Courtesy of Insignia’s guest blogger: Kurtis Smith of the K-method Group
It is no secret that we are all experiencing some difficult times in our respective economies and that these times are causing many in the automobile industry to question their career paths. However, even in these challenging times, there are those that continue to flourish because they seem to know something that many or their counterparts do not.
These individuals continue to give themselves pay raises every month and every year. They have figured out some time ago that they have to make up in volume what they lack in skill or make up in skill what they lack in volume.
For decades we have known that the majority of those selling on the frontlines of automobile dealerships have lacked the necessary skills that they need to be effective, but due to the abundance of prospects that used to walk through the doors, this issue was continually ignored. Today it is common place to see these salespeople jumping from dealership to dealership chasing the hot product or compensation plan to compensate for the roller coaster effect in their income. This unfortunate reality is one of the symptoms of an individual that lacks the knowledge of how to effectively build a book of business or create a customer following. The irony is that many of these salespeople will boast about having a significant amount of years in the business simply because they lacked the formal education and skills. It’s seems that it’s Reckoning time!
The key to not just surviving in these challenging times, but to flourish is to become a tactical seller, to go on the offense by being proactive instead of standing around waiting for prospects, which is being reactive. These individuals who have gone on the offense have learned not only to sell professionally, but to sell differently and become proficient in packaging their offering in different combinations so as to appeal to each buyer uniquely. They have modified their selling style and their processes because they have accepted the fact that consumers have access to more information than ever before to include invoices, incentives and so on. They have come to terms with the fact that their customers prefer to negotiate from the bottom up, not the other way around, so they have redefined their strategy to increase their gross margins and therefore increase their personal income. In addition, as tactical sellers, these professionals realize that it’s futile not to give the client exactly what they want, so consequently they spend a good amount time building value and cultivating the relationships in order to position themselves as the expert when making buying recommendations.
It is important to note that the fundamental value to selling accessories is that they have no published invoice price, and like art or fine jewelry, the perceived value to the consumer rests in the seller’s ability to articulate and transfer the benefits of ownership though a proper presentation. The tactical seller knows this and through a proper needs analysis, they are able to identify potential opportunities before they begin to make a presentation. These add-ons are introduced by the tactical seller earlier in the selling process and they are able to demonstrate and present the accessories as a must-have instead of a should-have. The difference here is that most salespeople discuss accessories as an afterthought where their “oh by the way” approach diminishes the value and importance causing it to be perceived as unnecessary.
With that being said, here are a few things that you can do as a salesperson to up your game so that you can join these selling professionals who are currently flourishing in these difficult times.
#1 Upgrade Your Skills – You have to make up in skill what you lack in volume. If your dealership client count is low, then you have to increase your business development activities. Engaging in Business Development activities is your responsibility and as such, it should be a part of your daily work plan. The benefit of this process is that you will have clients walking through the door asking for you by name.
#2 Keep More Clients Than You Lose – When you are building a book of business, your objective is to find and keep customers. This means that you have to become good at CRM as a process by becoming knowledgeable about CRM the software. Customer Relationship Management is the key to growing a large and profitable book of business. This tool and process in the hands of a capable selling professional is the key to experiencing compounding sales and income.
#3 Commit to Selling Accessories – If you cannot beat them, join them. The best part about selling accessories is that your cost is not a published item, so it leaves you room to actually create a profitable deal even though the vehicle selling price may be low. The key to selling anything starts with knowing your product and accessory product knowledge is critical to knowing what item in your tool bag works best with what vehicle. Knowing the benefits and drawbacks of these items when making recommendations to your clients will be perceived by them as counseling instead of selling which makes you look like the expert.
This is tactical selling at its best, and is a strategy that anyone can use to give themselves a pay raise today!
Connect with Kurtis: