Guest blog from The NextUp: “Five Signs of a Sick Sales Floor”
5 SIGNS OF A SICK SALES FLOOR
By: The NextUp, Brent Wees
Our Director of First Impressions, Brent Wees looks at a few phobias that grip your sales-floor and reduces your dealership’s productivity.
“There is one consolation with being sick; and that is the possibility that you may recover to a better state than you ever were before.” Henry David Thoreau
The true optimism of being sick, that things (you) will get better! This also rings true for your dealership. You heard me correctly, your dealership, specifically your sales floor could be under the weather. Speak to anyone who runs a dealership from an ownership or management level and they’ll tell you otherwise. We’re quick to make claims of flawless process and optimized staff. It’s the ego in which built this industry talking not the honest assessment of one’s process and customer experience.
Many dealerships have sick sales floors and don’t even know it. However, it’s easy to identify and my hope is these 5 warning signs will help you best assess whether you need to act.
- Cathisophobia – Fear of sitting: Does your sales staff love standing around for hours at a time chatting, smoking and gossiping? Of course, they do! It beats being at their desks doing appointment setting, replying to phone or internet leads. Staff clusters are the worst, if you have teams of sales people standing around near showroom entrances you need to take immediate action! Nothing sours that first visit to a dealership then being judged by a group of sales people with nothing better to do than pre-judge customers entering the store.
- Galeophobia – Fear of sharks: You know your sharks. The one who is selling more cars a month than the rest of the staff? Perhaps it’s only because they’re good at taking others off the market. Maybe it’s because they’re quick at identifying incoming cars. Do you know WHY they are successful? Maybe they’re burning ups? Cherry picking customers? Passing off customers after they’ve determined – in their minds – that they aren’t “now” buyers. Culturally sharks hurt your dealership. They may sell a lot of cars but at what expense to the store? Managers love their sharks because they help them achieve their bonuses. It’s an addiction that stifles the rest of your staff’s abilities to be successful. Floor culture is bad and sharks play a large part in high staff turnover and lack-luster customer experiences.
- Technophobia – Fear of technology: Many dealerships struggle with utilizing their sales CRM. Many sick sales floors rely on paper logs because “It’s easier” or “we’ve always done things this way”. Dealerships are investing in CRM technology only to be frustrated at its lack of use. You should be, the industry average for CRM utilization only hovers around 40%. I’m confident when you start truly tracking all transactions on your sales floor against what’s being logged in your CRM you’ll turn a bit green.
- Chronophobia – anxiety over the passage of time: Most of our staffs suffer from this crippling affliction. Sales meeting after sales meeting, when asked why staff aren’t following up with customers or logging interactions in the CRM you hear it. “There’s not enough time” or “I’m too busy to get to that”. It’s the battle cry of the over-worked sales staff. If said long and loud enough, managers begin to give up on trying to motivate people to do the necessary administration to make themselves and their store successful. When a store starts time tracking staff’s ACTUAL time with a live customer in the dealership they will see the average is 2 to 2.5 hours! This leaves 5.5 to 6 hours of dealership time not engaging live customers. Lots of free time here to work on curing some of the other phobias mentioned above?
- Hypengyophobia – fear of accountability: This can run store wide, ownership on down. In this age of evolving technology and processes, we must stop being afraid of adoption because “it’s going to expose my bad habits”. This affliction runs through management more than any other level of dealership staff. Once a dealership walks away from statements like “That’s too complicated” or “We’ve always done things this way” they can start to focus on how to evolve as a team. Your management must be strong enough to look this lack of accountability in the face and do something about it. If they don’t change, don’t expect they people they lead to change either. That’s easy to conclude.
The good news is that there are many ways to remedy a sick sales floor. There are trainers that focus on culture and leadership. Software exists that helps organizes your staff’s time on the floor and through their admin duties. Finally, there’s the simple remedy of making the first steps to change from the top of the organization down. A bandage won’t stop the bleeding if not properly administered. Same goes for your dealership’s process and culture.