It is a manager’s favorite line: “We need to just get back to basics.” While there is certainly something to be said about the benefits of mastering the basics, it is definitely not where we should be making our living in today’s economy.
I used to hear with great frequency statements like, “Just get ’em in and we’ll close ’em,” or “We just need more traffic.” Well, most of us have probably learned by now that it’s not just about trying to get more traffic, it’s about shifting our focus to maximizing every opportunity.
One of the definitions for the word “basic” is “offering or consisting in the minimum required.” Is that really good enough in today’s aggressive marketplace? Just so we’re on the same page here, when I say aggressive marketplace, I’m not merely referring to the economy. I’m referring to the multitude of purchase options consumers have nowadays.
Think about it: How many makes and models can a consumer spend $15,000, $20,000, $50,000, $60,000, or even $70,000 on? So, if we all can agree that every “up” really does count, how can we move past the basics and employ strategies to increase our sales and incomes? Well, here are my five ways to do just that:
- Focus on Authenticity: I always applaud sales professionals who have found ways to create their own brands within their stores. I think about the sales guy in Texas who goes by “Coach,” the guy in Jersey who rhymes his name “Meador” with the word “better.” See, I appreciate those salespeople who are unconventional and can sell cars and make a good living because of it. Why? Because they’re authentic, and authentic people focus on building long-term relationships with customers. They also are likeable and sincere, and get unsolicited referrals on a regular basis.
- Take Responsibility for Your Own Education:It is amazing to me how many times I hear someone say they can’t attend a workshop or seminar because the dealer won’t pay for it. It doesn’t matter how long you’ve been in the business, the game changes on a regular basis. That means you can’t stop learning if you plan to increase your earnings. Take today’s Gen-Y buyers. How much do you really know about this buying segment and the radical differences between their buying habits and motivations vs. the baby boomer generation? My guess is not much. Do you think it might be worth a $30 book or a $300 seminar to know who your future customer will be?
- Employ the “ME + 3 Rule”: This rule is one of my favorite principles to teach because it’s a real eye opener for salespeople. The rule states that when communicating with a prospect; realize that there are three other dealers vying for your customer’s business. So, when you leave your next voicemail or take your next sales call; remember that there are three other sales professionals who are talking to your customer. That means what you say and how you say it really matters.
- Focus on Buying Motives: Legendary trainer and speaker Zig Ziglar talks about the five selling challenges: no need, no money, no hurry, no desire and no trust. At the base of any customer objection is a failure to overcome or address one of those five challenges to the customer’s satisfaction. If you focus on identifying and then speaking to a customer’s motive for making the purchase, then you should be able to dramatically reduce buyer hesitation and increase your close ratios. When you’re able to identify the motive and satisfy the challenges, you can elicit positive emotion from the customer. Remember, practicality causes a person to delay; emotion causes a person to take action.
- Set and Define Your Goals: Most of us don’t get in a car and start driving with no destination in mind. Why not take a step back from the daily tasks of selling to determine and write down the outcome you are seeking beyond just selling cars and making money. What are your goals? What are you about? What do you hope to achieve? What value do you want to bring to your customers? Define your service to others, what you want to accomplish, how you will get it done, and state the outcome as though it has already taken place.
We are in the business of selling cars and that requires change. A military general once said, “Those who hate change will hate irrelevance a lot more.” I think that says it all.