Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Automotive Dealer Sales Training Tips #3 Interview with Todd Hudak

Today I wanted to touch on a simple, yet powerful concept that Todd kept bringing up in our conversation. It isn't anything formal, and it's really pretty much common sense. Todd kept saying "there are really only three ways to get someone to do something." Now, of course he was talking about motivating/coaching your sales staff. He talked about this in regards to tracking leads, and the lead source, but it really works across the board. #1 Ask them nicely. Todd has a feeling that this is typically pretty ineffective in dealerships. In my experience if you ask nicely and explain WHY this method can work with the right people. However... I can relate, my only "child" at the moment is Charley. She'll be 5 in May and is a Retriever/Husky mix. I've had her for three years now and she's never been one to get up on the couch or furniture. Lately though, she's getting pretty snooty and feels like she rules the roost and she's constantly on the couch--in my spot at that! I started out by asking nicely, and a few times it's worked...then I had to move on to the next way of getting someone to do something... #2 Threaten them. Threatening seems dangerous. For one thing, people will only take so much of it, and you have to be ready to follow through on the threat. Obviously, it is sometimes hard to communicate effectively with Charley. Although I'm pretty sure she can understand English she has selective hearing. We'll threaten to throw her Kong toy away, or Andy will threaten to "punch her in the dog face" but we never follow through. She knows she's spoiled and we're not going to punish her--besides, what's the worst I could do--yell? I can't fire my dog. #3 Pay them. I'm technically in sales, and so are most of you, even if you aren't involved in it as much daily. Obviously we all understand that commission based income is the most pure form of this last method. Todd argues this is the most effective way to get things done in a dealership, and I would have to agree. He talks about paying receptionists to find out lead sources, hiring someone on minimal hourly rates and paying bonuses for every lead they count, he's even had one of these people watch for people leaving the lot without coming into the show room--then he would fine the sales person that lost them $150--and give it to the counter! Sales contests, spiffs, bonuses, etc. these are all forms of rewarding people for the behavior you are trying to get from them. Start thinking about the things you wish were happening that aren't within your department, company, or dealership. How can you turn each of these things into specific behaviors that can then be broken down and rewarded upon? Charley could care less about a $5 bill, but she loves treats, people food, and one specific toy. If I make it worth her while to stay on the floor she typically stays out of my spot on the couch. This has also been the way we've taught her all of her impressive tricks, like shake, high ten, speak, and lay down. Andy has also figured out a way to get her to bark the O-H-I-O chant with him during football I just have to find the right reward to get her to say "Boiler Up."

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