"Jack Bennett's regular feature column in DEALER magazine, "Green Pea Diary," which is based on this book...
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Jack Bennett

 


It’s all about Attitude… isn’t it?

What I want to talk about here is something important,  elusive yet far more obvious.

Attitude!

It is the most important attribute your salespeople need.  And not just AN attitude, the RIGHT attitude.  Without the right attitude, no matter what the talent level, either your new salesperson will quit the business or worse, they’ll stay!  They’ll sell four or five cars a month, in spite of themselves rather than because of.  And like success and laughter, a bad attitude can be just as contagious.  People with bad attitudes will demoralize anyone that will listen.  And that my friend means the rest of the staff because if you’re not over your salespersons shoulder all day, the salesperson with the bad attitude will be.

And negative talk has a lot of listeners because those are the only people around.  The salespeople with the positive attitudes are all selling cars.  They don’t have time to stand around the coffee machine, the devils playground by the way.  So what we need to do is get the new guy flying out of the box on a great note.  But how?  GOALS.

I know goals are something we all talk about and we’ve all heard before.  “Sell 20 cars a month at $1500 profit each!”  But what I’m talking about are much simpler, yet much more important goals.  Personal goals.  If you help your salespeople set important personal goals you and they will see the only way to attain them is to sell more cars.  If a salesperson wants to buy a house, he’ll have to sell more cars.  If you tell a salesperson he better sell 20 cars or he’ll be living with his mom till he’s 50, he’ll fail.

The problem with most dealership and management goal setting ideas is that they all revolve around the car business.  How many cars are you going to sell this month?  How many ups are you going to get?  How many referrals will you see?  Goal setting should be much more.  It has to be.  For a salesperson to take ownership of his or her ideas, dreams and future, they need to look at obtaining things that are important to them!

Most salespeople get up in the morning and don’t have an attitude one way or another.  But as soon as they start the daily grind, their attitude for the day starts to formulate.  Everything they feel from one moment to the next is dictated by what just happened to them.  The cut themselves shaving (for those that shave) and their attitude goes down.  Damn!  It’s going to be one of those days!”  As soon as they say that, they’ve decided that they will have a bad day!  But if they decide not to go back to bed and move forward with their day, the next good thing that happens to them will improve their attitude.  And so on.  By the time they get to the dealership they have had so many ups and downs they have no idea what their attitude will be when they take their first up.

The need to be proactive, take responsibility and have direction.  They need to have a reason to put one foot in front of the other each day.  They need to have goals.  Bigger more important goals than, “I’m gonna sell a boatload of iron this month.”

But what is a goal?

“A goal is a measurable objective in a predetermined amount of time.”

Here’s where you can help.  In the next sales meeting, have your salespeople, and even your managers take out a piece of paper-NOT THE BACK OF A BUSINESS CARD!  They should have something to write on at every sales meeting anyway.  

1) Have them make a list of five things they want to do with their lives.  It can be anything.  I want to meet the president.  I’d like to join a hockey league.  I’d like to travel to Europe.  I say start with five but a good list should have 20-25.  They should be social, family AND work related.  If they are having trouble ask them to write down what they would do if they just won the lottery.

2) Have them then put a realistic date next to each goal.  I want to sell 50 cars in the next two weeks is not realistic.  But remember, “I want to sell 25 in the next 6 months,” isn’t realistic either, is it?

3) Lastly, have them go back and prioritize each one.  And they should number them in order of importance, not by date of accomplishment.  A person that wants to be president might have that as their number one goal even though their goal of building a new house would actually happen sooner.

Once a person can see on paper, what’s important to them, those goals become much more real.

The way to accomplish goals is to break down each one.  Goals are obtained as short, mid-term and long term.  If someone wants to be a General Manager in five years, that’s a long-term goal.  So they would need mid-term goals of education or training.  Their short-term goals then would be to sell as many cars as they can and learn as much as they can through their on-the-job experiences day to day.

For Example:  You all know I’m an actor and screenwriter as well as a dealership owner.  I have a goal of working in television.  I have written a TV pilot and several screenplays and my goal is to sell one of them.  If I do, I might get to act in one of those projects.  So, my short-term goals are to keep acting on a local level to get better.  My mid-term goals are to keep making contacts in Los Angeles and New York who can help me reach my goals.  In the meantime I also have my dealership goals.  And of course those are broken down into the three phases as well.

Once your staff has done this exercise, their lives will become more orderly and they will even find themselves getting lucky. 

“Luck is when preparedness meets opportunity.
 
If your sales staff has a really important reason to come to work, they will be excited to do so, and the little things like a shaving cut, won’t ruin their day.

Good Luck and Good Selling

A goal is a measurable objective in a predetermined amount of time.”

Copyright © 2013 Jack Bennett. All rights reserved. Updated September 2013
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