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Jennifer Suzuki

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The 21st Century Sales Manager

As I return home from three, week long trips to various dealerships, I can’t help but reflect on the similarities. There is something so serene about being on a plane; maybe it’s because I can avoid all the day-to-day, hour-by-hour, distractions and focus on a few topics rather than fifteen! I have seen 9 different dealerships this month and I am in each dealership for the same reason – to consult and provide sales team training.

I beg the question, how can 9 different dealerships suffer from the exact same setbacks? 

The internet prospects and incoming phone calls have been escalating for years now.  The floor traffic seems to diminish year over year. With these basic observations, you must ask yourself, how is my dealership changing with these statistics? In other words, are you more focused on sales training for walk-ins or for incoming phone calls and internet prospects? Are there sales processes for all aspects or just mainly one?

I continue to see the focus, if there is a focus, on walk in traffic. I understand. There is nothing better than a prospect in your showroom! But, why the lack of focus on processes for the other two lead sources? Combined, you have majorly more sales opportunities, in most dealerships!

The most complicated part of what I am about to say, will be recognizing your areas of opportunity and implementing changes…‘execution’ IS the most difficult aspect of change.

The first thing that I generally recommend is that the manager’s get more involved. It’s that simple. Yesterday’s managers are a thing of the past; it’s time to get some energetic, get out of their seats kinda people…ready to show a salesperson how it’s done- kinda attitude! We need managers that aren’t afraid of the phone, they love, capital ‘L’- LOVE the phone! They can hold a quick sales team meeting on the fly and huddle the group together and take a ‘live’ incoming sales call and follow the process that has been road-mapped out for the dealership! This sales manager is no old-school, “sales, how can I help you?” kinda guy or gal…he/she is modern with fresh ideas and approaches! At best, this sales manager can be a team leader AND coach!

Sounds too good to be true?

I believe. I believe you can hire, groom and develop this kind of talent! You want it? You want it bad enough? You will focus on it and you will work towards it and you will achieve it! Like anything, this requires focus and dedication.

Today’s sales managers have to be able to rock the phone! They have to be able to send emails to prospects and not just a template that says, “Hey, I’m the manager and I am here to help you buy a car.” This manager can personalize any email template and make it a value-based, obligation established, professional and engaging kinda email! This manager can show his/her team how to make it happen, day after day!

Today’s sales manager must be able to train and to hold a team accountable hour-by-hour….with a “do-whatever-it-takes” kinda attitude!!!  He/she’s picking up the phone and calling each salesperson when a lead has been sitting there for 3 minutes! You feel what I’m saying?!

The sales manager is as well versed on the CRM as anybody could be! In fact, this manager could be a trainer for the CRM company he/she knows it so well! That’s what I’m talking about! This manager is buzzing around the CRM all day looking for tasks – both completed and incomplete. Calling a salesperson out when tasks aren’t being completed!

See something missing in your formula for leading a great team to the highest level? It’s time to refocus on hiring a new wave of sales managers.  New skill sets not just deal makers but a jack of all trades.

The CRM is a critical component to your success and everyone needs to know how to use it. Yet, why are most dealerships falling short here?

Are your sales managers in the 21st Century?

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