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A Haircut AND Sales Training

Posted by John Fuhrman on November 9, 2011 at 2:05 PM Comments comments (1)

After more than a few weeks on the road, I needed a haircut. I've been blessed (or cursed) with a full head of hair that grows very fast. I am not all that keen on having my hair cut in spas, salons, etc. But I do admit that going to the franchise Sports Clips is fun in a manly way. You get to watch ESPN and they give you a massage after your cut. And, I really like the hot towel on my face.

Because it's my birthday this month, I received an email from Sports Clips reminding me of the fact that another year has passed and they wanted to invite me for a free MVP level hair cut. (The works) I took a walk over to the shop to see if I could get in for a cut and all the rest.

I was immediately greeted and actually welcomed to the shop. Noticing my printed email, the gal behind the desk immediately wished me a happy birthday and said I would be next in line to get taken care of. I got more than that.

Dineen, the manager came over, shook my hand, and told me that she'd be taking care of me today. After getting me seated in the chair, she complimented my hair and asked what I wanted to accomplish today. I explained how I like my hair cut and from that moment until we finished, she made me feel like I was the only one there. After the cut, Dineen took me back to get shampoo and hot towel treatment. (I like it when they wash the clippings out of your hair after it's cut).

When she got me comfortable in my massaging chair, she told me that she wanted to try a new shampoo on my hair to see how it would make my hair feel. After asking me if that was okay, she proceeded to lather me up and cover my face with the hot towel. She continued and then rinsed me off and we proceeded back to her station where I was blown dry and cleaned up.

After letting me take a look at the finished product, she asked how I thought it looked. I told her that I was pleased and then she asked me to feel my hair. I did and it was certainly different. But, the question she asked was far better than any closing question I had heard in some of the many training classes I had been through. Rather than ask me to buy some shampoo, she asked, "How long do you want your hair to feel like that?" Before I could even answer, as we walked to the register, she put a bottle on the counter and just waited for me to take out my wallet.

Imagine if we focused on really welcoming the customer. Suppose we treated them as if they were the only other people on the planet. And then, ask yourself how it might be if we were able to share how the customer would feel after buying from us BEFORE we even asked them to purchase.

I'm looking forward to my next haircut. I've got more to learn.

John Fuhrman is the Senior National Trainer for Carolina Automotive Resource Services, a unit of The Dealer Resource Group. His ten books have reached 1.5 million readers and he has trained sales professionals around the world. Our Trainers are ready to work for you and develop a sales team you can be proud of. Email us by Wednesday and we're in your dealership on Monday ready to interview. When your dealership needs amazing results hiring new people, visit http://www.thedealerresourcegroup.net. ATTENTION DEALERS: VISIT OUR WEB SITE AND REGISTER TO KEEP UP ON MONTHLY TRAINING SAVING SPECIALS. Our trainers are ready to show you our "WOW!" factor. (c)2011 by John Fuhrman - Permission to reprint this post in its entirety, including contact information, is hereby granted.

Don't Stop At The Beginning

Posted by John Fuhrman on October 31, 2011 at 9:05 AM Comments comments (0)

This is my first day back after a five week road trip. I had the priviledge of working with some top dealers to help them staff their sales team with trained recruits. But, that can also be a curse if the dealer simply sends them on to the floor, wishing them luck, adn hoping for the best. My job and that of many of my colleagues at other companies is to help new people build a solid foundation for each of the dealers to build upon. In other words, I am only the beginning.

When interviewing potential candidates, I explain that my job is to give them enough of a base so that all the information they are going to learn at their dealership makes sense. A trainer, in this situation, needs to give the students a bit of familiarity of the overall sales process and then turn their students over to begin more specific training at the dealership where they work. Skipping or ignoring the continued training can often slow growth, increase frustration and even reduce the results expected.

After 32 years in dealerships, I know the reluctance to training due to time, business, budget, and downright resistence from sales people. But, these new students are more open to training and in many cases eager to learn all there is to learn. Best of all, this continuing education can happen while they are working with customers, doing follow-up calls, and at sales meetings. It only takes a decision.

One suggestion is to make these brief training sessions optional to your veterans. You'll be amazed at how they begin coming around when the new people continuosly start out-selling them. Let them decide for themselves and you'll see those who do will get more value from the training and adhere to what they've learned. That can show the new people the importance of continuing to look for ways to learn more and invest in themselves.

Another is to bring in a trainer just for your senior staff. Make it an "Experienced Only" training. Investing in those who have been doing the work will not only increase their knowledge, it will also instill confidence that the dealer still values their experience. It also shows your new people that the dealership continues to place a premium on keeping good people. You can even make it an incentive by allowing only certain levels of production to attend. In other words, make training an award for good effort and production.

This is the best time of year for training of any kind. The holidays, winter, year end, can all mean a bit of a slow-down in traffic. This call allow more time for training without "taking time off the floor" as an excuse for not training. It should increase productivity at a time when you want to close strong. Everyone wins.

John Fuhrman is the Senior National Trainer for Carolina Automotive Resource Services, a unit of The Dealer Resource Group. His ten books have reached 1.5 million readers and he has trained sales professionals around the world. Our Trainers are ready to work for you and develop a sales team you can be proud of. Email us by Wednesday and we're in your dealership on Monday ready to interview. When your dealership needs amazing results hiring new people, visit http://www.thedealerresourcegroup.net. ATTENTION DEALERS: VISIT OUR WEB SITE AND REGISTER TO KEEP UP ON MONTHLY TRAINING SAVING SPECIALS. Our trainers are ready to show you our "WOW!" factor. (c)2011 by John Fuhrman - Permission to reprint this post in its entirety, including contact information, is hereby granted.

Change "I Know" to "I Care"

Posted by John Fuhrman on October 23, 2011 at 6:20 AM Comments comments (0)

When you think about all that goes in to creating a professional in the auto industry, what comes to mind? Usually things like, training, dedication, persistence, confidence and motivation come to mind. All of these are important and valuable components essential for any professional, but they can't be effective without the one element that ties it all together. You have to care. Smarter people than I have always said, "People don't care how much you know until they know how much you care."

Coming from a trainer who has a responsibility to provide the knowledge to new people entering the auto sales profession, this may sound a bit strange. But, it really makes perfect sense. Our "experienced people" in dealerships today are knowledgeable by training, but do they care? The answer is in the numbers and their attitude. Those consistenly scoring high sales with great CSI aren't doing it with pure knowledge. Their real value to the dealer is that they care about their job so they continue to train. More importantly, they value their customers so they continue to CARE!

Most of the time.

This week I was conducting a recruiting campaign in NJ. Many applicants contact us through our website or via email. Our program goes like this. We interview Monday and Tuesday and then train Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday. I get an email on Monday from a "Pro" with many years of experience. However, he requested an interview but wanted a special one on Thursday. I replied that we will be trianing on that day, but I would be happy to speak with him on Monday or Tuesday. (If an experienced sales person is interviewed, we usually let the dealer hire them at no cost.) His email response blew me away.

It went something like this: "Let me tell you something! I have over 20 years retail experience. Instead of parading a bunch of new people in fornt of the dealer, why not give him someone with experience!"

I shared this with the dealer and he agreed that that type of attitude probably wouldn't fit in his store, but, if they were willing to come in on Monday or Tuesday, he would be happy to sit and talk with them and give them the benefit of the doubt. So, per my client's instruction, I emailed him back and told him that the dealer would love to speak with him but it would have to be during the times set on Monday and Tuesday.

The response came back in bold letters - "You get me that dealers name and email address and I'll contact him myself. You obviously have no clue about hiring!"

I shared this with the dealer and his answer is really what inspired this article. He said, I can't hire someone who doesn't care about my dealership, my customers, and even my hiring practice. That type of person can become a canser on a sales floor and I've invested too much to go through that here.

The funny thing is, if that person had simply come down and interviewed on Monday or Tuesday, he'd find that there was a real opportunity at this dealership. The future expansion means more opportunities and management possibilities. But since the prime objective was to push everyone around because he has 20 years of auto experience and dealers should accomodate him, I imagine he does a lot of traveling between jobs.

Dealers should always be looking for the best training and information available in today's competitive market. But, as long as they focus on having people who care about every aspect of their job and the customers they serve, staying on top of your market will remain simple.

 

John Fuhrman is the Senior National Trainer for Carolina Automotive Resource Services, a unit of The Dealer Resource Group. His ten books have reached 1.5 million readers and he has trained sales professionals around the world. Our Trainers are ready to work for you and develop a sales team you can be proud of. Email us by Wednesday and we're in your dealership on Monday ready to interview. When your dealership needs amazing results hiring new people, visit http://www.thedealerresourcegroup.net. ATTENTION DEALERS: VISIT OUR WEB SITE AND REGISTER TO KEEP UP ON MONTHLY TRAINING SAVING SPECIALS. Our trainers are ready to show you our "WOW!" factor. (c)2011 by John Fuhrman - Permission to reprint this post in its entirety, including contact information, is hereby granted.

Are You Trainin Your Replaement?

Posted by John Fuhrman on September 2, 2011 at 10:25 AM Comments comments (0)

In 1982 I had the biggest blessing ever in the car business. "Bruce" hired me as a sales person. Bruce was the GM of a small Ford store in NJ and I was still finding my way around the business. All I knew for sure was that I wanted to be a sales manager. At that time, I couldn't tell a good one from a bad one but I still wanted to be one.

 

From the very first day I hit the floor, Bruce was active in helping me on my quest. He explained everything on every deal and then sent me back in to be with the customer. If I didn't do exactly as he told me to (usually out of fear for what the customer might say), he would send me right back in there with exactly the same information. And he told me not to come back unless I did what he said. He taught me to be creative and use my imagination to see into the customer's mind.

 

Soon, the dealer was getting some heat from the factory about adding rentals to his fleet (which consisted of 0 cars). He went to Bruce about this "rental thing" and Bruce told him to give it to me. I was still selling cars but for an extra $75 a week plus a piece of the rental profits, I took the "promotion." As soon as I said "yes," Bruce was asking me how I planned on renting the cars. I had no idea. So, he tossed me a phone book and asked me who in the book would rent cars.

 

Within a month I had all 4 of my rentals on the road nearly every day. The department was profitable from the very first month. I believe my first "bonus" was around $62.00. But, I was in management. And, in my mind, on my way to the top. Then, the dealer decided to get into the fleet business and somehow he felt it was perfectly related to rentals. But Bruce was right there making sure I was pointed in the right direction. A few months later, I sold a fleet of 205 LTD ll's (Remember them?) to one company.

 

As soon as that order came in, Ford began pushing its Red Carpet Leasing program and guess who got to take it on? Because of Bruce I was able to tell the dealer that I would do it if I was the only one involved with the leasing process. Most of the dealers at that time thought leasing was just a passing fad. I wasn't smart enough to know one way or the other but I took the assignment for all it was worth. Ultimately, I appeared on a major radio show in New York City and the phone was ringing off the hook. That next month I leased as many new cars as the restof the dealership sold retail.

 

When word of this reached other dealers in the zone, I started getting my wish. I was being asked to be a manager for a few dealers. I talked to Bruce and was kind of surprised at how he seemed eager to push me away. I asked him how he could afford to let me go after all the work he did. His answer shaped how I managed for the rest of my time in retail and continues now in the running of my company.

 

He told me that he treated everyone in the dealership exactly the same. Each person was in Bruce's training program from the very beginning. The difference was in who took the training and did something with it. Those who did, prospered. Those who didn't somehow faded away. But, no matter which catagory you fell into, Bruce continued as if each person was his top trainee.

 

He also told me this. "Whether you think you're training your replacement or not, you are." And you will be judged accordingly. Ignore your people's potential for improvement and the results will soon reach that level of commitment. Treat everyone as if they will be massively successful and the results will blow you away.

 

John Fuhrman is the Senior National Trainer for Carolina Automotive Resource Services, a unit of The Dealer Resource Group. His ten books have reached 1.5 million readers and he has trained sales professionals around the world. Check out our new ADVERTISING ONLY package for small dealers or dealers who want to train their own people. When your dealership needs amazing results hiring new people, visit http://www.thedealerresourcegroup.webs.com . ATTENTION DEALERS: VISIT OUR WEB SITE AND REGISTER TO KEEP UP ON MONTHLY TRAINING SAVING SPECIALS. Our trainers are ready to show you our "WOW!" factor. (c)2011 by John Fuhrman - Permission to reprint this post in its entirety, including contact information, is hereby granted.

Do For - Do With - Let Do

Posted by John Fuhrman on August 3, 2011 at 7:25 AM Comments comments (0)

Training. It's an important element to any successful department. While it's my livelihood now, when I was managing dealerships, I think I missed a lot of opportunities to be a better trainer. Standing in front of a room for an hour or less delivering a technique or other instruction, just didn't create the improvement I was looking for. Later in my career, many managers confirmed that belief with their own experience. While multi-day training programs, with notebooks and class participation are very effective, sales meeting training sessions often missed the mark.

Eventually, I developed a three step process for effective training. The results are an incredible retention rate, whch eliminates having to have multiple sales meetings about the sme thing. But the real benefit was a higher participation by the sales team which led to improved results.

As a confident leader, you must have the confidence of your team. There is now better way than to show that something new can and will work. What better way than with step number one of this process than to do exactly that. The next time you want to implement something new, explain it and discuss the potential results. Then, for the first few times, "do it for them," until they see the proof of success. After each performance, review with them why certain things happened, how you handled them, and what they can expect when you move to the next step.

After they've seen evidence that it works, split the task. Tell your team that they will be respsponsiblefor a portion and you will be there to back them up, jump in, and do the remaining part. The #2 Do is to "do it with them," and give them a bigger portion of the task as they progress. As soon as you finish, talk about their performance. I strongly recommend only correcting one thing each time. I would compliment them on the things they did right and close with, "If you improve this one thing, the result will be better," and leave it at that. As long as they feel they are getting more of it right than wrong, they will strive to improve.

The final phase of the "Do Do Do" process is to let them do it while you watch. This will flow directly out of the #2 Do as you graduallygive them a larger portion of the task. As you "Let them do it," you can review after each result, make adjustments, and reinforce the better results. This is a test for both of you. You'll get to see how well they pay attention while also evaluating how confident you made them feel through the earlier parts of the process.

We can all agree that a good portion of any success is attitude. Following these simple steps will result in a much more confident team. Confidence always imporves attitude. As an added benefit, you'll find that other areas of prformance improve as your team adopts this process for themselves in other areas of the job. So, the next time you have to implement something new; "Do it for them, then do it with them, and finally, let them do it."

John Fuhrman is the Senior National Trainer for Carolina Automotive Resource Services, a unit of The Dealer Resource Group. His ten books have reached 1.5 million readers and he has trained sales professionals around the world. When your dealership needs amazing results when hiring new people, visit http://www.thedealerresourcegroup.webs.com. ATTENTION DEALERS: VISIT OUR WEB SITE AND REGISTER TO KEEP UP ON MONTHLY TRAINING SAVING SPECIALS. Our trainers are ready to show you our "WOW!" factor. (c)2011 by John Fuhrman - Permission to reprint this post in its entirety, including contact information, is hereby granted.

Working "WOW!" Backward

Posted by John Fuhrman on July 28, 2011 at 8:40 AM Comments comments (0)

When salespeople get to work in the morning, what's their goal for the day? As managers plan the week or the month, what outcome are they focusing on? When dealers set their sites on year end, what do they see? Usually, in each case, whatever it is, it's not enough. Sales people want a sale, or a commission. Managers focus on total volume or gross. And dealers see that they ended up above water.

 

Unfortunately, with visions like that, even if you accomplish what you set out to do, so what? But, like most goals, if you just miss, the results can be devastating. Yet, in dealerships, and in other industries I've trained for, the focus on doing what ever it takes to survive, is considered a good effort. Maybe you need a little magic.

 

Take our salesperson for example. If they were asked their goal for a day, and responded that they were going to sell a vehicle, most would be complimented for their great attitude. But, if they achieved their goal, what is the real result? Inventory would simply be reduced by a unit, a profit would be made, and that would be it. The achievment is final. The probablility of that customer sending referrals, using service, or ever even coming back, is left totally to chance. But, there is an illusion of success.

 

As a speaker and trainer, I've had the privilege to travel the world and work with some amazing professionals. One of my colleagues is a world class magician. I mean, he can do things right in front of your face and you can't do anything except be amazed. As a writer who makes a living with words, the only one that came to mind with each trick he performed as, "Wow!" I don't know about you, but I love magic. It just amazes me. A great magician takes you way beyond illusion. They make you believe what you see and after seeing it, you are taken to a new level.

 

We were at a convention together and he had performed the night before. At breakfast, we were talking about what makes a great magician and how does that translate into a fantastic show. His explanation has become a part of my training for nearly a decade.

 

A real magician never sees things in order. They always start with the result, the end of the trick, and then work backward until it can be polished and performed. But, the goal is never just to have the trick work. It is never about everything going as planned. The thought of preventing mistakes never even enters their mind. They always go just a step or two beyond the end of the illusion. Their focus is to leave the audience at "WOW!" They get to the "wow" factor and work back from there.

 

Once the trick is perfected mechanically, it now has to take shape as a performance. It has to appear amazing. The only way to consistently reach that level is to see it hapen and then work back, step by step until you are back at the beginning. And, after witnessing one unbelievable performance after another, I began to understand.

 

Suppose our salesperson changed his goal for the day just a bit and instead of just selling a car, they focused on how the customer would feel about buying from them. What if they had a goal of getting the customer to "WOW!"? Imagine if they saw the customer eager to write a letter to the dealer explaining their amazing treatment. Now, if they took that feeling and worked backward step by step until they were just getting to work, what would they be doing differently.

 

Whatever your job is, the question should be, "What do I need to do to have amazing results?" If you seriously ask that question on a daily basis, you will be what you want to achieve - amazing! More importantly, asking that question and taking the steps won't require much more effort than what you currently do. It's just that you'll have a much better time doing it.

 

John Fuhrman is the Senior National Trainer for Carolina Automotive Resource Services, a unit of The Dealer Resource Group. His ten books have reached 1.5 million readers and he has trained sales professionals around the world. When your dealership needs amazing results when hiring new people, visit http://www.thedealerresourcegroup.webs.com. Our trainers are ready to show you our "WOW!" factor. (c)2011 by John Fuhrman - Permission to reprint this post in its entirety, including contact information, is hereby granted.

Choosing The Process (9th in the Choosing Series)

Posted by John Fuhrman on July 5, 2011 at 7:27 AM Comments comments (0)

In recent articles, in training, and in other discussions, I've commented that monkeys can close deals. Now, when I say this in front of a live audience, I am looking for an expected reaction so that we can engage in a good program. In all cases, it is not to insult those who are successful "closers." But, the reality is, closing a deal is merely the result of proper planning and execution of the real key to selling - the process.

 

I would expect true closers to actually agree that without a process, effective closing is virtually impossible. Nothing helps prove my point better that our very industry. Too many sales people are into negotiations within three minutes of hello. They are closing shortly after that. The result, low grosses on low numbers. All the training in the world covering the latest and greatest closing techniques will have little effect and the value of such training will soon be lost as blame for ineffective results will fall to the training.

 

Sticking with the "traditions" and actual experiences in dealerships, we have all seen the greenpea have their best month at the beginning and then watch as the numbers decrease from there. Why is that? Is it because they came to the dealer knowing how to close deals and then forgot as their "experience" grew? Or. is it more likely that the managers got them started on a process, made sure they followed it, and helped them achieve results? I think we can all be honest and come up with the right answer.

 

The process is what gives us the right to close. This is a right that must be earned with every customer. Each step of the process is required to earn the right to take the next step in the process. More importantly, the performance of each step is what makes us effective in subsequent steps. The better we perform, the easier the steps that follow, become. By the time we've really earned the right to close, the objections are less threatening, the negotiations are less stressful, and the result is a happier customer at a higher gross.

 

As many of you know, my books have resulted in over 1.5 million readers. As an author, that's a pretty good result. But, no matter how good my books are, I didn't get to start at one million four hundred thousand and ninety-nine and then just get one more. I had to follow a process of planning, publicity, promotion, and then repeat that process over and over. At book signings, I didn't get to stand by the cash register and autograph books as they were paid for. I had to stand in the enter of the book store, share a bit of information about each book in such a way as to make the reader want to buy it and then offer to sign it as a final inducement. Did everyone buy? Of course not. But enough people did to complete the process to where it is today.

 

Now that I'm working on another book, I am also planing the promotion and publicity with the hope of achieving similar results. While there is no guarantee that I'll even get the book published, following a tested and proven process does increase my odds of success. Isn't that what you want for yourself or your sales staff?

 

By choosing a process and committing to it, you'll find that closing becomes just another step rather than a fight to the death. You'll become better at achieving the desired results because you will find yourself in a position to close more often. But the real benefit is, by following a pre-planned process each and every time, you won't be lost along the way and can keep your customer on the path toward a decision that you'd like them to make. Besides, if you execute all the steps in the process, you've earned the right to close.

 

It's your choice.

 

John Fuhrman is the Senior National Trainer for Carolina Automotive Resource Services, a unit of The Dealer Resource Group. His ten books have reached 1.5 million readers and he has trained sales professionals around the world. Currently, he is training new sales people for dealers through his cutting edge programs. Learn more at http://www.thedealerresourcegroup.webs.com and see the previous "Choosing" series and other articles. (c)2011 by John Fuhrman - Permission to reprint this post in its entirety, including contact information, is hereby granted.

Choosing Change (8th in the Choosing Series)

Posted by John Fuhrman on July 5, 2011 at 7:25 AM Comments comments (0)

In all of the training programs I attended as a salesperson, there was one question that was always brought up. Can you guess what it is? Here's a hint. Every trainer who ever talked about it, called it the stupidest question you can ever ask. Have an idea yet? It's the age old - "Can I help you?" How many of us had that pounded into our heads at every training session we ever attended? And yet, the reason it's still talked about is that too many people are using it as a greeting.

 

There are reasons that things we know should change somehow never do. Whether it's a question that shouldn't be asked or a practice that should be discontinued, the reason for its continuity is just as awkward as the previous question. It's a statement that has caused many talented people to quit the industry as will as put quite a few dealers out to pasture.

 

I hear it most often when I visit a dealer for the first time and explain what I do. After sharing all the benefits dealers can enjoy by bringing in outside experts to handle hiring and training, I get told that te dealer is all set. When I ask why they aren't looking at this opportunity, the answer is one of two responses that I rank right up there with, "Can I help you?"

 

The first is, "This is the way we've always done things."

 

Now, before you think I'm going to get all negative, give me a second. You see, I think this statement is perfectly okay. Afterall, it is their dealership. They made the investment in time and money. They suffered through the tough times and took all the risks. If they are totally happy with the way things are, more power to them. They earned it. Throw me and any other vendor right out the door. I have absolutely no problem with that. As long as they understand the rights they've given up.

 

They lose the right to complain when things get slow. They also give up the right to expect sales, profits, and other things to improve. As long as you continue to do things the way you've always done them, congratulations. You can now predict your future. That's because it will look exactly like your past and your present. If you keep doing what you've always done, you'll keep having what you've always had. If you're happy with that, great.

 

The second response is one that really gets me going. "We tried that once it didn't work."

 

Can you really say that and mean it. Suppose your parents reacted that way when you got up to take your first step and then fell. You'd be crawling around your dealership right now. Suppose you invested all your money and time into building your store and the first customer said no. How would you use the empty dealership today?

 

Look, I'm a trainer. I know the value of what I train. I also know that not every dealer needs or can even use my services. What makes my company successful is that we're willing to walk away when we're not the right fit for the dealer. We've also learned to make adjustments for our trainers and for our dealers to fit current market conditions as wellas for growth. Most of all, we understand that without dealers, we're just a group of old car people with nothing to do. So our focus is on making the right changes to maintain and increase our relationships with our target market.

 

By choosing change as a specific strategy for our future, we make adjustments to better serve our clients, handle the changing market, and improve on the quality of our offerings to each of our dealers. It keeps us fresh and more importantly, let's our dealers know that we are constantly changing to always serve them at the level they've come to expect.

 

The Choice Is Yours.

 

John Fuhrman is the Senior National Trainer for Carolina Automotive Resource Services, a unit of The Dealer Resource Group. His ten books have reached 1.5 million readers and he has trained sales professionals around the world. Currently, he is training new sales people for dealers through his cutting edge programs. Learn more at http://www.thedealerresourcegroup.webs.com and see the previous "Choosing" series and other articles. (c)2011 by John Fuhrman - Permission to reprint this post in its entirety, including contact information, is hereby granted.

Choosing Honesty (7th in the Choosing Series)

Posted by John Fuhrman on June 24, 2011 at 6:43 AM Comments comments (0)

I want to talk about honesty among those of us in the profession. Before you get all hot and bothered, I'm not referring to how you do your business. We all know that the vast majority of auto people conduct their business with honesty and integrity. Those who don't aren't going to change because I wrote an article calling them out. This is about internal honesty.

As a sales trainer, my concern and goal is to leave every client, every attendee, better off than they were before they met me. I work hard to live my life the same way. Honesty plays a big part in this ongoing effort. When things don't work out as planned, or the results aren't up to my standards, I have to be honest about it. That's the honesty I'm talking about.

I have to look inside and give myself an honest appraisel of my performance. Was it really my best? Could I have handled a particular situation better? Should I have taken a student aside to work with them rather than have that situation impact the class dynamic? These are the questions that need asking. But the only way to insure a constant improvement in performance is in choosing to honestly answer each question.

Whether you're a new salesperson or a seasoned manager, choosing honesty is the first step in planning to do better. After a bad month, blaming any or all outside factors, especially the ones that you don't have the power to change, will not give you the guidence to improve in the coming months. In fact, focusing on the things you can't control will prevent you from even asking the right questions. And, without the right questions, there's no possibility at arriving at the best solution.

I always recommend making a list of things to evaluate moving forward. Being honest about what you put on the list will go a long way to helping you improve much quicker that simply relying on market swings. But, the list should not be all about faults and mistakes. You need to be honest about what you did well so you can keep the good stuff and adjust the rest.

Even if you only sould a few cars this past month, ask yourself what you did well on those particular deals. Then, after you can see what you need to do more of, it's okay to start asking yourself what could you improve. Do it in segments. For example: What could I improve in greeting customers? How could I improve on talking to more people? Or, as a manager: How could I improve on getting more involved with a deal? How could I get better at sharing tips with my sales team?

The bottom line is, it's your bottom line. If you can't be honest in developing a plan to get the results where you want them to be, you'll be totally relying on luck. If it's luck you want to play with, buy lottery tickets. The results will be similar to your job.

It's your choice.

John Fuhrman is the Senior National Trainer for Carolina Automotive Resource Services, a unit of The Dealer Resource Group. His ten books have reached 1.5 million readers and he has trained sales professionals around the world. Currently, he is training new sales people for dealers through his cutting edge programs. Learn more at http://www.thedealerresourcegroup.webs.com and see the previous "Choosing" series and other articles. (c)2011 by John Fuhrman - Permission to reprint this post in its entirety, including contact information, is hereby granted.

Choosing The Prize (6th in the Choosing Series)

Posted by John Fuhrman on June 17, 2011 at 1:02 PM Comments comments (0)

Modesty is over-rated.

It's okay to stand in front of the mirror or your peers and proclaim that you're going for sales person of the month. It's okay to claim to achieve the highest gross in the coming month. Simply put, it's okay to choose the prize. Actually, it's better than okay. It's essential.

Choosing the prize means you understand what it takes to get there. Deciding on excellence and the benefits that come with such an achievement causes one to understand the ingredients necessary to fulfill such an endeavor. In fact, making that choice is the very thing that keeps us going when the task seems too much to handle.

Too often people are trained that goal setting is about finding things that are realistic and attainable. I grew up in New Jersey - that's crap. Goals should be biger than anything we've ever done before. That's because to achieve them, we're going to have to work harder and longer than ever before so it should be something worthy of such an effort.

When I'm interviewing potential trainees for one of our dealerships, I'm often asked if someone new to the business can really make six figures. My answer is always the same. "Absolutely!" I pause and then continue, "But, you have to do a hundred thousand dollar job. You aren't going to make that kind of money with $40,000 worth of effort." Look at it this way, the best part of our profession is that every payday is a report card. It reflects our efforts of the past pay period.

Here's another way to look at it. How many of you would like to succeed beyond your wildest dreams? Well, here's step one. You need to have wild dreams. Shocker. You can't possibly achieve the top level of success without first wanting to get there. And, you can't get there without doing the work. So, it only stands to reason that the first thing one needs to do in order to have a shot at the prize is to first claim it and then do the work.

It's your choice.

John Fuhrman is the Senior National Trainer for Carolina Automotive Resource Services, a unit of The Dealer Resource Group. His ten books have reached 1.5 million readers and he has trained sales professionals around the world. Currently, he is training new sales people for dealers through his cutting edge programs. Learn more at http://www.thedealerresourcegroup.webs.com  and see the previous "Choosing" series and other articles. (c)2011 by John Fuhrman - Permission to reprint this post in its entirety, including contact information, is hereby granted.


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