In today’s automotive industry, what a manager does when there are no customers in the showroom is every bit as important as when there’s a showroom full of customers. Most managers are great at desking and good closers, but the most critical role of a manager in today’s business environment is managing activity. By managing activity, I mean working with the salespeople on a daily basis to make sure they are doing the most productive thing they could be doing at any given time to drive traffic.
Here are three things management teams can do to manage activity and get more people touching tile at the dealership today:
Evaluate the service-to-sales opportunity
How many fresh ups are you going to get today? Now, how many customer-pay repair orders (ROs) will service write today? When I ask managers that question, the answer is always exponentially more on the drive. There are often more customer-pay ROs by a factor of 7 or 8! Clearly, there’s more activity coming in the back than coming in the front. If your salespeople are focused on the front door, they’re missing what’s happening in service. Back in service, there are customers rolling in all day long who, if you presented them the right opportunity the right way at the right time, would trade out of their vehicles. That’s where all the action is and that is a huge volume opportunity, not to mention some of the best grossing deals you’ll have all month since these customers haven’t shopped 20 of your closest competitors.
To give you an idea of how big an opportunity this is, take a look at a dealership we work with who kills it. They are one of the top 15 dealerships in the country for their make, selling an average of 500 total cars per month and 100-150 of those are out of their service department. Think about that for a minute.
Converting customers from service to sales isn’t hard, but there has to be a process in place for salespeople who are properly trained and have the right mentality.
What types of processes has your management team put in place for generating referrals? The old, “Hey, if you know anyone, send them my way,” as your salesperson hands a stack of business cards to a recently sold customer has never been effective.
The best dealerships have simple, trackable steps to generate referrals during the sales process, like at the time of delivery. Trained salespeople know how to ask for referrals in a compelling way that actually generates names and contact information; they command the tools to then call up referees and motivate them to come into the dealership. And since referrals tend to close at a higher percentage, ensuring you have the right processes in place to generate them can make a huge difference in sales.
Rethink the spiff plan
You need to create a spiff plan that gets your salespeople doing what you want, instead of what they were going to do anyway. Reward behavior like driving traffic out of sold customer bases or generating referrals, and you’ll see more customers on your showroom floor. In our Management by Fire events, we talk about different, trackable ways to spiff for behavior just like this and getting your salespeople to work the pay plan in a way that benefits you and the dealership.
Managers are the foundation of dealership productivity. Make sure you put your salespeople in the best position to succeed by equipping them with the knowledge and tools they need to be successful.
If you want to be a great manager, do what so many others have done and get to Management By Fire. It’s 2 ½ days of nothing but processes that are going to help you fill up your showroom with customers better, faster, and smarter. For more information, contact us directly at 480-659-4035 or visit ManagementByFire.com.