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Res Firma Mitescere Nescit…And How To Keep It Up

If you've seen the movie, you know the line. It's not earth shattering, but it was more than a decent movie. American Flyers came out in post-LA Olympic 1985 and starred Kevin Costner (very pre-Waterworld), David Grant (as his younger brother), Jennifer Grey (Dirty Dancing), Rae Dawn Chong (yes, Tommy Chong's daughter), Alexandra Paul (Baywatch), John Amos, Robert Townsend (plenty of star power there) and an otherwise strong cast.

When the brothers walk into the sports institute, the character played by John Amos (who heads the facility) reads the slogan hanging up above the various people working out "Res Firma Mitascre Nescit". David asks him what it means and he loudly proclaims "Once you've got it up…keep it up!" and then proceeds to yell at the contingent of sweating people "Right?!!" to which they all reply "Right!!".

While the movie has nothing to do with car sales, it has everything do to with perspective, attitude and belief. In regularly spending time with dealers, it amazes me how many salespeople don't keep a sharp mind and eye, let alone know the fundamentals of process and success. Sometimes I'll randomly select a salesperson and ask about their goal setting. Invariably we'll sit down and the first real question they're typically asked is "how much do you want to make?". Once they (sheepishly) reply, the very next question is "how many sales does that take you and how many leads to you usually need to work to get there?". You can guess the answer 99% of the time.

Successful people always find a way to keep it up. Sure, down times happen and you might even catch a leader in a true slump. I've been in weekly sales meetings where the store is down and the top unit (and usually gross) performer is upset with their sales performance even though they are still in the lead. Like clockwork, a person with significantly less to talk about will pipe up, usually with "I'll take those sales any day".

See, the thing is that goal setters hold themselves more responsible than any sales or general manager ever will. They have an idea of what they need to do in February come January 28. They don't need to be pushed into reality on February 21 when they're on the bubble at 3-5 units. Most of them will also have daily goals and tasks that they make sure are complete before they leave as well as writing down the next day's activities.

If you're in a sales tailspin or simply finish 2 or 3 units down from where you want regularly, there are a few things that you can do that will likely get you, well…up!

  1. Work your leads as if they'll close within 72 hours (create action and excitement)
  2. Regularly and effectively touch base with your clients (yes, on top of the 'stuff' the store sends)
  3. Set, adjust and maintain daily, weekly and monthly goals (copy management for accountability)
  4. Track everything you do. It's a pain…do it (don't resort to memory, even if you're 25)
  5. Educate and refresh yourself on products and services (do your own walkarounds if you need)
  6. Eliminate habits and poor performance activities, period (listen to motivational CDs or read)

A few of my contacts have even gone as far as paying for software and/or services out of their own pocket since the dealership won't pay for them, but they know that having them is one of their keys to success. Not letting anything stop you from reaching your goals is what successful people do every day!

Remember that when you're not learning, you're dying. Don't let your thunder be stolen by circumstance, a boss, a coworker, a client or the media. Make sure you can easily identify what you expect to happen every month and take the steps to ensure you're on the cause side of the equation. Oh, and once you've got it up…KEEP IT UP!

Best practices: Professional Insight, Powerful Results

Week At IM@CS: Chats With The Industry

There are some great companies out there and this section of our blog is intended to both look at best practices and provide a more level playing field for those that don't have the marketing dollars or field representation. Sometimes, it's just that the vendor is newer to the space and should get a helping hand.

Both of the companies listed here are neither new or very small, but they do have those qualities. Both are headed by experienced leaders and provide a great service.

1Micro: Integration means different things to different people. Doing a great job with prospects before, during and after their dealership experience requires skill, knowledge and a solid level of integration. 1Micro provides an impressive system at any level, including key systems and CRM. Back at the Digital Dealer conference in April '08 I had the chance to get a thorough introduction by Kris Terp and I've been impressed since. Check them out at http://www.1micro.com

Jazel: Websites are websites until they have strong SEO, are dynamic and allow dealers with different skill levels to admin them. So Steve Hastert and his team at Jazel provide more than just a website, which is what more and more dealers need today. They also have an ad agency background so they know how to drive traffic, create eye-candy and also keep things simple if you prefer that. Oh, they do lead management as well, so you may even be able to simplify things if you like http://www.jazelauto.com

We'll try to keep these updates weekly and ultimately have an area where you can get in touch with the vendors.

Best practices: Professional Insight, Powerful Results

The Step You Cut Out In 2009…Might Be You

Fact is, more often than not, when you cut corners in sales the one that is affected most is you.  It is also a fact of business life that we're replaceable, as I've experienced myself. Why is it then that most people don't typically go the extra mile, especially when it is so needed?

This is not to say that there are not plenty of go-getters out there. Today it is critically important to think about making the most of every opportunity, especially with fewer prospects and less marketing dollars. Here is a list of common mistakes when it comes to achieving sales success in a down market:

1. Customer assumptions (examples: won't qualify, didn't want the aftermarket wheels, etc)
2. Market assumptions (examples: should call prospects less, nobody will buy when stocks are down, etc)
3. Other assumptions (examples: every lead will be for the unit we don't have, every customer is a jack, etc)

Taking out critical steps and not following sounds processes is what leads to failure. It's not the lead, not the market, not the model and not the customer. Successful sales people always do more than it takes and live by process. Take the time to build for your success by taking every step necessary. Some ideas you may want to consider for a successful 2009:

1. Create a set of tasks that you achieve every day and make them habit
    Set 1: start of day list (nothing else gets done before this does)
    Set 2: process on every sale with a required sign off or completion checklist
    Set 3: accountability checks throughout the day (follow ups, contacts, management)
    Set 4: end of day list (prepare for the next sales day before you leave and have tasks written down)
2. State, write down and maintain goals
    A. Make them visible and be accountable to them daily, weekly and monthly
    B. Track so you're not surprised
    C. Have others challenge you and check on you (do this with those who are more successful)
3. Learn, learn, learn
    A. Pick up something new as often as possible, even daily (task, idea, expert advice, etc)
    B. Apply sound principals
    C. Check for success, if it's not working…drop it

If you can do at least the above items and don't cut out any steps, you'll not only likely be successful but chances are you'll have saved your own job. In working with dealers last year, at least one sales person at every client didn't know how to work their compensation backwards. In other words, they had no idea how to make the $5,000, $7,500, $10,000 a month they said they wanted to based on more than a simple desire and some idea of units. To top it off, they usually had very little to none of the steps above to guide them.

If you're ready to reinvest in yourself as well as reinvent yourself, the time is now, the reason is you, the purpose is to do what needs to be done and the end game is success.  If you don't want to be in sales, clearly don't want to work Internet
leads and have no desire to do anything but 'wait', you're definitely looking at one clear outcome.

Little steps lead to bigger ones. You learned that as a child and then lost it in the hustle-and-bustle of our world. Remember that walking is controlled falling, that's all. You can fall without failing. Do what it takes to do what you do better. Make 2009 a great year of successes…starting now. Go out there and be great!

Best practices: Professional Insight, Powerful Results