Uncategorized

Generational Fracture

It has always been that older people blame change on younger people and younger people blame lack of progress on older people. While there has always been separation between older and younger generations the generational fracture that has occurred between Baby Boomers and Millennials seems to be more pronounced and talked about than between other generations.

In business, managers, mostly from the Baby Boom, are writing books, articles and social media posts regarding how hard it is to hire and manage those Millennials. Experts are talking about how to redesign, re-engineer the entire hiring, training, and retention process in a way that Millennials will want to come to work. Type in “how to recruit millennials” and you will see 414,000 results in Google.

Is it true that there is a Generational Fracture between Millennials and other generations? Could it be that there is not a millennial problem but a bunch of bad managers and recruiters? I think so. #generationalfracture

 

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Sales Management, Uncategorized

It is All About the Content

Every post from social media experts seems to boil down to those six words so apparently Content is King. This lesson needs to be learned by salespeople as well as social marketers.

Marketing studies indicate that 71% of customers that purchased automobiles said they bought because they liked their salesperson (Kershner, 2008). I believe that statistic to a point (my debate teacher always used the phrase, there are three kinds of lies, lies, damned lies, and statistics). I think the failure in that logic is the reason why the customer said they liked their salesperson.

Old guard sales trainers spent (and spend) hours and hours with new salespeople explaining how to find common ground with customers by asking questions about family, kids, work, etc… which is all good information and can be extremely useful during the sales process, but here comes the but. The fact that you found out what elementary school your customer attended is probably not the reason that they say they like you.

Customers like efficient, knowledgeable, competent salespeople, regardless of where they went to school or their background. We have now circled back to our point, Content is King. The question whether a customer liked their salesperson does not dive deep enough, the question could be turned around to say, did you tolerate your salesperson because they were knowledgeable and respected your time even though you were from different background?

All of those soft questions about background and family are great when worked in throughout the process but only after you have demonstrated to your customer that you are a professional salesperson that understands their needs and knows how your products will satisfy those needs.

My point, finally, is that salespeople need to concentrate more on having specific content in their presentation that will appeal to their customers. Spending time learning screen resolution or mounting options of televisions, horsepower or safety features of new cars, or features of whatever it is you sell is time well spent.

You want to make money, right? You want to consistently produce for your company and family, right? You will only be successful if you understand that content is king and spend the time to create specific and pertinent content for your customers.

Kershner, Jeff, 2008, https://www.dealerrefresh.com/dealer-showroom-floor-sales-statistics-and-percentages/

Uncategorized

Training for 2020: Automotive Armageddon

The year 2020 is on the horizon, and along with it are huge changes for the automotive industry. In 1987 the rock group R.E.M. released a song with the main lyrics “It’s the End of the World as we know it.” That song will be the anthem for the automotive industry over the next three years.

The issues that will force the changes in the car business have been building for years; the continued resurgence of subprime financing, the reappearance of large factory incentives, increased vehicle leasing and the lengthening of finance terms.

With customers increasingly “upside down” this trade cycle may be the last that many customers can follow the normal two or three years between trades. With this in mind the year 2020 may become the year where the auto industry marks a low sales mark worse than 2009. How will dealerships stay relevant and more importantly open? The sad truth is that many will not.

Dealerships and employees must begin today training for 2020. That training must include modern networking methods, inventory planning for the new market, and rethinking how marketing ROI is viewed. An even more difficult question for dealerships is how to begin staffing now for 2020 because the unfortunate truth is that the employee roster in 2020 will only contain 10% of the same names as today.

Correctly hiring people over the next 24 months will be a water mark for dealerships; only those dealerships that choose employees wisely will be around to celebrate 2021.

#trainingfor2020 #hiring #cardealership #dtcarguy

Uncategorized

Theory versus Reality: Automotive Product Specialists

I have long supported the idea that the traditional  role of the automotive salesperson is under siege and will soon be replaced; first by a legion of hourly, retail refugees and then by whatever online, kiosk, or other platform that finally cracks the car transaction as a service secret code.

I will admit I was wrong, at least about the first evolution.

Automotive retail giants have tried the product specialist position, someone that is not a salesperson, with limited success and failure. I thought that this shift would be successful because that is what customers wanted. Customers want salespeople, many times they need a salesperson to help guide them to a decision in a way no hourly product specialist could do.

The problem with the specialist is that because of increasingly complex rebate and finance structures and the burden of state and federal regulations a vehicle sale is a very complicated process. Just like a real estate purchase a vehicle purchase takes professional representation in most cases. 

What people do want and deserve is a more professional sales experience which can only be provided by skilled and trained salespeople, not product specialists.

Auto Sales, Uncategorized

Are you Ready to Sell?

Salespeople are typically an easy group to distract is a statement I debated about writing at all. The point of the post started out being that small things that you, as an owner or manager, never questioned were working with processes in place may be the reason you aren’t as successful as you want to be. 

That seems like a great place to start a post, especially after discovering that in our organization people that should be able to process credit cards can’t always because they don’t always have access to the terminal. Crazy, right? Wait, this is the crazy part and why I say salespeople are easily distracted. The way I discovered our logistical issue was by walking in and discovering a salesperson with a string tied to a broom handle trying to open the door to reach the credit card terminal. He had a sale and was not going to let a locked door stop him.

So when I say salespeople are easily distracted I say it to emphasize the importance of removing every obstacle between your people and the sale otherwise your sales team may spend there day with broom handles and strings. 

Uncategorized

Culture Cultivation

Talk about corporate culture all you want, if the owner doesnt start the culture it doesnt start at all #trainingfor2020

I have a plan to write this entire blog one Linkedin post at a time.

I dont know the technical definition but in my mind the culture of a business equates to a body’s DNA because it is the core of what we are, with the exception that culture can be changed, but that change usually comes with casualties #trainingfor2020

Sales Management

We Make It Harder: Your Company’s New Motto

Everyone says it, regardless of the industry, “we make things harder then they have to be.” In the automotive industry we feel like the process should be simple: buy cars, get customers, sell cars. In the restaurant business we map out the process: buy food, prepare food, get customers, sell food. Every industry has basic goals that can be boiled down to simple statements. So why do we produce so many documents and flowcharts, why do we write so many mission statements and revised organizational plans? The answer is as simple as business should be: people are involved.

I visited a restaurant last weekend, the name of which includes the word wings, as in chicken wings. I was there for that reason, it was time to enjoy wings. Guess what the wing restaurant had run out of? Yep, no wings to be had. I am quite sure that when the founder of this restaurant started out his plan was simple: buy wings, cook wings, get customers, sell wings. Do you think that he ever thought that anyone that bought one of his franchises would need to be told not to run out of wings? No, and in reality the franchisee probably understood the concept but the store manager or assistant manager did not. That may not be accurate, they may have understood the concept but because they were dealing with the minute by minute problems that come up when managing anything they just forgot or miscalculated; hard to know why but the lesson is there for us all.

Never make the process harder than it has to be. When the business begins to add employees and grows there have to be processes created to ensure the necessary functions are done. A process is a clearly defined, measurable, repeatable and written guide on how to do something. Once a process is in place it has to become ingrained into the culture of the organization and every employee involved must know, understand and follow the process.

When an owner or manager of a company says in exasperation, “Why do we make this so hard?” the answer is usually because someone does not know or is not following the process (assuming there is a process). What happens next may determine the fate of the business because if the exasperated owner or manager simply makes the statement and does not take the necessary steps to teach and enforce the process that manager or owner has failed. Every failure creates complications and soon creates a culture that may never be fixed.

Business may not be quite as simple as buy wings, cook wings, get customers, sell wings but with simple processes strictly enforced it is possible to have a business that feels as simple as it should.