There is a fine line between being a manager and being a leader. A manager is someone who is in charge of the work place; a leader is someone who inspires, guides, and coaches a team toward a common goal. Chances are you're a manager now because you were very successful as a salesperson. But your success as a manager - and as a dealership - depends on how well you lead your team.
One of the most powerful tools you have is the ability to lead by example. Rather than tell your sales team what you want them to do, coach them on how to do it. Not only does this allow you to nip any mistakes in the bud, it shows your guys that you're invested in their success. Here are some ways to get down in the trenches with your team:
As a manager, you have to set goals, make forecasts, and create action plans each month. And your salespeople should be doing the same thing. Each month, share your action plans and goals with two or three salespeople. Show them how you arrived at your goals and communicate your progress toward them each week. This will not only give your salespeople a more big-picture understanding of the business, it will help them become more effective action planners themselves.
Spend time each month coaching your sales team to make good follow-up phone calls. Choose one salesperson to shadow as he/she makes their follow-up calls to hot prospects. Note what they are doing right as well as areas where they could improve. Then make a few calls yourself and show them how it's done. Check up on them in a couple days to see how they've progressed.
Most leaders in the car business were great closers as salespeople. Share this skill first-hand with your sales team. Take the time when available to get off the desk and engage your salespeople and customers out on the floor. This will keep you more in-tune with how your sales team is actually performing, so you know what to coach them on.
The most successful sales teams don't have the best managers. They have the best leaders - ones that push their teams to achieve by setting the example, holding everyone accountable, and continually coaching their people to get better and better.