I get calls on a regular basis from new commercial sales consultants and most have the same question, “What is the quickest way to grow my sales volume?” My answer to that question is always the same: take a “systematic approach” to the business. No one thing can really jump start sales, but over the last seventeen years training commercial operations, we have come up with a formula that works. As one of our most successful students, Nick Henshaw has said, “Just drink the Kool-Aid.” What Nick means is that simply following the cookie cutter system I created will really work. Ready? Here are 9 Steps to Vehicle Dealership Success — and yes, they require work!!
Step 1: Identify all the “low hanging fruit.” These opportunities are all around you!! Within the dealership are orphaned commercial clients, businesses that use your service department but bought their vehicle somewhere else, parts customers who did not buy their vehicle from us, and dealership vendors where we are the customer. I won’t go into detail here, but for each of these lists we have a very specific strategy that gets appointments over 80% of the time.
Step 2: Work from appointments! If you make 20 cold calls you will see a decision maker one 1 out of 20 times. Those twenty calls will take you three full days of work. If you call for an appointment you can make the twenty telephone calls in less than an hour and get no less than 5-10 appointments with decision makers! You tell me which works best! You need to have a minimum of 3 outside appointment calls per day, four days a week. 80% plus of these calls should end with a second appointment.
Step 3: Have a “value proposition.” Remember, people will meet with you when you have something of value to offer and I am not talking about the dealership. Remember, they already have a relationship, you have to offer something more powerful. That’s why we created our Networking Partnership program. The point of this program is to network with your prospect to help each other grow business. They will talk with you.
Step 4: Leverage your time. Appointment calls are guaranteed to get you in front of the decision maker. That by itself is leveraging your time. Another way to do it is join trade groups like home builders, AGC, the Chamber of Commerce and others. This is a chance to get in front of large groups. Coaching point: never leave a meeting without an appointment!
Step 5: Find a business networking group. The purpose of these groups is to exchange referrals. Why wouldn’t you want to have business handed to you? The website http://www.bni.com is our first recommendation, and there are many others.
Step 6: Start doing “staged marketing.” Never send a 3,000-target list, you won’t get results that come close to paying for the mailing. We recommend 25 direct mail pieces a week followed up with 25 phone calls to gain appointments. One key is a monthly electronic newsletter. This is cheap and gets solid recognition.
Step 7: Start thinking about sponsorships. These are important later in the process, but start laying the groundwork for them now. Gaining recognition at events is a great way to meet lots of people and get appointments while you are face to face.
Step 8: Get vendor referrals. You should do this every time you sell a vehicle. You will average 15 plus referrals from every sale. Again, we have an easy way to do this that gets 100% results.
Step 9: Repeat steps 1 through 8 every week of every month! Be persistent and you will grow your business using this system faster than any other way.
There is no magic bullet, but I do have a saying that I live by: “A talented sales person without a system to follow will struggle. An average sales person with a great system will be a champion!!”
About Ken Taylor: