it doesn't sell, he "owes" 1/30th of $500 (around $15.00). If he sells is by month end, he's charged nothing. If he doesn't, um, he pays. Most folks that take this deal sell the car, it just works.
6. Give them a budget: Every salesperson at the dealership should know and understand exactly how much cash the dealer is willing to give up towards their individual marketing efforts. Stamps, envelopes, cell phone bills, it adds up quick. Lots of salespeople would do $500 worth of marketing for $50 worth of stamps and letterhead. Do not limit what they can do with their marketing budget, support creativity.
7. It is not just about the money: Some people are motivated by cash; others by status, a sense of career advancement, good management, praise, reviews, training, being listened to, pulling together as a team and loving the company they work for. When chatting, keep mental notes on what turns them on. If a top-performing sales person says, “I’d love to stay in a fancy hotel like that,” then you know what would make a great reward: a weekend away in that hotel, for them and their partner.
8. Target the top: An old management maxim, the Pareto Law, says that 80 per cent of your sales come from 20 per cent of your staff. That’s an easy claim to make, you might think, what’s the reality? Well, find out! Look at the top ten or 20 per cent of your sales people, and calculate what proportion of sales they brought in. Do they pull more than their weight? Then they’re the ones to invest in!
9. Smarten them up, cheaply: The internet and other information delivery mechanisms has dramatically changed the amount of training material on the market and the quality. Get them newsletters, daily sales bulletins, podcasts, whatever. You can get as much quality training materials in one day today what it took months to accumulate 10 years ago. Get the smarts, incentivize learning it.
10. Develop a CRM strategy: CRM is not software. CRM is a plan, a strategy, a philosophy. Get everyone to understand how your dealership is different, what sets it apart and exactly how and why you care deeply about your customers. Use technology to support your CRM initiative, not to create it. You may be suprised at how many salespeople simply do not know what their dealerships policies are when it comes to customer service, asking for referrals, and following up. Sales people want to know what you expect. Tell them, everyone will be better off.