The conversations surrounding the sales process seems to be on autoloop. Month after month, we continue to have the same discussion about the sales process, but do we enact on changing it? While the sales process seems simple and straightforward, it's not. In many cases, each one of your sales consultants has a different approach to the sales process on the dealer level. And while it might seem to work, it can cause more damage than you realize. Here are some of the top things to consider when it comes to the conversations surrounding the sales process.
Managing Your Team is Much Harder When Everyone Has A Different Sales Process. How Can You Possibly Manage the Breakpoints?
You might think to yourself: I do not want to make the sales consultant mad - you know the guy that sells twenty cars a month - by changing the way they sell the vehicle.
We might have all had that thought in the back of our minds when discussing the sales process. However, we have to remember it is not just about that sales consultant. By not having a consistent sales process, that sales consultant actually disrupts everyone else. For example, if you have in your main sales process that the sales consultant is to have the sales manager review the trade at step two, but they want it at step one, now you are pushing the sales manager to break the entire process, which can derail their efforts in assisting others. And make no mistake, the sales consultants in the moment "process" can take much more time because - let's be honest - it is not a process, but rather "steps" that concur in any which way they feel is best for the moment. And this is by no means to offer that there are instances where you have to pivot and provide the customer an in the moment experience that meets their individual needs, either. What this is saying, though, is that by not enforcing a streamlined process it can cause chaos, and back everything up; and for what? Are we really betting our entire process on selling one car vs. multiple cars with the customers who are currently in the showroom?
New Hires Might Want to Follow the Sales Process. But if Your Management Team is Busy Managing the In the Moment Processes How Can it Possibly Work?
It is no secret that turnover continues to be an issue on the dealer level when it comes to sales consultants. We make excuses for it, too - everything from they were not meant to sell cars, they do not have what it takes, they cannot follow a process, or they do not have the drive. But let's take a step back for a moment. Processes are meant to guide an employee, ensuring that they are offering the customer the best experience possible. However, to do so, the management team has to follow the same process. If the sales consultant sees your veteran guy creating their own sales process in the moment, they too will follow their own sales process. And while I am mindful that a veteran sales consultant might have the cognizance and wherewithal on how to make it work. Your new sales consultant does always have the means to make it work. In which case, you often hear "the newbie let another customer roll off the lot. What an up killer. What is that is the fifth customer for the day?"
Now imagine back when you started to sell cars how hearing something like that would have felt? And yeah, I know - we have to have thick skin in the industry, right? But it is not about whether or not they have thick skin. It comes down to the notion that if they do not believe they have the support system or clear guidance as to what the steps are, then how can it work, no? The more confident your sales consultants are in the sales process, the more flexibility they have in pivoting when necessary. So instead of calling our sales consultants up killers, let's focus on creating and executing a process that is flexible with our buyers. Knowing that not all customers can be pushed down the same process, which is frankly why many sales consultants create an in the moment sales process. But without a solid foundation on what a sales process is and their understanding the importance of it, they are often not as successful.
Who Manages the New Hires? You Cannot Pass the Blame and Point Fingers If You Want the Sales Process to Work. And Calling them A Product Specialist Does Not Fix Anything Either.
If you are confident in the way your veteran team sells cars, and their processes work, then that's great. But you cannot ignore the elephant in the room which, as mentioned above, is how the new hires are impacted on the lack of there being a consistent sales process. More often than not, the sales consultants are passed around to whoever is available for the moment. Or worse, they are paired with a veteran sales consultant who is not training them. In fact, they usually wind up being their assistant. Whether that is taking the car back to clean-up, bringing it up-front, putting the tags on, or any other task that is asked of. That is not following a sales process, nor is that training. Especially not when we are hiring product specialists in which the job is built on PROCESSES! Think about it, for us who sell or sold cars, did we last long being someone's gopher when we first started? No. We broke away at the first chance we had - making a bold move - and snagged an up whether we knew what we were doing or not. For many of us that worked, others it did not.
So while it does not sound enticing, or fun, there needs to be a consistent message provided to the new hires. And simply calling them product specialists does not fix the issue either. They need a sales manager who has the patience to work with them. Teaching them how the sales process works and the importance of it. In doing so, not only will it build their confidence in how to approach the many situations and objections that arise - it helps ensure that they start off with the idea that there is a linear process. Albeit a flexible one.
How do you approach the sales process with new hires? Do you have a dedicated sales manager that works with your new hires? Have you seen a positive impact by having a consistent sales process?