Don't Bring Me Down
When customers walk into your store, they feel the culture you've established - whether it's warm and inviting or hostile and off-putting. For better or worse, every interaction that customers have with their salespeople will make or break your dealership's reputation. What type of environment are you fostering? Here are some questions to help you figure it out:
Are you proactive or reactive when it comes to meeting your sales goals?
The culture at many stores is to set forecasts at the beginning of the month and only follow-up with them at the very end. This creates the mad dash to find deals on the last few days of the month. Proactive stores, on the other hand, have the same focus and intensity throughout the entire month - not just the last 3 days. Managers consistently work with their salespeople to review targets, go over product and sales training, and find more deals - which ultimately leads to more sales and revenue.
What kind of attitude does your sales team have?
Are employees at your dealership happy, cordial, and professional? Or do they act negative, bored, and distant? Promoting a positive culture means more than telling your salespeople to "have a good attitude"; it requires actually making them feel respected and purposeful in their work. Managers can do this by asking each of their salespeople two simple questions: Why did you get into selling in the first place? and What keeps you selling now? The answers will help you determine what makes your salespeople tick - information you can use to motivate and build confidence in them. For instance, if one of your salesmen started selling because he has good people skills and he keeps doing so because he's saving up for a house, you can manage to his strengths (people skills) while using his ambition (buying a house) to keep him motivated.
Do you lead by example?
At the end of the day, your dealership's culture is dependent upon you. If you want to instill a positive and productive environment, you need to be positive and productive yourself. The best managers keep their teams focused and driven throughout the entire month, holding regular one-on-ones with each salesperson to make sure they're on the right track. Conduct yourself in the same way you'd like your dealership to be conducted, and your (happier, friendlier) team will follow.
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