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Do you have a few showroom guests that object to a write-up, even after they’ve demoed a vehicle? Maybe even some who resist taking a demo drive because they don’t want to be put in that write-up situation where someone might ask them to buy. Some do all they can in order to avoid being put in a situation where they may feel obligated. It’s human nature.
Assuming you have current and accurate performance statistics, wouldn’t it be worthwhile to adopt a new strategy where you can track and compare the improvements over time?
Some things will never change. It’s about comforting the guest, so that more of them feel safe about going further down the road to the sale. When you read this simple, easy to use script, put yourself in a customer’s shoes for a moment. Might you feel less pressure, therefore giving the salesperson less “push-back” to coming inside for a proposal.
Sometimes this script will help when it appears customers are apprehensive about going the distance when you are trying to get them inside for a proposal. Whatever the scenario; a shy showroom guest, a service customer or if you see an opportunity away from the dealership and the salesperson is doing the prospecting job that you wish everyone would do, it’s an option.
You just need people to get better at eliminating customer resistance. After all, fear not, this is simply a free, written proposal (known to you and I as a write-up!)
Additional sales strategies are available in the new version of the Sales Management & Leadership module of eAutotraining. I invite your call. Should you ever want to discuss other sales gross enhancing ideas, I'd love to help! Feel free to contact Richard directly at 888.300.4629.
RELATED: How NOT to Ask For the Business (Some Humor Intended) by Richard Keeney
Richard Keeney, Co-Founder
The Mar-Kee Group
The Mar-Kee Group is the leading provider of Sales, Service & Management Training Solutions to Automotive, Boat & RV Dealerships.
We all do better after rehearsal. This is an absolute must when working with newer salespeople. To that we say, trust, yet verify. Start this strategy now and immediately improve this critical part of closing deals.
Some clients didn't realize they had some salespeople who were, let's say…less than effective when presenting the initial proposal. This could even give some managers the opportunity to praise others, which helps their confidence every time! Either way, they all feel like they have a better handle on something that they had taken for granted.
Remember…this is about development and building confidence. It should be dealt with in as positive a light as possible.
1. Eye contact?
3. Assumptive posture?
4. Do they ask for the business?
5. Words used, tone and body language?
6. Are they prepared to respond versus react when hit with the most common
7. Is your salesperson sold on the deal? Replace any fear with an assumptive
and courageous posture.
Need help with your role-playing training efforts? Call The Mar-Kee Group 888-300-4629.
The Mar-Kee Group
The Mar-Kee Group is proud to celebrate 20 years of outstanding Sales, Service, and Management Training.
You function better, and, of course, can desk much more effectively when you know more about the buyer.
Oh, the pain we endure when we try to sell without a clue!
Some on the sales floor will never get comfortable and consistent with the customer interviewing step without some assistance. Many times, we are but one strategy, one sales tool and one transition statement away from turning this challenge into a skill.
Decide on the 8-10 most important questions you need them to ask every guest, and put it on a professional and non-intimidating document. At The Mar-Kee Group, we refer to it as the Customer Assistance Sheet and our office is happy to provide a sample or even customize one specifically for you.
I know this strategy isn't brand new, yet I wanted to remind you that there are some on the sales floor that will flourish if you give them the tools. It is also strongly recommended that you work with those who will be using it so that it goes well from the very beginning. Remember...It's a conversation, not an interrogation! A poor start may cause the salespersons to drop the process like a hot rock and revert back to their comfort level regardless of the cost. That is, if this is an option.
Final note…lead by example. Let the sales team see you using it as well.
To get more sales training tips, give me a call, 888-300-4629.
The Mar-Kee Group
The Mar-Kee Group encourages you to never stop training!
The T.O. strategy has been around for quite some time, yet at some dealerships it’s not an “all the time” thing. Some salespeople view it as a friction point with management. Some handle it very well. They are grateful for the opportunity to get additional support as a final effort to close a sale.
It is important to communicate to salespeople that management needs to have the option of speaking with customers 100% of the time before they leave. They also need to work with their people to smooth out the transition to management.
When you say option, it may be a good idea to explain that management needs to leverage their time and won’t always opt to do the T.O.
Otherwise you will have those who think (and say) that the 100% philosophy is what is demanded yet not followed through on.
Below are great tips to use in an occasional sales meeting. Salespeople need to understand all of the benefits so they do it for their reasons, not just because you said so.
• T.O. stands for “Turn-Over” and “Total Opportunity”
• Should always be done (attempted)
• A second face can work wonders
• Makes a great impression on those not “closing” at this time
• Increases the chance of a return visit
• Provides customers with another contact should the Salesperson not be available later
• Partner with another sales team member as a backup plan
• Great gesture of appreciation for customer
• Customers will sometimes tell others what they won’t tell you
• Someone with a fresh approach and open mind-set may help the situation
• Common ground with customers can occur in many cases
• Some customers won’t close until final word from an authority figure
• Should always be done with class and professionalism
• Forget the ego - Get help often!
• If it closes easily - You have done your job
• Needs to be done in a timely manner
• Minimize ‘fire alarm” T. O.'s
• Say “Hold on just a second” – “I have an idea” or “I just thought of something.”
• Do not take customers to the command center (sales desk) without permission
• Even if another salesperson closes and you split - a half deal is better than no deal
• The T.O. is not only for the end of the visit
• Do it first for your reasons, and yes, it is also a responsibility
A sample of this concept is available in the new version of the Sales Management & Leadership module of eAutotraining. I invite your call. Should you ever want to discuss other sales gross enhancing ideas, I'd love to help! Feel free to contact Richard directly at 888.300.4629.
1996 was the year we rolled the dice. Thank goodness we didn’t know all that we would be up against, which we now know was a blessing, or we may never have powered forward.
The first time David and I walked into our newly leased empty building, he remembers the first thing I said, and it echoed…”How long did we lease this place for?”
I want to give a quick mention of our background. David was the corporate recruiter and trainer for a seven franchise dealer group, and I was the general manager of the Honda store. We had many discussions for a year or so regarding the possibility of starting a training company.
Well, the dealership owner informed me one day that he had sold the Honda store and if I didn’t mind, would I keep everything together, produce in the interim, keep everyone’s spirits up, oh, and please liquidate the pre-owned inventory as quickly as I could, and while doing so please be a good steward of his money.
I’m not the most educated guy in the world, but I am loyal and had a good bit of pride in what we had built over the previous years. Stay I did, and 90 days later I did the walk-through of the store with the new dealer and management team. What a blessing in disguise. Here I sit writing about The Mar-Kee Group’s 20 year anniversary!
I’ll never forget the statement the dealer’s son made in the walk-through of the facility. He stated that the first thing they were going to do was get rid of that leasing crap we had been doing. We had gone from 10% lease penetration, to 49.8% with an average of a 30 month term, and loving the short cycle return business. Anyway, the next day we opened the new, vacant office of The Mar-Kee Group.
David and I spent the next few years building the Success - One Idea at a Time program. This became a 64 VHS tape, 244 brief video sales training library, and we also began doing a good bit of in-dealership sales and management training.
In 2005, much earlier than dealers were ready to make the paradigm shift, we began building and offering the online program, eAutotraining.
I am incredibly proud of my partner, David Martin, and his accomplishments with over 10 NADA speaking appearances, and a great many Australian Key Note appearances. He has delivered our message in an extraordinary fashion and we are both proud of what we have provided to so many front line salespeople, who too often are left to survive and thrive on their own merits.
From my humble beginnings as a salesperson for three years, and then given the opportunity to perform at every variable management position over a period of nineteen years, to then go on to partner in building a training company where so many have given their trust and put their confidence in, well, I do take some pride in that.
First and foremost, we were not generic trainers trying to figure out the car business. We were car guys, with torn tee shirts, getting into the training business. One thing about car people, they know if you know or not, if you’ve paid your dues. They know immediately if you have real solutions for the things that take place every day in the dealership world. With that in mind, our business approach delivers the messages in brief segments, incorporates role play, and provides printed course materials along with testing.
Another way that we have been able to remain relevant is the fact that we never stop revising and adding the most up-to-date information for our valued clients. Also part of the successful business partnership is mutual respect and the balance we bring to the table.
In closing, I will say that a lot has transpired over the 20 year journey….from VHS, to DVD, to online training. A few times we, along with the rest of the world, have weathered some economic storms, yet keep coming out on the other side, powering through and staying excited about helping others put “The Art of Selling” back into the dealership.
The Mar-Kee Group
Structure and accountability allows an organization, as well as its employees to thrive. Managers have a huge responsibility to make volume and gross a priority, but must not ever “widen the plate” for anyone or for any reason.
Take a look at your current standards, policies and procedures. Pay close attention to dress codes, arrival times and conduct expectations.
It is our hope that after your examination, you have much about which to feel proud in regard to structure and accountability. We hope that it is the exception, as opposed to the rule, where you might on occasion get relaxed and “widen the plate.”
Apply Mr. Scolinos’s wisdom (below), and in the end you will take more of your employees to places they didn’t think they could go, and as a “parent,” you have raised adults, not children. Take to heart the advice from this very wise coach.
In Nashville, Tennessee, during the first week of January, 1996, more than 4,000 baseball coaches descended upon the Opryland Hotel for the 52nd annual ABCA convention.
While I waited in line to register with the hotel staff, I heard other more veteran coaches rumbling about the lineup of speakers scheduled to present during the weekend. One name, in particular, kept resurfacing, always with the same sentiment — “John Scolinos is here? Oh man, worth every penny of my airfare.”
Who the hell is John Scolinos, I wondered. No matter, I was just happy to be there.
I woke early the next morning and found myself alone in the massive convention hall, reviewing my notes from the day before: pitching mechanics, hitting philosophy, team practice drills. All technical and typical — important stuff for a young coach, and I was in Heaven.
At the end of the morning session, certain that I had accurately scouted the group dynamic and that my seat would again be waiting for me after lunch, I allowed myself a few extra minutes to sit down and enjoy an overpriced sandwich in one of the hotel restaurants. But when I returned to the convention hall thirty minutes before the lunch break ended, not only was my seat not available, barely any seats were available!
I managed to find one between two high school coaches, both proudly adorned in their respective team caps and jackets. Disappointed in myself for losing my seat up front, I wondered what had pried all these coaches from their barstools. I found the clinic schedule in my bag: “1 PM John Scolinos, Cal Poly Pamona.” It was the man whose name I had heard buzzing around the lobby two days earlier. Could he be the reason that all 4,000 coaches had returned, early, to the convention hall? Wow, I thought, this guy must really be good.
I had no idea.
In 1996, Coach Scolinos was 78 years old and five years retired from a college coaching career that began in 1948. He shuffled to the stage to an impressive standing ovation, wearing dark polyester pants, a light blue shirt, and a string around his neck from which home plate hung — a full-sized, stark-white home plate.
Seriously, I wondered, who in the hell is this guy?
After speaking for twenty-five minutes, not once mentioning the prop hanging around his neck, Coach Scolinos appeared to notice the snickering among some of the coaches. Even those who knew Coach Scolinos had to wonder exactly where he was going with this, or if he had simply forgotten about home plate since he’d gotten on stage.
Then, finally …
“You’re probably all wondering why I’m wearing home plate around my neck. Or maybe you think I escaped from Camarillo State Hospital,” he said, his voice growing irascible. I laughed along with the others, acknowledging the possibility. “No,” he continued, “I may be old, but I’m not crazy. The reason I stand before you today is to share with you baseball people what I’ve learned in my life, what I’ve learned about home plate in my 78 years.”
Several hands went up when Scolinos asked how many Little League coaches were in the room. “Do you know how wide home plate is in Little League?” After a pause, someone offered, “Seventeen inches,” more question than answer.
“That’s right,” he said. “How about in Babe Ruth? Any Babe Ruth coaches in the house?”
Another long pause.
“Seventeen inches?” Came a guess from another reluctant coach.
“That’s right,” said Scolinos. “Now, how many high school coaches do we have in the room?” Hundreds of hands shot up, as the pattern began to appear. “How wide is home plate in high school baseball?”
“Seventeen inches,” they said, sounding more confident.
“You’re right!” Scolinos barked. “And you college coaches, how wide is home plate in college?”
“Seventeen inches!” we said, in unison.
“Any Minor League coaches here? How wide is home plate in pro ball?”
“RIGHT! And in the Major Leagues, how wide home plate is in the Major Leagues?”
“SEV-EN-TEEN INCHES!” he confirmed, his voice bellowing off the walls. “And what do they do with a Big League pitcher who can’t throw the ball over seventeen inches?” Pause. “They send him to Pocatello!” he hollered, drawing raucous laughter.
“What they don’t do is this: they don’t say, ‘Ah, that’s okay, Jimmy. You can’t hit a seventeen-inch target? We’ll make it eighteen inches, or nineteen inches. We’ll make it twenty inches so you have a better chance of hitting it. If you can’t hit that, let us know so we can make it wider still, say twenty-five inches.'”
” … what do we do when our best player shows up late to practice? When our team rules forbid facial hair and a guy shows up unshaven? What if he gets caught drinking? Do we hold him accountable? Or do we change the rules to fit him, do we widen home plate?
The chuckles gradually faded as four thousand coaches grew quiet, the fog lifting as the old coach’s message began to unfold. He turned the plate toward himself and, using a Sharpie, began to draw something. When he turned it toward the crowd, point up, a house was revealed, complete with a freshly drawn door and two windows. “This is the problem in our homes today. With our marriages, with the way we parent our kids. With our discipline. We don’t teach accountability to our kids, and there is no consequence for failing to meet standards. We widen the plate!”
Pause. Then, to the point at the top of the house he added a small American flag.
“This is the problem in our schools today. The quality of our education is going downhill fast and teachers have been stripped of the tools they need to be successful, and to educate and discipline our young people. We are allowing others to widen home plate! Where is that getting us?”
Silence. He replaced the flag with a Cross.
“And this is the problem in the Church, where powerful people in positions of authority have taken advantage of young children, only to have such an atrocity swept under the rug for years. Our church leaders are widening home plate!”
I was amazed. At a baseball convention where I expected to learn something about curveballs and bunting and how to run better practices, I had learned something far more valuable. From an old man with home plate strung around his neck, I had learned something about life, about myself, about my own weaknesses and about my responsibilities as a leader. I had to hold myself and others accountable to that which I knew to be right, lest our families, our faith, and our society continue down an undesirable path.
“If I am lucky,” Coach Scolinos concluded, “you will remember one thing from this old coach today. It is this: if we fail to hold ourselves to a higher standard, a standard of what we know to be right; if we fail to hold our spouses and our children to the same standards, if we are unwilling or unable to provide a consequence when they do not meet the standard; and if our schools and churches and our government fail to hold themselves accountable to those they serve, there is but one thing to look forward to …”
With that, he held home plate in front of his chest, turned it around, and revealed its dark black backside.
“… dark days ahead.”
Coach Scolinos died in 2009 at the age of 91, but not before touching the lives of hundreds of players and coaches, including mine. Meeting him at my first ABCA convention kept me returning year after year, looking for similar wisdom and inspiration from other coaches. He is the best clinic speaker the ABCA has ever known because he was so much more than a baseball coach.
His message was clear: “Coaches, keep your players — no matter how good they are — your own children, and most of all, keep yourself at seventeen inches.”
He was, indeed, worth the airfare.
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Daphne, AL 36526
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