Get Serious About Selling

What lessons can the automotive industry learn from a professional sport like tennis?

Even the best of the best, like world number one Novak Djokovic, are truly self-aware, with an incredible understanding of the stats, strengths and deficiencies of their game. Not to mention their focus on continuous improvement, no matter how their bank balance reads.

Djokovic is an intimidating return of serve with a career break point conversion rate of 44%. And he could quite easily tell you that he wins 90% of service games, 32% of return games and 65% of break points against. However, recognising that his serve wasn’t as strong as other parts of his game, he employed former tennis great Boris Becker to improve his serve accuracy and power.

Djokovic’s new service game winning percentage is 99%.

Aside from regular stats like the number of cars sold per month or gross per vehicle measures, what performance details can your sales team reel off on the spot? Can your sales managers describe what elements of the selling process each sales person is mastering and which need improving?

The art of selling is a serious business. Pay attention to the details and success will usually follow.

Being self-aware as a salesperson is important. So too is knowing how to boost your stats. Here are the most crucial elements in creating a ‘best-in-class’ sales organisation:

Selling model

Successful selling methods don’t just happen by luck. They follow a logical step by step approach – no short cuts. If performance is sliding, break down each part of the sales process to identify areas for improvement and work on these elements. For instance, when a sale is at risk, many automotive salespeople resort to discounts believing customers are motivated by price alone. We know this isn’t true as customers consistently pay more for a car from a preferred Dealer. The bottom line – you need a selling model that works.

Train tirelessly

Once you have a successful selling model it needs to be practiced. Staff need to know the model intimately and all updates must be trained until a high level of competency is reached, no excuses.

Sales coaching

Having a successful model and training staff on how to use it is a good start. But all your resources are put to waste if the model is not applied to every sales encounter. Sales managers must continuously monitor the sales team and regular coaching sessions should be held to assess the implementation of the selling model and identify opportunities for improvement.

Coaching the coach

Sales Managers also need mentoring and clearly defined KPIs to improve both team and individual performance.

Recruit the right people

Once you have a selling model and training regime in place, it’s time to ensure you put the ‘right people on the bus.’ If you’re churning through salespeople then you need to start thinking differently about your recruitment strategy. Are you looking for talent outside the industry? Are your processes up-to-date? Are you undertaking targeted group assessments along with a structured interview process? A tailored and thorough recruiting strategy will help to ensure the cream rises to the top.

Pay for performance

How are you rewarding your staff for quality performance? Employees want to receive a fair and reasonable financial reward for their efforts. But according to research, what really makes the difference when it comes to employee satisfaction is recognition – often a simple but genuine ‘thank you’ or ‘good job’ can go a long way.

Overall, businesses need to have a well-researched and competitive remuneration scheme, including a bonus incentive scheme that rewards performers that go above and beyond.

By getting serious about selling your team can achieve results that propel your business to number one, just like Novak.

Yvonne Bowyer
General Manager, FYBC

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