Managing a department with an 80% annual turnover rate isn’t for the faint of heart. Add in an inventory shortage, social distancing, and a sharp increase in digital retailing; and, it’s enough to make somebody crazy. The good news is, sales managers don’t have to go on a yoga retreat to escape the chaos. There are manageable steps to make the sales department better and keep your General Manager happy. Avoid these common pitfalls to get out of survival mode as we skate into 2022.
Successful Dealership Sales Managers Avoid These 7 Things
Apathy Toward Turnover
Dealerships have two options when it comes to the high turnover rate that the industry is known for. They can either chalk it up as an unavoidable norm, or they can proactively counteract it. A good sales manager will avoid apathy about his team’s turnover rate. By creating a positive team atmosphere and adhering to consistent training, sales managers can combat the revolving door. Ensure there is a written training process that is the same for every new salesperson, covering every aspect of the job.
As a sales manager, you’ve got to think about more than just the sales team. (Nobody said it was an easy job!) A good sales manager knows that both variable and fixed operations have to work together. Make sure to keep healthy communication with the parts manager as well. Working together with the parts department will ensure you’re using appropriate lead-in products, in the know on accessory inventory, and providing a smooth transition for your customer. When parts and sales work together, a great sales experience can quickly give way to a positive accessory presentation and a stellar service experience. Do your part by introducing your customer to the service department once they’ve purchased their vehicle. Make sure all departments are working together to smoothly move the customer through the buying and service process.
Rusty Product Knowledge
The best sales managers are even better salespeople. And, sometimes, sales managers get bogged down in their daily responsibilities—letting some of their product knowledge or sales expertise slip. It’s tough to teach and train your staff when you’re not up to speed yourself. Continue educating yourself right along with your sales staff. They'll see your level of commitment and take the training more seriously themselves. The more you know, the better equipped you are to lead your staff and retain them.
Lacking Follow Up
Ensuring your sales team follows up on leads and customers is essential. It’s easy to sell a car and then shift all your focus to the next sale. However, with inventory shortages and the constant changes in the industry, it’s more important than ever to follow up after each sale. Drill into your team the importance of capturing information on every contact and doing appropriate follow-ups to best use your sales funnel. Thank customers for their business with a handwritten card, and send special service promotions on occasion.
Neglecting Individual Needs
A sales staff of any kind is made up of all different types of people. You will likely manage a seasoned salesman who struggles with technology simultaneously as a young new hire that’s never had a job. Though challenging, making concentrated efforts towards individual needs will go a long way in retaining your staff. Like a teacher in a classroom, a one size fits all approach is rarely effective. Instead, bring the team together on the heart of the matter (hitting goals, consistent training, accessory sales process, customer transition, etc).
Every salesperson is motivated by making extra cash, and dealers factor that into their goal setting. The dynamic of competing with your co-workers and shrinking profit margins is challenging enough—so don’t make incentives overly challenging to obtain. Instead, find ways to create a team atmosphere with an extra incentive. Pull the General Manager into your next sales meeting and let him hand out cash for the top earners. Instead of creating an atmosphere of cutthroat competition, cultivate an atmosphere of positivity and opportunity. Additional incentives for accessory sales will both motivate salespeople and boost your front-end gross.
Knowing your staff’s strengths and weaknesses is paramount to your success. Peak times in the car business calls for salespeople you can depend on to do a thorough job. In addition, scheduling can be a motivator for your team. Those that follow your process, engage in ongoing training, and check all your boxes earn the opportunity to sell more cars based on their schedule. As the sales manager, you’ll know when to give someone a chance and when to put your best foot forward. Failure to do so can have a domino effect on meeting goals, improving CSI scores, garnering repeat business, and more.
Make More Car Sales Than Ever!
Insignia Group is the leading provider of digital accessory platforms in dealerships nationwide. Our user-friendly system enables you to register customers’ information, process accessory transactions, communicate cross-departmentally, and keep vital records for employee incentives, part sales—and so much more! Insignia Group dealers won’t have to worry about eating installation or parts costs due to inaccurate information. Parts managers can update parts and labor pricing in real-time, saving salespeople from headaches and more memorization. With 3D configurators to show accessories on the vehicle, accessory sales have never been easier, and incentives are more obtainable. Contact us today to learn how one of our expert consultants can tailor an accessory process to your dealership.