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Derrick Woolfson

Derrick Woolfson Business Development Manager

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Are You Burning Your Sales Managers Out?

It is easy to look at a few reports and come to a conclusion that your sales managers are just not cutting it. That is everything from their closing rate, sold rate, front-end gross, to their overall performance on hitting the OEM objective for the month. However, there is much more to what makes a sales manager successful than of what meets the eye; in many cases, the GM can prevent his or her sales managers from doing their jobs. Noting that within the last few years the role of the sales manager has arguably changed. That said, here are some of the top reasons your sales managers are not working out and how to address the evolving position. 

What Is the Sales Manager Responsible for on the Dealer Level? Are We Really a Team or is it About Which Manager Adds More Profit to the Bottom Line? 

One of the most significant sources of dissension on the dealer level derives from their individual performance. Wherein, the GM might note that sales manager “A” desked more deals than sales manager “B,” but sales manager “B” headed up training and onboarding; meanwhile, the GM accused that sales manager “C” must not be doing anything! The idea that he is glued to his sales tower. When in all reality, sales manager “C” is responsible for OEM Reporting, Payroll, and purchasing inventory. Therefore, even though the sales manager “A” had more desked deals s/he did not assist with any other managerial duties. 

The above scenario is more common than you would think which in many cases causes many controversies. Wherein, the GM will not take the time to note that each manager is playing an integral role in ensuring the dealership's success, and instead of taking the time to review each of their positions they expect both “B” & “C” to desk more deals. With the idea that it will increase sales. That is not the case, however, as the sales start to decrease because you have now lessened the training, RDR’s become an issue with incentives that were not applied for, payroll becomes an issue, and the inventory is not managed. All of which causes for a vicious cycle of burn-and-turn. Where the GM inevitably burns and turns his management. 

The way a dealer approaches management cannot remain the same narrow-minded perspective. Instead, the dealer has to think of the bigger picture; that is business development, which is not limited to having a BDC staff that makes phone calls and sets appointments. Instead, the dealership needs to work with their sales managers regarding what business development means on the dealer level. Everything from phone calls, manifest lists, equity customers and CRM management to name a few. But this cannot happen if the GM does not afford his sales managers the opportunity to approach those topics. And while the GM might offer “I never said they could not do those things,” it is also known that their pay plans are solely focused on units sold, which makes sense. However, to increase the number of sold units and increase the Gross Per Copy, there has to be both business development and training! 

The GM has to be cognizant that each sales manager plays an integral role in the dealers overall success. And managing them off of “one point,” without managing “how” they both approach and execute the sales is a costly mistake which causes for turn over and lost profits. The bottom line is that no longer can the sales manager role be limited and defined by a few reports. A Sales Manager has to understand business development, and the GM has to support that role. If not, it will be that much harder to both maintain 

Before you can cast blame on the sales manager for their performance, it is essential to understand what they are responsible for when it comes to the dealership's success. Each store you visit, however, have different expectations, which makes it that much harder to draw a fine line in the sand mapping out their respective duties. Not to mention, because sales managers have different responsibilities it makes it harder to hold each one accountable. To avoid this approach, it is best for each manager to have their own set of responsibilities allowing each manager to do their job. 

How do you measure your sales managers success? 

Ian Coburn

Some great points. My nephew works at a dealership where a sales manager was feeling under appreciated, in large part because of the things you mention, so he left to be GM at another dealership... taking the top 50% of performing staff with him, from sales to service. There are numerous reasons to make sure we are aware, support and monitor staff and their level of satisfaction. How many dealers do 360 reviews? (Where the staff does an anonymous performance review of management.) This is a great place to start. Be ready to take some lumps, though, or don't do it.

Derrick Woolfson

Thanks, Ian. And that is a great point! What is also fascinating is that if you look at a dealers turn-over and realize that the "management" remains the same, but the sales consultants & advisors have an exorbitant turn-over rate what does it say about your management? It is one of those things where -  do dealers really want to know how their management is doing? The only metric they look at are sold units. And while that is extremely important, so is the morale. The better the morale is the better the sales will be. As for the manager taking staff with him, if that is not a wake-up call then I am not sure what would get their attention? A bad GM can be devastating to a dealers bottom line. 

 

 

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