Do You Honestly Want to Improve?

By: Joe Verde

Do You Honestly Want to Improve?

Most salespeople will depend on the “hope plan” going into 2014 as usual, instead of planning and controlling their sales. You know the words … I hope it’s a good year. I hope we get some floor traffic. I hope the ad works this weekend. I hope I can get a commitment with these people. I hope we can make the numbers work. I hope I make some money.

If you’re serious about improving and if you want to actually control sales, don’t just hope, start here and make it happen.

1. Track Everything!
Stop fighting it, and start counting what you’re doing each day so you can actually improve. You need to know your rolling 90-day averages (current average) of everything you do in sales in each category.

  • Unit Sales
  • Income
  • Closing Ratio
  • Demos
  • Write Ups
  • Incoming Calls
  • Internet Leads
  • Appointments
  • Shows / Sales
  • Outgoing Follow Up Calls
  • Prospecting Calls / Emails / etc.
  • Customer Breakdown by ‘Type’

If you don’t track, and the dealership doesn’t track anything either, then start using a tracking tool today, so that 90 days from now you can set a good goal. If you don’t know your averages, goal setting is a crapshoot, and 90% of the time it’s a huge highball. That’s why so many people never grow. They guess, highball themselves, then explain why it wasn’t their fault. Soon, most salespeople excel in the habit of failing.

With accurate tracking though, you’ll know exactly what you’re doing now (sales activities & results). That means you’ll know exactly what activities to focus on each month to improve results, and which skills you’ll need to do it. If you don’t know all of your averages, start with results: Your units and income. Look back three months to find your average number of units, and then also find your average total income for those months.

2. Now that you have a base, set an improvement goal for the next three months.
The key words in goal setting are realistic, achievable, specific, written and review. If you sold 30 units in the last three months, what’s a realistic goal the next three months; 33, 36, 48, 60? Doubling may be a piece of cake for some salespeople because they’re willing to do what it takes. For others, 10% may be a struggle because they just don’t want to go the extra distance, they may not have the skills or they may not believe they actually can improve next year.

3. Activities = Results!
After you’ve set realistic goals, focus on increasing your activity averages to reach your unit and income goals. Because deliveries are direct results of demonstrations and write ups, if you set a unit goal of 36 (2 more per month), you’ll focus on improving your average number of demos and write ups, as your daily activity action plan to reach that goal.

For example: Through tracking you know your dealer’s salespeople talk to 60 people per month, give 45 a demo (75%), write 15 (33% of 45) and deliver 10 (66% of write ups). Now that you have the averages, you can easily increase their unit sales and income. From those stats; their demo ratio is great, their closing ratio to write ups is great, the problem: they aren’t ‘closing correctly’ to get more write ups. If those are their stats, I’d guess with such a high closing ratio to write ups, they are prequalifying everyone, talking price and working deals on the lot before the manager ever sees it.

So if the sales goal is to hit 12 units per month, the activity goal would be to get 18 write ups (66% of 18 = 11.9). To improve the number of write ups, you have to have the salespeople stop talking price and stop working deals on the lot, and just sell the car instead. Treat everyone like a buyer, follow the steps and they will just keep improving the stats, and you and the dealer will improve the sales and income.

4. Goals need to be clear and written.
Your goals have to be written and they need to be specific. Then you have to clearly state what your activity action plan will be to reach those goals. J. Douglas Edwards said your goal has to include, “The service you’ll render to achieve that goal.” (aka: What are you willing to do to achieve your goal?) You can’t just do what you’ve done and hit higher levels. There’s a trade off, and that’s what you’ll change and improve about your selling style, skills or activities so you can reach your goal.

5. Goals have to be reviewed.
How often should you review your goals? That depends on how serious you are about reaching your goals. If you set one, but don’t write it down, you can’t review it, and there’s a 94% chance you will not hit your goal. Set it, write it and review it, and just flip the odds to a 94% chance you will reach it. Write your immediate goals on 3×5 cards. Carry one with you, put one on the mirror, one on the refrigerator and read them several times each day and you’ll be amazed at what this year will bring you in sales, income, customer satisfaction or even in getting that new house your family wants.

You can do anything, so just go for it. You’ll be amazed at what you accomplish when you apply yourself.

This article was written by:

- has written 56 posts on Agent Entrepreneur.

Joe Verde Sales & Management Training, Inc., is an automotive sales and management training company focused on leadership, management and sales training. Joe Verde holds workshops across North America and pioneered virtual training with JVTN.

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