Tag Archive | "sales training"

Raiders of the Lost Profit


There are a few ways dealerships lose profit, which they can fix right now. Here’s a look at some of the biggest offenders.

Monday Mornings
It’s the same every week: Monday morning you walk into the office, get your coffee and look at the stack of deals that are piled up on your desk from the weekend. By the end of the day on Saturday and Sunday, everyone just wanted to hurry up and get out of there, so this is how you start every week. The last thing you want to see on a Monday is a customer in the showroom when you have paperwork piled high from the weekend. Thank goodness there are only four Mondays in a month! You have to be more administratively sound so you can handle those deals quicker on Monday mornings, because you have a Monday every week. If we don’t deal with things quickly and efficiently on Mondays, then it can have a trickle-down effect into the rest of the week and can be a big way to lose profit.

CITs
Next we have CITs or Contracts in Transit – in other words, the money is not in the bank yet. And again Monday is just the start of it. CITs are like bananas: they start out nice and ripe, but then they just get riper, and then next thing you know you have to throw them away. It’s the same with CITs – the longer they sit on your desk before they get to the bank, the more the dealership is losing. That’s why at UDS, when we refer to a CIT, we call it a “Cash It Today.” If you can change your thinking on this, and get CITs cashed the same day, that will be one more way you won’t be losing profit.

There are several ways you can cash a contract today: self fund, eContracting, fax funding or overnight enveloping. If you want to get a deal cashed right away, utilize the most up to date processes, and use the checklists in deals. There are always checklists, but no one ever seems to utilize them – they just throw the list in there. That’s like flying without gas in the plane.

In F&I, you should be ironing out the most difficult challenges first. It’s human nature to have a tendency to save the worst for last, but that’s a terrible strategy in F&I because as those deals are waiting, the difficulties are getting worse. You have to go over the worst first, and only once they are handled can you move on to the easy ones. It’s the exact opposite of the way you did things in college when you would do the all the easy problems first on a test and then go back and save the hard ones for last.

Heat sheet meetings are important to ensure everyone is working for the same, common goal: to get the deal funded. This way, everything is not just riding on your shoulders; everyone has the same goal in mind. Depending on the size of the dealership, you should have meetings every day or every other day.

Internet, Credit Unions, Cash and Lease Deals
F&I managers have a tendency to work the deal if the customer is at the dealership, but if the customer is away from the dealership, an Internet or phone deal for example, the F&I manager will tend to take that deal and throw it on their credenza until the customer comes in. Unfortunately, what usually happens next is that when the customer does come in, they come in with pre-approved credit, a check or they may have already done their financing, leaving the F&I manager pretty much locked down. You have to be proactive, not just be reactive. You have to be out in the trenches, every day before you go to work, talking with management teams and sales consultants to find out what’s going on.

F&I has not really embraced the Internet shopper yet. Statistics have proven that in the last couple of years, 80-85% of customers are coming to us from the Internet. As a result, we’ve got to change our mindset. The Internet customer is probably more important to you than the ones on the floor. In fact the Internet customer has expressed an intention to come to you to buy that car, and the problem is we’re not ready to sell it to them. Instead we take them through this whole process and it just bogs them down. We are not Internet-savvy enough in F&I; we have to embrace those transactions. The biggest problem is that we don’t have a process for Internet customers – no one calls them and everyone waits for them to come into the dealership. That’s going to cost you tons of money. Get smart and use the phone, and be ready when they arrive; that’s what they want. Make it a big event when they arrive. You will sell more cars and make more money. It’s the same with credit union, cash and lease deals – we need to embrace those deals too.

We often ask the customers, “What’s the rate?” when we find out they are going to a credit union. Stop asking that question, and instead ask why they are going to the credit union in the first place. If they say it’s because that’s where they do all their business and they are loyal to them, then you’re not going to beat that, but if they say it’s because they are getting a great rate, then you’ve got something to work with. If you just ask them what the rate is, they aren’t going to tell you the truth; they are likely going to tell you they are getting a much lower rate than they actually are getting from the credit union.
Learn to embrace credit union, lease and cash deals the same as you would finance deals; they come with the territory. Remember, everyone faces the same perils of the road whether they are a lease, cash or finance deal. Slow down the deal and allow the process to drive your profits.

Attitude: YOU are the greatest challenge
Your attitude can make money or can displace money. If you have a really good attitude about every deal, then you’re going to make money. If you think you can, you probably will; if you think you can’t, you probably won’t. It’s all about attitude. Look in the mirror and ask yourself, “Am I part of the pitfalls of F&I? Am I a DO-er or a do NOT-er?”

Our attitude is usually dictated by the kind of deal we get in F&I. You have to look at every deal you have as an opportunity whether it’s a finance deal, cash or lease deal. We know that 80% of our money comes from a finance deal. So you have to set your menu up properly; I’ve witnessed F&I managers use the same menu whether it was finance, lease or cash and they will have products on their menu that the customer simply doesn’t qualify for. For example, they will have GAP on a menu where the customer is putting 50% down. Or they will have a service contract for 5 years or 75000 miles on a lease for only 3 years and it makes no sense! You have to tailor the presentation to the type of deal it is as well as the customer’s driving criteria, which you will find out during the introduction.

Lost Opportunities in the Service Drive
A lot of F&I managers are relying on the service managers to do their job for them. It is the F&I manager’s job to hold the service manager accountable to send them referrals. Instead of going in the front door, they should go in the service walk every morning and ask, “Hey, what’s going on? Have you got any deals today? Do you have any customers who are almost out of their factory warranties that I can talk to?” Instead of relying on the service manager to bring you the deal, you need to be proactive.

Mysteriously Appearing Deals, or Dude Where’s My Car?
Form an alliance with the sales staff. Go out and really talk with them and find out what kind of appointments they have going on. You have to have a willingness to manage deals, even if the customer isn’t at the dealership – that is the biggest challenge. Utilize your CRM, Customer Retention Tool. You have to have access to that tool and use it consistently, because it’s the eyes and ears of the sales and sales management staff, in order for you to be proactive and know what’s going on.

Multiple Product Sales
F&I managers don’t really follow a menu process that allows them to get multiple products. Often times they rely on the banks’ call back, and the banks frequently limit their callbacks to the number of products they can sell. They rely on how the deal was structured at the desk, and if the desk cuts them out then they feel that they can’t sell any more products. This is a lost profit opportunity because you can offer every product to every single customer – it’s in the manner in which you do that. Sometimes you may be locked out, but you can tell the customer, “Look, we are making these products available to you. Some of them we can finance and some of them we can’t. If you are interested, then we will find a means to get you into those products.” We should always tell them this because there are all sorts of ways you can do it, such as repayment plans. You can’t allow the call back or the sales desk to dictate your destiny in F&I.

Follow the 300 Rule, which is this: Present 100% of the products to 100% of the customers 100% of the time (assuming they qualify). Every customer must have the opportunity to at least know the products available to them. Consider the ABC’s of F&I: The A is always ask permission. When I was a kid, I was taught to say, “may I.” If you said, “can I,” then the adult would tell you that you couldn’t, but if you were polite they would respond, “Yes, you may.” So you learned to be polite and ask permission. The B is for break down the options. Instead of breaking down products on a menu, or any type of presentation you have, break down the options and narrow the choices. You have four columns on the menu – you might have six or seven products on the first column, that’s six or seven choices. You want to make that so that it’s one option. You break down the options, and therefore you only have four choices that the customer has now, instead of six or seven. C stands for close on the options, don’t close on individual products. When a customer says, “I’ll take GAP; I had it on my last car.” You respond with, “Great, which option would you like it in?” rather than just saying okay.

Utilize a final disclosure. The menu should be used as a disclosure, and the final disclosure should be your waiver. If you look at the F&I menu as a selling tool, then you are looking at it the wrong way. It’s nothing more than a disclosure after you give a presentation.

Finally, tell your story, don’t sell your story! Tell your story as you expose your products on the menu. Sell your story after you’ve exposed all your products on the menu. There’s a difference between a feature and a benefit. The feature is the tell, the benefit is the sell. You want the feature presentation initially, then after you do the feature presentation, you do the benefits presentation. That would be the sell.

Don’t let excuses get in the way of your strengths. The bottom line in avoiding lost profit opportunities is to consistently use effective processes, proper procedures and to always have a positive attitude. A bad attitude is like a flat tire; it will never get you anywhere. Remember these tips and soon you will be busy counting your profits and not thinking about your lost opportunities!

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Catching “The Big One”


Are you still floating in the muddy waters near the shoreline rowing your way to the fishing hole while gazing with envy when an M70 sport fishing yacht with all the bells and whistles whizzes past you?

This isn’t an article about fishing, but the analogy can be likened to your aspirations to “catch” a 100 service contract account. You want to own one of those yachts. You can’t figure out what’s missing from your already full tackle box. You’ve got the highest quality gear. You’ve been in the industry a long time. You’ve seen and done it all. You’ve spent years in finance and know dealers statewide, and they know you. You’ve done your homework and price out your products by what you think the industry will hold. You’re certainly worthy of a reasonable commission.

Or maybe you’re an entrepreneur and can’t seem to grow your customer base.

Many dealers nationwide are looking for a change in product providers. The recession and exploding use of social media and technology have changed the way they conduct business. Their needs are not only different, it’s difficult for them to keep up with all the rules and regulations that should be followed by their finance personnel. This is where you’ll find your opportunity to compete in the “Fishing Tournament” with the leading competitors.

How can you compete and become known as a champion in the industry? How can you bring in the tunas along with the minnows? First, by learning to listen and observe and evaluate. Every dealer has a problem. Maybe more. Be the problem solver. Before you throw out your hook and line of products, know what’s needed or what needs to be changed and why. This requires that you have exceptional F&I training. It’s essential for success in your “fishing” endeavors.

Why? It’s not only about high-quality products, pricing and options; corporate agents will out-bid you. Besides, they’re long-time champions who know the treacherous waters facing dealers in today’s economic environment and have an impressive cache of gear to sell them. The corporate name alone sells the products. Your success is not based on having the fanciest fishing gear or the biggest and fastest boat. It’s not having the ability to convey an exaggerated fish story in a believable manner. It’s about having the right attitude and building a trusted and personal rapport with the dealer and finance officer. It’s about having thorough knowledge of every new law and regulation and sharing your expertise with dealers and F&I managers to assist them in with any breaches in their methods that could put them at risk of a law suit.

The acquiring of knowledge and training is never “finished.” Dealerships and even third-party administrators are under the radar of the FTC and CFPB, who are initiating serious lawsuits. Compliance and transparency in selling are not just critical, they’re fundamental necessities. Don’t get caught in uncharted waters by the circling federal sharks. Become the service contract agent who can provide dealer personnel with exemplary F&I training and guidance on compliance and technology.

Every F&I manager needs updated and regular training in how to actively engage customers in their completely “transparent” menu options process. Performance tracking is required. Although technology tools are employed by nearly every dealership, they come with more regulations and legal scrutiny. Dealership compliance manuals must be intact and updated to reflect sound practices. Adverse reaction letters must be recorded and kept on file.

In June of 2012, the FTC charged EPN, a Utah debt collector, and a Georgia budget car sales dealership for “illegally exposing sensitive personal information of consumers” by allowing peer-to-peer file sharing software to be installed on their company PC systems. Agents and dealership personnel must know that all files shared on a P2P network can be viewed and downloaded by anyone with access and have proper security plans to inhibit this risk.

Why is this a litigious issue of increasing concern? Because the FTC charged that “the names, the addresses, social security numbers, dates of birth and drivers license numbers of approximately 95,000 consumers were made available to the P2P network.” The car dealership also allegedly failed “to provide annual privacy notices” and “a mechanism by which consumers could opt out of information sharing with third parties, in violation of the GLB Privacy Rule.”

Be an agent who offers dealership partners the most commendable service. Sell your value as someone who can enhance opportunities for increasing profits by limiting liability. Be the champion who can lead dealerships through perilous waters by minimizing their legal scrutiny. Training, long-term development, compliance and technology. It’s a winning combination and far from a mere offering of product price quotes. Today’s agent is equipped with the mightiest of tools, a Crowder Deep Drop Rod designed for the big-game fisherman — one who grows his own business while sharing his experience and knowledge with others.

William Tapply, author of A Fly-Fishing Life, said, “I’ve gone fishing thousands of times in my life, and I have never once felt unlucky or poorly paid for those hours on the water.”

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The Science Behind the Sale


Bart Carpenter is not a trained psychologist, but he does have some insights into the human mind that he thinks could be useful to agents. At Agent Summit 2012, he presented “Increasing Product Sales Through Customer-Tailored Presentations,” a workshop designed to help give agents a new edge in their presentations to dealers.

Carpenter’s approach begins with collecting subtle clues to determine each customer’s communication style, then applying proven techniques to build relationships and overcome resistance. “It’s a skill, not a process,” he says. “From an agency standpoint, it’s about trying to get products in dealerships and trying to get them to sell it.”

Mr. Personality

Carpenter currently serves as director of training and consulting for GSFSGroup in Houston. He got his start in the auto industry after moving from his native Mississippi in 1987. He first worked his way up to management level at a major dealer group, then made stops at Half A Car and Joe Verde’s Training Network before going to work for Toyota Motor Corp. in 2003.

Carpenter was part of the team that launched Toyota’s Scion marque. Carpenter’s job was to “train the trainers,” and it was this experience that helped shaped his methods. Scion’s marketing was aimed squarely at the youth market, and the new cars were sold under the “Pure Price” model.

“When you can’t negotiate, that puts the salesperson back in the game,” Carpenter says. “What will make the dealership stand out is selling value.”

When he joined GSFSGroup in 2006, the company asked him to put that revelation to use. Carpenter led a team that developed a training curriculum based on selling the value of F&I products. The key point for agents, he says, is to focus not on how you sell, but why the dealer buys.

Deep Thinking

In many cases, GSFS’s method requires agents to put aside much of what they think they know about the selling process. Human beings are, by nature, reluctant to change, and dealers are no different. To break through the wall of resistance, Carpenter offers a four-step process.

Step 1: Consider the science behind decision-making. Agents who start their presentations by listing the product’s features and benefits may be putting themselves at a serious disadvantage. Carpenter says that decisions are made “from the inside out,” and one must first appeal to the internal, subconscious part of the brain. “It is what Simon Sinek calls the ‘Golden Circle,’” he says. “Think about buying a car. It’s an emotional decision looking for logical justification.”

To target the part of the brain that controls decisions and behavior, look for reasons why a dealer might feel the need for a change. Ask about the strength of the support behind their current lineup. Is the dealer getting the support, service and training they need? How about pricing? “They won’t see the change or be willing to change unless they see the need,” Carpenter says.

Step 2: Recognize the decision-maker’s communication style. As illustrated in the chart below, there are four basic types of communicators, and everyone falls into at least one category. “Some people I can pick up on in a matter of seconds; some take three or four visits,” Carpenter says. “The majority you can identify in minutes.”

Personality Grid

Those minutes are spent asking open-ended questions that demonstrate genuine interest and keep the dealer talking. Pay attention to the pace: If they answer quickly, they’re most likely “dominant” or “influential.” Slower answers indicate a “conscientious” or “steady” type. But those aren’t the only clues. Carpenter also looks for key words and phrases, volume and body language.

Step 3: Learn how to read each type. Dominant types like to control the conversation, solve problems and get immediate results. Conscientious communicators prize quality and accuracy, and they ask a lot of “why” questions. Influential customers tend to be democratic and optimistic, and they don’t like to be slowed down by details. Steady types are sincere, helpful and conflict-averse.

But what does all that mean to an agent? Better communication, a quicker rapport and greater influence, Carpenter says, once you’ve mastered the final step.

Step 4: Personalize your presentation. Tell your dominant clients how your product solves their problems. To the influential, explain how it will make their dealership more competitive. Tell the conscientious how it reduces risk. For the steady, explain why the results will be more predictable.

By taking in all the information and details and tailoring your presentation to your client, Carpenter says, you will close more deals and create more productive dealers. In short, he says, “Get on the same wavelength.”

The Breakthrough

If you tell Carpenter that this theory of sales sounds a little too touchy-feely for you, your agency or your dealer clients, he won’t mind. But he will point out that GSFS has trained scores of F&I managers on the same process, and the results have been good: On average, their students have enjoyed a 10 percent increase in vehicle service contract sales and a $200 boost to their profit per retail unit.

“We don’t teach it as a process,” Carpenter says. “We teach it without putting a label on it. We just teach them to ask questions and pay attention to what they hear and see.”

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New Course on JVTN: Critical Skills Salespeople Need to Sell More


ORANGE COUNTY – A new course offered on Joe Verde’s Training Network® provides salespeople and managers in the automotive industry training on the most critical skills needed to sell more vehicles.

This new online course, “Skills You Need To Sell A Car To Your Next Customer” is the sixth release this year by Joe Verde Sales & Management Training Inc. The course features 18 interactive chapters, including additional bonus chapters of trainer discussions on key points, a Leader’s Management Guide, and individual training plan for each chapter, and a course workbook.

The new module reveals the processes and steps salespeople should take to turn hot button features into advantages and benefits, using current inventory, creating urgency and dealing with price and objections.

Joe Verde, is president of Joe Verde Sales & Management Training, Inc. The company has trained high industry achievers in automotive sales since 1985.

“Sales are made or lost on the lot based on the value you create and on your skills at closing and handling your customer’s buying objections,” said Verde. “This course helps salespeople turn what they learn into skills they can use every day in ‘the real world’ of selling.”

“Salespeople know that the rules in the car business have changed – today there is a new market with new customers and new rules – it’s not business as usual anymore,” he said. “In these new courses on JVTN® we coach salespeople on building and mastering new skills while avoiding the most common mistakes salespeople make.”

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Dedicate Yourself to Educate Yourself


One of the most important lessons I’ve learned in life is that no one else is going to look out for you as well as you will look out for yourself. To become and remain a professional in the automotive industry, you must recognize that you are in charge of your own education and act on that fact. Build on your strengths and correct your weaknesses. If you aren’t sure of what to work on first, there is certainly someone in your life who will gladly assist you—your manager, your spouse, your children, or a trusted friend.

There are some common, basic skills that apply to the business world. They all impact how well we relate to the needs of others to feel important when they’re around us; to accept the education we provide about our vehicles and the industry; and to help them own a vehicle that’s truly a good choice for them.

Here are six skill areas that I strongly recommend you consider developing or strengthening as they have made all the difference for many of my students:

Memory

Having a good memory is critical to anyone in today’s world, but especially for those of us who meet many new people every week. I have learned to make a game of it in my career. I challenge myself to remember as many people and their stories as I can. There are some great courses and books written on this subject. Even if you learn and use only one small strategy, I guarantee you’ll see the benefit of having done so. One little strategy that I learned and have used for years is to repeat each person’s name to myself four times when I first hear it. “Jim and Sally Parker.” “Jim and Sally Parker.” “Jim and Sally Parker.” “Jim and Sally Parker.” It may sound silly, but it works. Just remember to say it to yourself.

A Second Language or a Culture Study

Consider the part of the country in which you live and those people you do business with. As our country continually redefines itself by its people, be aware of the advantages of being able to communicate with others in their native tongues. Today’s projections show that both Hispanic and Asian portions of the population are on the increase. To be able to work with more people, you must learn more about them, their language and their cultures.

Voice

Since your clients choose to get involved with you based on what you say, doesn’t it make sense that you train your voice to give the highest level of professional presentation? If you’ve never considered voice training before, record yourself giving a portion of your presentation. Then listen to it. Most of us hate the sound of our own voices. Just imagine how our clients must feel when listening to us. Your goal is to project your message with clarity and power.

Public Speaking

Many professionals in this business find that giving short speeches in their communities helps build their name recognition and their businesses. Public speaking is also a great way to build your confidence. Try your skills out by speaking to your child’s class about what you do for a living or a hobby you have. Teachers love it when the students can learn first-hand about careers. Join Toastmasters International or take a Dale Carnegie course. There are local chapters in just about every city. They provide excellent opportunities to hone your skills and meet other business professionals with whom you might do business or share referrals.

Math

Don’t cringe on me here. I know many people hate math. However, in business, you need to have some basic math skills. Invariably, you’ll have a potential client who will have champagne tastes and beer budgets. You need to understand what they can truly afford before trying to find them the car of their dreams. Know the current interest rates on vehicles and play with the math on a range of vehicle investments. Learn how to quickly determine what a monthly investment might be on a vehicle prior to persuading the client that it’s right for them. I know the favorite computation of every salesperson who works on a fee basis is to determine their percentage of every sale. Don’t stop there. Play the numbers game often and you’ll get better at winning.

Negotiation

Do you consider yourself a trained negotiator? Trained negotiators can quickly and effectively analyze the details of situations and determine the best route to resolution. If that brief description doesn’t fit you, make an effort to find a book, audio or seminar on the subject. Then, schedule the time to learn from it.

Choose just one of these six areas and dedicate yourself to improving in it this month. Then, next month, choose another. Once you get started on this journey of self-education, you’ll be amazed at what you learn and how simple things can have a powerful impact on your overall success in life.

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Salespeople Train To Earn Six Figures In Newest JVTN Course


ORANGE COUNTY – Joe Verde aims to help automobile salespeople earn $100,000 plus by becoming professionals in sales. Joe Verde’s new course introduced on JVTN®, Joe Verde’s virtual sales training network for the automotive industry, explains the income potential in auto sales and their hottest income opportunities to become high achievers in sales.

The new online course available to JVTN® subscribers, “Can I Really Make $100,000+ Every Year Selling Cars?” features eight interactive chapters, with additional bonus chapters of trainer discussions on key points, a management guide for both group and individual training, and course workbook.

The course shows salespeople the possibilities and potential of earning a six-figure income every year by improving their skills and focusing on just five key areas in sales.

“Salespeople in this industry have tremendous income potential, but most just aren’t aware of how easy it really is to improve their sales and incomes, and their customer satisfaction at the same time,” said Joe Verde, president of Joe Verde Sales & Management Training, Inc.

Verde has developed high achievers in automotive sales since 1985 with his training process. Throughout 2012 and 2013, his company will regularly introduce new online courses for JVTN® on critical topics to assist dealership managers in developing salespeople who can sell more units in the changing economy.

“From the very first chapter in this course, salespeople will quickly realize where and how they can improve their unit sales and incomes,” Verde added.

“Whether they started yesterday or have been in automobile sales for 20 years, understanding their customers and these critical skills and work habits will determine the final outcome of their paychecks in today’s market. If any salesperson has the desire to grow and improve their income, this course will definitely show them how.”

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