William Phillips is the President & Founder of AIM, the only company in the automotive industry that focuses on accountability. AIM installs a process that maximizes results from your staff, your software, inventory, and marketing investments. AIM’s daily process accountability produces more sales and higher profits.
AIM’s hands-on, grassroots approach and close partnership with dealership management creates results through accountability and controls that mirror a proper retail operation. AIM trains your employees and managers on a proven, consistent contact process with your sales-originated consumer leads. Each salesperson and manager have access to a personal phone training coach to coach them to an acceptable level of competency using your existing lead management tool. People in the dealership are held accountable for their activity, understanding, and application of AIM’s sales process.
A few words from Bill Phillips:
Focus for Sales Success
Anyone who has spent time working in a retail automotive environment knows that we focus on what produces results. The most common gaffe I observe in almost every dealership I visit is upper management’s lack of oversight of their Sales department. These managers know how many ups came into their store and how those shoppers were handled on the floor. Few managers, if any, are equally in tune with their online prospects. Taking a top-down view of your Sales department will increase both your understanding of day-to-day operations and the success your team achieves.
Focus on the Right Things
For dealers who want to improve the performance and accountability of their Sales departments, dealers with successful sales operations have proved a solution in store after store. Simply put, your upper management staff, midlevel management staff, and anyone getting paid on sales must be involved daily with the business from which they collect money. Running reports and asking general questions like “How many appointments do you have?” is not enough. The process must be started, inspected, and managed every day by those who profit from it. I have successfully worked retail for quite a few years, and I am a car guy who understands that you think I’m asking for more of your time. I’m not. I’m telling you that you need to reprioritize how you spend your time every day. Your business model is changing, and you need to change your activity to match.
Focus on Building Your Own Team, Processes
I refer to the “savior complex” as the method by which dealers and managers believe that the right person will fix all their dealership problems and properly manage their Sales department. This right person will bring in their processes and, sometimes, their crew or followers. They will work for you as long as they are happy or don’t have a better offer – at which time the right person will take what and whom they came with and leave, and your dealership is back where you started. Sound familiar? In an industry with a higher-than-average turnover rate, this situation is a reality. I am about managing reality.
These saviors often pack the numbers and feed management results that are not real. Prospects from brokers, Costco, Sam’s Club, AAA, and referrals do not count as sales business. Neither is a consumer who walks onto the lot and says they saw or found you via the Sales. You will often find leads attributed at the point of sale to the dealer’s or the manufacturer’s website to create a closed deal from this source. For those of you who challenge this inaccurate reporting, you have probably never checked to see the gap between suspect leads and DMS entry times or even phone monitoring logs.
Hopefully, dealership owners and upper managers will now have at least a small understanding of why many third-party providers scream foul at the claim that their leads are of lesser quality and close at ratios below your own. In this article, I am attempting to shake the dust from the current, antiquated perception that you don’t have to inspect what you expect from your sales business. I have just barely touched the surface of what must be managed in the sales business process. It is imperative to change your thinking on who manages your Sales department and what is being managed. More managers must be involved because the business issues currently overlooked compromise your results more than you may realize.
Focus on Results
On a positive note, it is possible to get your Sales department under control. Regaining control will give you a handle on where your business is headed and help you put into place a management staff that is more in control and not looking for a savior. I want to encourage you to realign your team to pay closer attention to the process aspects of your business. Managing the results of a flawed process has led many in this industry to see with blinders. You can get control of a process in your store. You can make a decent gross profit on sales originated consumers. Managers do have time to manage sales because their floor traffic is dying without it. Your dealership can either plan or be left struggling in what is shaping up to be a challenging year. A saying we have all heard seems appropriate: Failing to plan is planning to fail.
Many trainers in today’s market focus on the development of specific Sales skill sets. While this isn’t a bad thing to get in line, it is, by far, not the first thing that needs attention to bring your sales business under control. Emails blasted or personally sent do not sell cars: People still sell cars. Phone scripts memorized or read do not sell cars: Personality and skill sell vehicles. Managers are almost always the ones selling the cars. Unpleasant as it can be when you’re busy, if you’re a manager, you and a few others in your store touch almost all the deals and cause them to happen. For this reason, managers must get involved at a whole new level, one that may be much lower than they may want to bend. Find a training company that can teach your managers who have a full plate to utilize their time effectively to monitor your sales process and floor traffic properly.
Focus on Profits
You will find gold at the end of this journey. It’s worth the work, and you might be surprised to find that even those who resisted finding it fun. Wouldn’t it be great to have fun selling cars again? Because we all know that is when the real profit is made.