Author Archives | Joe

Sharpen Your Success Skills

Sharpen Your Success Skills

No matter what profession you’re in, success skills are your foundational skills — the skills that drive your success. Whether you’re running an automotive agency, a farm, or a golf course, you have to keep track of what you do, you have to set clear goals on what you want to improve, and you have to be organized enough to make it happen.

In sales, you can have all of the other great skills we always talk about, like closing skills or prospecting skills, but until you master success skills, you can still find yourself stuck in the mud some months when it comes to improving your sales and income.

Track, Average, and Chart

Once you develop the “success skills” of tracking, averaging, and charting, you’ll control your future.

Everything that happens in every major company or sport is tracked, averaged and charted. Why? So they can identify the areas they can improve. To continually grow in sales, you need to do the same thing. First, track your basic sales opportunities and your core selling activities. Next, track your results from those opportunities and activities.

1. Track your opportunities by type, including incoming calls, emails and online leads, and floor traffic. Don’t forget walk-ins, be-backs, and repeats and referrals. Why? So you focus your time spent with your best types of opportunities.

2. Track your business development activities, including number of mail outs, prospecting calls, unsold follow up calls, emails sent, appointments set, and appointments that show. Why? To focus your time on the business development activities that produce the most results.

3. Track your selling activities: presentations, demos, committed writeups, and uncommitted writeups. Why? So you know the number of demonstrations, presentations, and write ups that it takes you to make a sale.

4. Track your results, including units, gross, commission per sale (by customer type), and total bonuses and spiffs each month. Average It. Keep a 90-day running average of all of your opportunities, activities, and results. Why? Because a good month or a bad month doesn’t make or break you, but a negative trend in almost any area could.

5. Now chart it to show month and average in each area, so you can see a clear picture of what you’re doing. Charts are easy; updating each takes just one dot and one line.

Do everything I just said for three months, and I guarantee you’ll become aware of what you’re doing, and you’ll improve. Is it too much trouble? Do you not have enough time? Nah, that excuse won’t work — all of this takes you just seconds per day, not hours.

Add to Your Toolbelt

Here is a short rundown on three other types of success skills you can work on to improve. Improving in any of these skills can help you increase your sales.

1. Goal-setting skills: You can accomplish anything, but success will not come to you just because you work hard. You have to be clear about what you want to accomplish, and then create an “action plan” to make it happen.

2. Organizational skills: There really is no such thing as “time management.” The only things you manage are the activities that use up your time each day. The highest achievers work smart, not long. They’ve learned to go-to-work-to-work and use every minute of their day. They stay busy all day either getting more prospects on the lot, selling a vehicle, or following up and prospecting to develop and retain their own customer base.

3. Computer skills: There is no excuse for not using contact management, follow up, or any other piece of software that will help you manage your career. Ask your 6-year-old to teach you.

4. Communication skills: Writing, spelling, grammar, talking, listening, body language, tone, and inflection are all actual skills you actually need now. When you’re with a dealer, there should be no cussin’, no crude or stupid jokes, and skip all opinions about sex, religion, politics, or famous people in jail. Just sell.

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How Can We Sell More on the Worst Day of the Week?

How Can We Sell More on the Worst Day of the Week?

What’s your worst selling day? Let’s assume you picked Wednesday. So every Wednesday is a terrible selling day because there’s no traffic, no incoming calls, nothing to do, nobody to talk to, no sales, no nothing.

And yet, Then, all of a sudden, for some incredible reason, Wednesday usually becomes the best day of the month!

How could that be?

For one thing, at the end of the month, you’re down to the wire. So you start doing your follow-up a few days beforehand so you can get some of those people back on the lot. When that phone rings the last couple of days, instead of blowing the call, talking price or educating the caller, you do whatever it takes to get them in the door.

On those last couple days, when you’re out in the service department or pass the waiting room, you actually talk to a couple of people there to find out if they, or someone they know, may be in the market to trade cars soon.

Oh yeah, and when you finally get an up, you start treating every prospect like they could be the very last person you’ll get to talk to this month, representing your last chance to hit your next-level bonus or maybe even make enough to pay the rent.

When the month is running out, you don’t wait for the ads to generate traffic, you work the phones to schedule as many appointments as you can so you can put more people on the lot. You give each prospect your best, most enthusiastic presentation, and you end up selling two or three units and pulling out your month on the worst day of the week.

Here’s a new thought: It isn’t the day of the week at all. It’s how you spend that day that makes the difference. Just like we teach service writers to schedule appointments during their slow time instead of first thing in the morning, when they’re slammed, you can do the same.

When someone says they’ll come back Thursday, try to push it to Wednesday. Just give them a logical reason: “I know you want a lot for your trade, and I’ll have the highest bidder in town here Wednesday afternoon. Can you swing by after work?”

In summary, to double your sales this month, try this three-step method:

  1. Treat every day you work as though it’s the last day of the month or the year, and give every day 110%.
  2. Treat every prospect as though they are the last one you’ll ever get a chance to talk to and give each of them your very best “basics” process, including the warmup, value-building and closing.
  3. Learn something new every day about how to sell more. You could read a new book about sales every day and not run out.

If you can do those three things, you can double your sales and income right away — and you’ll continue to grow year after year.

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Ask Joe: What is the best way to increase my income by $15,000 a year?

Ask Joe: What is the best way to increase my income by $15,000 a year?

You didn’t say how many units you sell now or how you’re doing, so let’s assume you meant $15k more in the next 7 months.

The math is always first: $15,000 ÷ 7 months means you’ll need an extra $2,142 per month the rest of the year.

If you average $350 in commission, you’d need to sell 6 more per month. Actually, it’s 6 at $357 so you’ll need a bump of $7 to $357 per unit. To earn $7 more at 25% commission, you need to raise your gross $28 per unit.

$28 should be a non-issue. Just use the ‘easy bump close’ (from our 3 Pass Negotiation Process) in your last pass. (Wrap It Up & Final Bump.) As you shake their hand on the deal ask, “My manager said you wouldn’t let $28 bucks stand in the way of getting your new car, was he right?” That’s 50¢ more per month on a 60 month agreement, so you’ll do fine.

Back to the extra 6 units per month. Math again, that’s 1.5 per week, with a lot of different ways to do that.

The easiest way to pull this off, is to sell more of the people you’re already talking to on the lot. The average salesperson talks to 10 people, 8 are buyers, and they only sell 2. Using that math, let’s say a 10 car guy talks to 50 people per month. If 10 is your average, to sell 6 more units, you’ll need to close 32% instead of just 20% of those prospects.

4 easy ways to sell 6 more units…

  • Demo More … 50% who get a good ‘targeted’ demo and presentation on their ‘hot buttons’, buy on the spot.

10 car guys already sell half, and don’t realize it. They only give 40% a quality demo now (4 out of 10), and sell 2.

50 prospects x 40% demo ratio =

20 demos, at 50% closing = 10 sales

50 prospects x 64% demo ratio =

32 demos, at 50% closing = 16 sales

  • Close More … Average closing ratios are 20%. That’s 10 out of 50. To sell 6 more, improve your closing ratio to 32%. 50 x 32% = 16 deliveries.

How? Nothing huge, just go back to page 3 and start improving everything some.

  • Unsold Follow Up … 33% will come back and 67% will buy on the spot.

10 car guys sell 10 and 40 leave. Just get 75% contact info (30). Follow up 30, 10 come back. Deliver 67% of those 10 = 6.7.

  • Or A little of each … Demo just 4 more to sell 2 more units. Improve your closing % by 4% (24%) to sell 2 more. And follow up on just 10 people, 3 will come back and you’ll sell 2 more.

That’s 6 extra units & $2,142 more without breaking a sweat. Or get serious and do all three; improve demos, closing and unsold follow up, and you’ll deliver 18 more.

18 more + 10 you’re selling now would be 28 per month. At $357 per unit plus bonuses, you’d be on track for $120,000 to $150,000 a year.

Tip: plug your own numbers into our calculators so you can really understand your long-term potential from making these ‘no sweat’ improvements. Go to


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Being Productive at Work? It’s a Key to Your Success!

Being Productive at Work? It’s a Key to Your Success!

Great question, because being more productive is your key to success. There are primarily two things that control your productivity at work each day:

  1. Your activities (what you do)
  2. Your skills (how well you do them)

Your daily goal is to stay busy doing productive things your entire shift. Continuous activity keeps your momentum going, and that means more success.

Whether it’s making prospecting calls and getting more appointments, doing your follow-up and getting referrals or appointments, talking to Service customers and showing them a new vehicle and getting a demo or sale, or talking to a walk-in customer and demonstrating and closing another sale – it’s ‘staying busy’ doing productive activities that increases your sales and income.

Again, it’s your activities plus improving your skills at each of those activities.

Most people need to improve their work habits and their skills, and you can easily do this in just a few minutes each day. Plus there’s a side benefit to improving your skills and habits; your attitude dramatically improves and that affects everything you do, too.

Start Here … To start making improvements in your work day and in your skills, first you have to find out exactly what you’re doing now so you can measure your actual improvements.

Keep a ‘work log’ each day for 30 days, and you’ll quickly find out how many hours of your shift you’re actually doing something productive that will affect your sales and income.

‘Waiting’ Isn’t ‘Working’

When we remind salespeople that waiting isn’t working, the average person in class and in our surveys admit they only work about 3 hours of a 9-hour shift, and that’s probably pretty accurate.

On improving your skills, even if you aren’t using our VSA® to track everything, just pay attention. After each sale and attempted sale, replay everything that happened and write things down.

If you will, you’ll quickly start seeing where you lost control, got trapped talking price, or missed an opportunity to handle an objection or close the sale.

Not sure you can see yourself going from wasting most of your day to becoming super productive by tomorrow?

That’s OK, let’s look at two plans on how to break the habit and become more productive a few steps at a time.

Let’s assume you’re only really working 3 hours, too. In those 3 hours you’re talking to customers, chasing paperwork on deals, etc – you’re busy doing something to sell a car.

To improve, starting tomorrow, if you prefer the slow route…

  1. Take 5-10 minutes to train on selling every day on prospecting or unsold follow-up.
  2. Make just five 5-minute phone calls (actual contacts) every day to prospect or follow up someone who didn’t buy.

The math on your productivity improvement:

With the training and the calls, adding some time to log your contacts and put your notes into the system, you’ve added another 45 minutes or so to your productivity each day!

But wait – there’s more great news. If you make those five actual contacts (dials don’t count), that’s 25 contacts the first week. Plus, because you’ve been training on improving your prospecting and follow-up skills, you’re getting more referrals, more appointments, and more be-backs.

If those 25 contacts were to unsold customers, 1/3 of them will come back into the dealership and 67% will buy on the spot. That’s 8 more people next week on the lot to talk to than you had this week. Plus, these 8 will be 5 times easier to close than your regular walk-in prospects.

The Productivity Math … You were already working 3 hours, you added another 45 minutes, and next week you have another 8 people to talk to. That means your actual productive time at work will dramatically improve.

Not even counting the extra time you’ll spend with those other 8 be-backs, by the end of next week, you’ll be working 50% more each day. And guess what happens to your sales and income when you are 50% more productive? Exactly!

Your sales and income will soon go up 50%, too.

Take the fast track (a more serious commitment)…

  1. Keep training and learning how to sell in the next 30 days.
  2. Make 10 of those 5-minute contacts, and also go meet just 3 people in service each day and use the referral script.

Changing habits takes a continuous effort until the new, more productive habits replace the old ineffective habits. Most people figure it takes about 30 days to do that, but in our workshops we always recommend you spend 60 to 90 days of focus instead, just to be sure a new habit sticks. Go for it!

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Sell More and Stay Motivated

Sell More and Stay Motivated

We’ve talked about ‘motivation’ a few times…As a salesperson, it’s easy to become demotivated from being bored waiting for customers to show up, not selling, not making enough money and a host of other things; bills, outside issues, etc. And while ‘selling more’ may be the very short version of the solution, for most people, that is definitely the answer.

When you’re busy, your mind kicks it up a gear and starts working on auto-pilot, and it’s totally focused on selling, not the money you didn’t make last month, not on the fight with the kids about playing too many games on their iPads; it’s just focused on the customer and the sale.

When that happens, you sell more, earn more and find most of those other issues start disappearing. So again, go sell more.

Let’s look at the steps you take that lead to a sale:

  1. You have someone to talk to.
  2. You greet the customer, build rapport and investigate.
  3. You present and demonstrate and close the sale.
  4. You write someone up, close it and send them to F&I.
  5. You make a sale, deliver a vehicle, earn a commission.

Numbers 2, 3 and 4 are the ‘selling activities’ that lead to a sale. But every sale always starts with having someone to talk to, so that has to become the priority.

Solve #1 – and #2 through #5 just fall into place. If you hang with the group and wait for ups, don’t expect much different to happen, it can’t happen because nothing in 1 through 5 changed. But take action, start getting your own customers on the lot and you’ll find everything you dislike disappears, almost overnight…

  • I follow up my unsold customers, I prospect in service, and make 5 to 10 prospecting calls daily, I handle incoming calls and leads correctly, and make my retention calls and contacts on schedule.
  • My appointments show up 70-90% of the time.
  • I deliver over 50%-75% of my own customers.
  • I sell more units and earn higher commissions.
  • I’m pumped, selling cars, having fun and making money.

No rocket science – just a new set of skills and more effective work habits to make #1 a daily priority. You know what needs to be done, that isn’t the question. For the ‘how to’…

You control your career and your income. If you want to sell more, earn more and have more fun, then part ways with the huddle, make # 1 your priority and turn pro in sales.

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It’s Your Skills, Effort & Stamina That Can Make The Difference…

It’s Your Skills, Effort & Stamina That Can Make The Difference…

If you’ll learn more, and then go to work to work harder and work smarter than anybody else will, you’ll earn more than anybody else can, for the rest of your life!

Salespeople and managers always ask me about what I think it takes to really succeed in sales (or in any other business). The answer is surprisingly simple, if you think about it:

 Always Work Hard

And Always Work Smart

That’s simple enough … and in real life almost everyone reading this has worked “hard” before and most people are pretty “smart” overall, but there’s a catch, there’s a word missing…

Sustained Hard, Smart Work

 Again, a lot of people work hard and smart, they just don’t do it long enough to have much of an impact.

I worked with a guy who sold 7 or 8 cars a month and made $2,500. His wife needed an operation, they didn’t have insurance and needed $12,000 right away. So what did he do? He worked real hard and real smart and made the extra money the next month. And then what did he do after the bill was paid?

Exactly, he stopped working hard, he stopped working smart and went back to his 8-car, $2,500 comfort zone. But as soon as the motivator (fear / hate / love / need / hunger / ego / pleasure) is gone, almost everybody lacks the conditioning and determination to keep on going.

Like building your stamina to run up 20 flights of stairs one flight at a time, you build your stamina to work harder and smarter the same way. You may only make it up one flight at a time the first day, but if you keep stretching yourself, before long, the 20 flights that were initially impossible, are now something you do.

I never said work longer. I am not talking about working bell-to-bell every day or working all of your days off. For my first 5 years I sold about 8 units a month and worked 12 hour shifts. One day I finally realized I was just a 4-car guy working two shifts so I quit selling cars. Then I learned to sell, got back in the car business and made more money in 7 months than in my first 5 years combined – and you can, too.

I learned how to sell, close, negotiate, follow up, prospect, use the phone and get organized so I could work smart every day, and I’ve increased my personal income every year since then.

Smart without hard still isn’t enough, though. It’s about stamina again! You have to learn how to go to work to work every single day – not just when you feel like it or when you need the money.

Anybody can work hard & smart for a day, most can put in several good days of work in a row. Many can put in a solid month, a few can duplicate a solid hard & smart month, month after month. But when you really get down to the wire, only a few have the skills, determination, and the discipline it takes to work hard & smart long enough to make it a life-long habit.

And here’s the best part…If you’ll work harder and smarter than anyone else will for just five years – you’ll build such stamina and momentum and you’ll have developed yourself, your skills and your self confidence to such a high degree – that you’ll make more and achieve more for the rest of your life than almost anyone else can.

To work smart – you need skills!

After 5 years of double shifts and not much to show for it, I quit and started a business. When I did, I also realized I better learn how to sell my products or I knew I’d fail there, too. I bought books and started learning more about how to sell, close, follow up, prospect, set goals, use the phone, get organized, get commitments, do the paperwork, negotiate and everything else that had to do with “selling”.

From 8 to 38 units a month – For 5 years I explained to anybody who’d listen why selling more wasn’t my fault and why I had no control over it. Do this instead and totally believe one thing: You have total control over your career in sales if you take charge. If you will, and then if you’ll go to work to work – you’ll sell more and earn more than anybody else can.

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