Tag Archive | "auto sales"

Highlights of Attitude

You must work on keeping your own positive attitude every day. Too many people in automotive sales wait for a good client, an easy sale, a motivational meeting, a seminar, or their manager to provide motivation.

The day you turn pro is the day you realize that attitude in selling is everything. A good attitude is something you must cultivate and grow within yourself. The most important things you carry with you every day are your enthusiasm and your excitement for the job you do in serving people.

A key element in a successful automotive sales career is to realize that people say ‘yes’ to you based more on your conviction and your enthusiasm than anything else. And if you don’t have it inside you, you won’t be able to transmit it to others.

So how do you get this attitude? First of all, you must get rid of some of the things in the past that might be holding you back. Stop dwelling on your failures. You can’t change the past; it’s gone forever; it’s a bucket of ashes. Throw it out and don’t dwell on it. Every time you let it take over your thoughts, you’re reliving negative emotions. Why would you want to allow that to happen?

If need be, take a few minutes now to envision any past failure that’s sticking with you. Picture it on a chalkboard or white board. Then mentally erase it. Get rid of it. If you have been dwelling on it for a long time, you may need to do this exercise more than once (like whenever it raises its ugly head) but do it. Erase that bad experience.

Every morning make a commitment to live in the present moment. The present moment will determine your attitude toward the day — which will determine your productivity. So by keeping the negativity of yesterday you are ruining the future. Let it go and live in the present.

Want — but don’t need — everyone’s approval. You’ll never get everyone’s approval. There’s always someone who will say they don’t agree with you, they don’t believe in what you believe, or that something you propose just can’t be done. Don’t take advice from anyone more messed up than you are! If you do, you are letting them determine your attitude that day.

Another thing to work on is anger. Anger can cost you not only income, but relationships. Control your anger. Don’t let what others say and do upset you. Turn other people around.

What does that mean?

When talking with an angry client, be kind, be gentle. Let them know you are glad they called. Not only will they appreciate this, but also after 2-3 minutes of venting their anxiety and emotions, they will probably apologize for losing their temper. Now you have won a client for life instead of losing one because you matched their anger with yours.

Don’t demand fairness. Many of us get down when we have lost a sale to our competition or because our buyer changed his or her mind. Don’t sit back and say, “That’s not fair.” You’re a grown up, not a little kid. Let it go. If something is not fair, do what you can to change it, but don’t dwell on it if something doesn’t go in your favor. You’ll find things in your life that may not seem fair, but that’s just the way life is.

Procrastination can also negatively affect your attitude. Never do tomorrow what you can do today. Procrastination is a disease that many of us have. Procrastination is defined as living yesterday, avoiding today, and thus ruining tomorrow. If you have this disease, remember it takes 21 days to effect a change. If you will give 21 consecutive days to working on overcoming procrastination, you will overcome it.

Successful people do the things average salespeople are afraid to do, or stop just short of doing. They do what they fear most. By doing those things you fear most, those experiences will add to your strengths and carry you forward to success.

And finally, realize that one of the keys to a good attitude is to be proud of what you do. In our country and our times, people need vehicles to live their dreams. You help those people to have the right vehicles for their needs, at investments they can afford. And you’re good at it because you know your inventory. You are a great listener when potential clients explain their needs and you’re a great communicator. All those traits help you to help them make wise decisions, and you benefit for providing that valued service.

Walk with your head held high because you chose the profession of selling. Go out and do the best job ever.

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Profile of a Champion Closer

When you hear the phrase, “closing the sale,” what comes to mind? Force? Intimidation? Manipulation? Coercion?

For me, “closing the sale” means helping people make decisions that are good for them. The key words here are “good for them.” If you plan to be in the automotive sales business any length of time, you’d better get a handle on that point. The pros in this industry understand that they are serving a need: to help people make automotive decisions that are truly good for them.

In order to succeed at this, you must have the ability to get people to like you and trust you. If they like you and trust you, they won’t fight the sales process. However, if they don’t like or trust you, not only will any strategies you try not work, they’ll backfire, and your clients will feel you are getting pushy. When that happens, they’ll push back. The balance you must achieve is to radiate empathy, while being able to ask leading questions, qualify, present to their needs, call for a decision and then close the sale.

Well-trained salespeople radiate competence and confidence that inspires trust. Top salespeople are confident in their abilities to serve the needs of others in a professional manner. People can sense it in the way they walk, talk and demonstrate a sincere concern about the reasons they are in the dealership.

When salespeople are not well-trained, their lack of confidence shows. They radiate a sense of not being in control — of uncertainty. It almost comes across as a fear of making a mistake that can kill the desire of potential new customers to want to do business with your dealership. Most fears are generated by a lack of knowledge about selling. Selling is an easy business, but it does take some effort to learn to do it well. Most of those fears can be overcome by learning how to ask the right questions to lead and control the sales process, and learning the most psychologically powerful words to speak with clients. By doing this we build our confidence — just by using the right words and making them a natural part of our speech patterns.

The greatest closing tool of all boils down to a single word: “enthusiasm.” I don’t mean the type of enthusiasm that is outward, bubbly, ranting and raving, but the enthusiasm that you have inside of you for the vehicles you represent and the benefits they provide to their owners. To have enthusiasm, close sales and be successful in selling, commit to live by the four Ps of Presentation.

The four Ps
The first is Preplan. Preplan every presentation. Before you meet your clients, preplan. Before you demonstrate a vehicle, preplan. Before you handle an ad call, preplan. All professionals preplan — they don’t wing it! They don’t just get in front of a qualified decision maker and start talking. They know exactly where they are going and have their strategies and techniques planned out in advance.

The second P is Practice. Perfect practice makes perfect. There are many people who practice what doesn’t work. They hear and watch an incompetent salesperson not recognizing the incompetence, and they start doing the same thing. The key is to find a professional who has achieved what you want to do. Set a goal to practice what he or she does and then perfect it.

Third, you must always work to Perfect what you do. If ever you feel you know it all, you are in trouble. The more you know, the more you need to know. As you sell more vehicles and expand your clientele, you’re going to need to increase your knowledge level, too. Remember, there is always a better way of saying and doing things. Don’t allow yourself to plateau.

The final P is Performance. You are putting on a performance each time you interact with a potential buyer or existing client. This doesn’t mean you are phony. It means you are saying the right words the right way to get the end result that is in the best interests of your clients. So, when you talk on the phone, when you meet people in the showroom, when you go on a test drive, it’s a performance. Everything you say and do is part of your performance.

Become a student of selling, study the four Ps, watch what the professionals are doing and search for new techniques, and you’ll be closing more sales!

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Make It or Break It: A Salesperson’s First 90 Days

To grow, you have to stabilize your sales force. To do that, you have to hire the right people and create processes for them to follow. Then it’s up to managers to train everyone initially, and then daily, coaching each salesperson to help them develop their skills and their business, and manage them in their daily sales activities.

We talk about how poorly trained salespeople are, and everyone agrees. I don’t know if you’ve ever thought about it, but the only people who get less training on how to do their jobs than salespeople are the managers in charge of the poorly trained salespeople. For most of us, moving into management was like, “Joe you’ve done a good job in sales, and now we’re promoting you to a sales manager – there’s the desk, there’s the people, now get out there and make me proud.”

With no management training in how to train, coach or manage, much less how to hire, track, set & reach goals, motivate the team and be an effective leader, it’s almost guaranteed that we end up running an 8-car sales team and explaining why it isn’t our fault. In fact, it can’t be an untrained manager’s fault that their group doesn’t do better. Because of our lack of management training, almost all of us get stuck in that “Unconsciously Incompetent” stage of skill development where you honestly don’t even know what you don’t know.

After 27 years of training tens of thousands of managers and salespeople, I can tell you that at whatever level you think you are as a manager, you could double your own abilities and your effectiveness as a manager after just six days of training.

I can also tell you that you already have a staff full of 20 to 30 car guys working for you right now. The problem is that those 20-30 car guys are stuck in an 8-car system that lacks the training, coaching, support, management and accountability to get them to those higher levels. Once managers learn what needs to be done, and how to do it, the sky is literally the limit on your sales, profits and growth.

Here are some tips to start that new guy you just hired off on an effective training program so they can become a high achiever in your dealership.

Their first 90 days in sales…
Once you do find the right person for sales, the first 90 days is the most important part of their career. This is where their selling skills, their work habits and their selling and success attitudes are developed. In this first 90 days, their long-term career decisions and habits are established.

The things they learn – or don’t learn – in their first 90 days will be with them the rest of their career and will help them sell lots of cars. Alternatively, the lack of training in any area will hold them back the rest of their career (and cost you money). New salespeople have to see the real potential, or they’ll never develop the skills they need to become high achievers. For salespeople to be productive, they also have to learn the selling process, how to close and how to turn unsold prospects into be-back-right-aways.

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BMW on Track for FY Record Sales After April Gains

Sales of BMW brand vehicles rose 7.4 percent to while Mini brand volumes edged 0.2 percent lower, according to data published by the company on Tuesday.

“Following on from the best first quarter in the company’s history, we have just reported our most successful April sales ever,” said Ian Robertson, head of sales and marketing for the BMW brand, in a statement.

“We are well on course to achieving a record year in 2012,” he added.

By comparison, sales growth at Daimler’s luxury car brand Mercedes-Benz dropped off its double-digit monthly pace, slowing in April to its lowest rate with just 3.6 percent more cars sold over the previous year’s month, according to Reuters.

Much of that was due to an 11 percent decline in volumes in China, which Mercedes blamed on limited product availability due to model changeovers.

Last week, BMW reported first-quarter profits that hit a new record high and surpassed even the most bullish analyst estimates thanks in large part to China, now it’s single biggest market. It also forecast April volumes would rise about 6 percent.

A rising class of affluent Chinese eagerly snap up luxury brands and have a particular affinity for German luxury cars, which amassed an 80 percent share of the premium market. Virtually every second 7 Series limousine, BMW’s top-of-the-line flagship, is sold in China.

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Toyota Back in the Game, Auto Sales Are the Best in 4 Years

DETROIT – Toyota made a big comeback last month after two years of struggles in the United States, helping the auto industry post its best April results in four years, new figures showed on Tuesday.

Toyota’s sales in the American market increased 12 percent in April, and its market share climbed to 15 percent, the highest point in 17 months, according to The New York Times.

Over all, industry sales rose 2 percent.

Toyota more than doubled sales of its Prius hybrid from a year ago, when prices surged and availability plunged after the earthquake and tsunami that hit Japan. It came within about 1,600 units of outselling the Ford Motor Company, whose sales fell 5 percent.

General Motors had a down month as well, with sales falling 8 percent and its market share dipping to 18 percent from 20.1 percent in April 2011. Having spent the last two years stealing customers from Toyota — first as the Japanese automaker dealt with huge recalls and then after last year’s disasters knocked out much of its production — Detroit will clearly have its hands full again this year, analysts said.

“Toyota’s recovery is ‘mission accomplished,’ much earlier than we thought,” said Jesse Toprak, vice president for industry trends and insight at the automotive research Web site TrueCar.com. “Their buyers are evidently more loyal than we thought.”

Sales increased 20 percent for Chrysler, a slowdown from its recent pace of growth.

Nissan’s sales were flat, and Honda’s fell 2 percent.

Volkswagen reported a 27 percent increase.

Hyundai, Subaru and Mercedes each set company records for April.

G.M. and Ford attributed their declines to fewer selling days this April and reductions in deliveries to car rental companies. But they are also suddenly up against tougher competition from Toyota, which has recently introduced two additional versions of the Prius and a redesigned Camry — the country’s top-selling midsize sedan.

Robert S. Carter, a Toyota group vice president, said those two nameplates were increasingly drawing in buyers new to the brand. But, Mr. Carter said, Toyota is still ramping up production of the Camry and Prius, causing dealers to lose out on some sales.

“Frankly, if we had more Priuses and more Camrys, there’s a bit more volume out there for us,” Mr. Carter said in a conference call with reporters. “We’re having the largest year that we’ve ever had in our history with new product launches.”

Toyota’s performance has surprised many analysts in that it has regained its lost market share without offering big discounts, as carmakers traditionally have done when recovering from a tough period. In fact, Toyota spent less on incentives last month than it did a year ago.

Honda, which also is working to rebound from a bad 2011, increased its discounts significantly with little to show for it. Honda’s incentives as a percentage of vehicle prices reached a record in April, according to TrueCar.

Toyota “did this by the virtue of their products,” Mr. Toprak said. “They’re spending significantly less on incentives than Honda, and Honda hasn’t been able to recover as well.”

Despite its sales decline, G.M. said it was raising its forecast for total industry sales in 2012 by 500,000 vehicles, to a range of 14 million to 14.5 million. Auto sales last surpassed 14 million in 2007.

“We expect gradual improvement in the economy going forward,” Don Johnson, G.M.’s vice president for United States sales operations, said in a statement. “Over time, strength in the manufacturing sector and strong retail sales will lead to more job creation. That will help more consumers put the recession behind them, gain even more confidence and drive vehicle sales higher for both the industry and G.M.”

For the first time this year, gasoline prices ended the month lower than they started it. On Tuesday, the national average price of regular gas was $3.809 a gallon, down from $3.925 a month ago and $3.943 a year ago, according to the AAA motor club.

Gas prices near $4 a gallon have prompted some consumers to buy smaller vehicles, but are not causing overall sales to decline, as happened when prices rose sharply in 2008. Analysts said consumers were increasingly viewing high gas prices as a reason to trade in their current vehicle for a more efficient one.

“Rising gas prices are actually accelerating rather than discouraging new car purchases, as new vehicles have significantly better fuel economy,” Peter Nesvold, an analyst with Jefferies & Company, wrote in a research note.

April had three fewer selling days, excluding Sundays and holidays, than it did a year ago. That much disparity has happened only twice in the last decade, and fewer selling days make it more difficult for automakers to match or exceed their year-ago results.

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Pace of Auto Sales Cooled in April

U.S. auto sales continued at a brisk pace in April although the total volume of vehicles sold increased only slightly due to a quirk in the calendar, lower sales to rental fleets and weaker deliveries from General Motors Co. and Ford Motor Co.

Annualized sales were at a 14.4 million pace, according to researcher Autodata Corp., indicating that auto purchases in the U.S. remain on track to rise by 10 percent or more this year compared with 2011. Auto makers expressed confidence in the sales over the remained of the year. GM on Tuesday said it has boosted its industry sales forecast to between 14 million and 14.5 million new cars and trucks compared with a previous outlook of between 13.5 million and 14 million vehicles, according to The Wall Street Journal.

“We expect gradual improvement in the economy going forward,” Don Johnson, GM’s vice president of U.S. sales operations, said in a conference call on Tuesday. That trend, he said, would allow consumers to “gain even more confidence and drive vehicle sales higher for both the industry and GM.”

Overall U.S. new-auto sales for the month rose 2.3 percent from a year earlier, to 1.18 million cars and light trucks, Autodata said.

April was a mix with Chrysler Group LLC and Toyota Motor Corp. reporting strong gains while others posted declines. Part of the reason was that last month had three fewer selling days than April 2011, an unusual occurrence that can lower sales totals by as much as 11 percent, according to analysts.

GM said it was hurt by a big drop in sales to fleet operators, such as car rental companies. Its sales to consumers were flat. Overall, GM’s April sales fell 8.2 percent to 213,387 cars and trucks. Ford had a big month of fleet sales, which contributed 37 percent of its total, but its April light-vehicle sales fell 5.1 percent, to 179,658, amid drops in sales of the Escape sport-utility vehicle, Fiesta compact and Crown Victoria sedan, which has gone out of production.

“The momentum we have seen at the start of the year is continuing and there is no indication of a slowdown,” said Jesse Toprak, an industry analyst with automotive website TrueCar.com. “The industry kept the same selling rate and best yet, it lowered incentives.”

Chrysler, meanwhile, reported a 20 percent increase to 141,165 vehicles, including Fiat autos. Sales of its passenger cars, which were recently revamped, climbed 37 percent. Chrysler is majority owned by Italy’s Fiat SpA.

One bright spot for all three Detroit auto makers was higher sales of pickup trucks, which bring in big profits. Sales of GM’s GMC Sierra and Chrysler’s Ram trucks both rose about 19 percent. Chevrolet pickup sales rose 5 percent.

Ford, whose pickup sales increased 4.4 percent, got help from buyers like Joe Opsahl, whose family construction company, RMK Concrete Foundations, is based in Stockbridge, Mich. A few weeks ago, he had enough of his 2002 Mercury Mountaineer and decided to do something he hadn’t done in 20 years—he bought a brand new vehicle.

“I’ve always bought used, and it was about time I got something new,” Mr. Opsahl, 38 years old, said from a job site. Using a discount available to his wife, he paid $27,000 for a silver Ford F-150 truck with a six-cylinder engine. “The money was there, and a lot of work is coming in, so I was comfortable” buying a new truck.

Toyota, bouncing back from production disruptions of a year earlier, when Japan was hit by a massive earthquake, said its U.S. sales rose 11.6 percent in April from a year earlier to 178,044 vehicles.

“There is no doubt the Japanese auto makers will be back in the market with high inventory and competitive in fleet sales,” GM’s Mr. Johnson said.

But Honda Motor Co. and Nissan Motor Co. slumped compared with a year ago. Honda’s sales fell 2.2 percent to 122,012 vehicles, despite heavy discounts and promotions on the Civic compact and other top-selling models. Nissan’s sales declined less than 1 percent to 71,329 vehicles, with Nissan brand sales off 0.9 percent and Infiniti brand sales up 5.4 percent.

Sales of GM’s battery-powered Chevrolet Volt fell 36 percent from March to 1,462 vehicles. GM halted production of the Volt in mid-March due to slow sales and resumed production a week earlier than planned last month. The results were still more than the 493 the company sold in April 2011.

Volkswagen of America said it sold 37,525 vehicles in April, a 31.5 percent increase over a year earlier. Its sales of the Jetta sedan, the auto maker’s best seller, were about flat for the month compared with April of last year. Company officials said they haven’t seen evidence that the newly redesigned Passat was taking sales away from the Jetta.

Volkswagen is expanding its U.S. operations, saying last month that it will add 150 new jobs through 2018 as it builds a 30,000-square-foot expansion to its credit office in Libertyville, Ill., scheduled to be completed early next year. Earlier the company said it would add 1,000 jobs at its manufacturing plant in Chattanooga, Tenn., to meet growing demand for the 2012 Passat.

Luxury-car makers again delivered big gains. U.S. sales of Daimler AG’s Mercedes brand vehicles rose 23.8 percent compared with a year earlier to 22,336; BMW AG said its BMW brand rose 12 percent to 21,062; Audi brand sales rose 15 percent to 11,521 vehicles.

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