What Makes a Great Commercial Sales System?

In a previous lifetime, I was a high school football coach where I learned that you only win if you take a systematic approach to training, coaching, and playing. Those early experiences led me to a mantra that I still live by today, “In a bad system, even a talented individual is likely to fail. In a great system, even an average person is likely to succeed.” It’s true in sports and it’s true in sales. I have seen exceptionally talented salespeople fail, because they were in a bad system or had no system at all. I have also seen relatively average salespeople succeed beyond their talent level, because they had adopted a strategic and systematic approach to their work.

Because sales systems can have a major impact on your dealership’s success, it’s important to understand the main components of an effective system. So what makes a great commercial sales system? Continue reading “What Makes a Great Commercial Sales System?”

6 Tips for Taking the Lead in Commercial Sales

Success in commercial vehicle sales often comes down to small actions that place your dealership just ahead of the competition. Yet while the actions are small, the return in sales can be huge, which is why I refer to this principle as “the magnifier effect”. To think about it another way – consider a horse race where the lead horse only wins by a nose, but the prize money for 1st place is 10X what the runner-up receives. That is the power of the magnifier effect and why we are breaking down 6 Tips for Taking the Lead in Commercial Sales: Continue reading “6 Tips for Taking the Lead in Commercial Sales”

Ability & Attitude: Qualities of the Most Successful Salespeople

Overcome and achieve success

As part of my sales-consulting and dealership-training work, I often interview candidates for job positions in commercial sales and management. In fact, I interview over 50 candidates every year, and – just like the insurance commercial says – I know a thing or two because I’ve seen a thing or two. Almost every factor I’ve seen contribute to sales success can be placed into two categories: “Skill” and “Will” (a pair of terms I’ve adopted from “The Sales Manager’s Guide to Greatness” by Kevin F. Davis). Continue reading “Ability & Attitude: Qualities of the Most Successful Salespeople”

Striking Gold: Cultivating Your Top Customers for Continued Success

Close up lump of gold mine on wooden table

The California Gold Rush may have ended over 160 years ago, but there is still gold to be found among your own customers. Every time I give a seminar or consult for a dealership, I’m asked, “What’s the fastest way to grow my business?” My answer is always the same: “Through your best clients.” Just like gold that has been wisely invested, our top customers maintain and increase in value over time, providing both retained business and prospect referrals. Continue reading “Striking Gold: Cultivating Your Top Customers for Continued Success”

Sea of Opportunity: Tips for Organizational Networking

Dawn Patrol

Here’s a fun fact: bottlenose dolphins and “false-killer whales” (which happen to look like orcas) are distinct species, but often form interspecies “super-pods” to coordinate hunting, with dolphins eating first and making way for the false-killers to prey upon smaller mackerel schools that hide among larger fish. In fact, dolphins and false-killers not only hunt together, but socialize, travel, rest, and even babysit in groups, forming lifelong bonds that occur over many years and great distances. At first glance, there’s no reason for these separate species to interact, but they’ve learned that together — in numbers which can reach into the hundreds — they can accomplish complementary goals. That diverse groups provide opportunities for mutual gain is a lesson commercial salespeople should learn as well. Continue reading “Sea of Opportunity: Tips for Organizational Networking”

10 Tips for Building the Best Commercial Dealership Team

happy and confident team leader in front of his group

I get phone-calls and emails almost weekly from new commercial vehicles salespeople. Many of them are near the end of a three- or six-month draw against commission and are looking for answers on how to survive when their draw disappears and their income becomes based on commission. I typically ask the same questions — and receive the same answers:

Q: “What has been your main prospecting activity?

A: “I was told to knock on doors of local businesses.

Q: “Have you attended any trade associations or group functions?

A: “I only go to the Chamber of Commerce events.”

Q: “Doing those activities, have you had meetings with decision-makers?

A: “Very rarely. How do I get those appointments?

You get the idea. Only a small percentage of these new hires make it past the guaranteed draw period, much to the frustration of the commercial sales manager. What sets apart the dealerships that seem to consistently find success when building their team? In my view, the answer lies in developing and implementing quality hiring, training, and management practices. Here are 10 tips (3 tips on hiring, 5 on training, 2 on management) to help you build the best dealership team: Continue reading “10 Tips for Building the Best Commercial Dealership Team”

Scrappy Marketing on a Budget: Establish Local Partnerships

Boxing Gloves Hanging In Change Room

In a highly competitive market, the struggle for exposure can be difficult and expensive, and sometimes your own resources aren’t available for a costly campaign blitz. This is why commercial dealership success requires a nimble-minded ability to think outside the box and develop advertising solutions that don’t break the bank. In other words, commercial dealers need to learn how to be scrappy in marketing without spending a dime — or at least, spending very few dimes!

It’s important to keep in mind that being scrappy with resources doesn’t mean a dealership’s marketing strategies should suffer. Even on a tight budget, commercial dealers can maximize exposure, cultivate a sterling reputation, develop a leading voice, and become a powerhouse in sales. In Part 4 of our Scrappy Marketing on a Budget series, we’re discussing how that success can be achieved when dealers Establish Local Partnerships!! Continue reading “Scrappy Marketing on a Budget: Establish Local Partnerships”

Scrappy Marketing on a Budget: Create Referral Programs

Boxing Gloves Hanging In Change Room

In a highly competitive market, the struggle for exposure can be difficult and expensive, and sometimes your own resources aren’t available for a costly campaign blitz. This is why commercial dealership success requires a nimble-minded ability to think outside the box and develop advertising solutions that don’t break the bank. In other words, commercial dealers need to learn how to be scrappy in marketing without spending a dime — or at least, spending very few dimes!

It’s important to keep in mind that being scrappy with resources doesn’t mean a dealership’s marketing strategies should suffer. Even on a tight budget, commercial dealers can maximize exposure, cultivate a sterling reputation, develop a leading voice, and become a powerhouse in sales. In Part 3 of our Scrappy Marketing on a Budget series, we’re discussing how that success can be achieved when dealers Create Referral Programs!! Continue reading “Scrappy Marketing on a Budget: Create Referral Programs”

How to Lose Vehicle Sales

Businessman cowering on blue blackboard background with chalk drawing of

Yes, yes, I know the title sounds negative. Losing sales, after all, is a dealership’s worst nightmare. But talking about what NOT to do helps dealers identify mistakes to avoid and highlights the more productive solutions commercial salespeople should pursue. It’s an important conversation, because some of those pitfalls are not just small stumbles along the way, but major setbacks that contribute to missed sales opportunities and negative attitudes among sales team members. In other words, highlighting “How to Lose Vehicle Sales” allows us to have a discussion about if your dealership’s systems and practices perpetuate a culture of success or failure. Let’s dig into 3 quick scenarios: Continue reading “How to Lose Vehicle Sales”

Warming Up Our Cold Calls

Steam from a cups with a hot cocoa on the fireplace background.

As the Winter season begins, we’ll soon be feeling a chill in the air and warming up by a fireplace with cups of coffee or hot chocolate. However, warming up your cold calls should be a year-round practice! Most new commercial sales consultants struggle to get started with cold calls, and it is by far the most frequent and recurring topic I receive questions about. I am a big proponent of network- and referral-based selling, but I am not against cold calling. In fact, cold calls very often make perfect sense, if you do them right. Continue reading “Warming Up Our Cold Calls”