What your sales managers should be doing

Various industry studies indicate that the average sales manager is spending up to 80 per cent of their time in non-sales related activities, juggling up to 30 or more tasks in any given week.

Most are inundated with more administrative duties and paperwork than ever in the history of the retail car business, while also mastering numerous technologies.

Many of today’s sales managers have evolved to become sales administrators, and no longer know what the job of a sales manager truly is, or the priorities of the job. Many of these same sales managers often possess outstanding leadership, coaching, and deal-making skills that are being under-utilized and waiting to be unleashed.

Do you really want people in leadership positions stocking in vehicles, commissioning deals, doing dealer trades, and the plethora of other mundane tasks that keep them chained to a desk and shooing away sales consultants?

As a dealer principal or general manager, consider conducting a sales manager audit; identify and list all the various tasks that your sales manager currently attends to in a given day or week.

One dealer principal directed his sales manager to not do any paperwork, reports, or administration for one full week and to simply pile the files/documents on the dealer principal’s desk. The dealer principal was astounded as to the size of his dealership’s “paper monster” that was sitting on his sales manager’s shoulders week in and week out.

Determine how many of these tasks are administrative, versus those that directly work with sales consultants and help drive sales. Could some of these tasks and accompanying paperwork be moved to someone else in the organization who may be eager to learn and take them on? Is it time to hire an actual sales administrator or assistant? Is it time to hire an additional sales manager?

As a dealer principal or general manager, what do you want your sales managers doing each day?

As a dealer principal or general manager, what do you want your sales managers doing each day? Have you coached them and helped them establish, prioritize, and implement their most important daily tasks: those that actually help sell cars?

Below is an example of the five daily sales managers tasks/priorities. The list may provide a catalyst for thought, discussion, and action.

1. Facilitate 10-20-minute morning huddles (every day):

  • Announce/review business updates such as OEM incentives, dealership promotions, and month-to-date dealership performance/targets. Walk the pre-owned vehicle lot with the team to showcase fresh vehicle arrivals.
  • Share a success story from the previous day: a sales consultant victory, a prospective customer-appointment that purchased, a five-star Google Review, and so on.
  • Deliver a thought-provoking or motivating message or facilitate a brief learning: role-play presenting a proposal, overcoming a common objection (“I want to think about it”), or a vehicle exchange prospecting telephone call.

2. Conduct daily make-a-deal (MAD) meetings:

  • Meet with other sales manager(s) for a daily make-a-deal meeting. Review, develop a strategy, and contact (telephone, text and email) each and every unsold customer (now!), starting with customers that have visited the dealership within the past 24 hours. Convert contacts to showroom appointments.

3. Conduct mini one-on-ones with the sales consultants at their work stations:

  • This is designed to be five to 10 minutes each day (think speed-dating) to help sales consultants get their day (or shift) started in a supportive and productive manner.
  • Re-confirm today’s and/or tomorrow’s customer appointments.
  • Discuss and develop a strategy for incoming customer appointments
  • Check vehicles to be presented for cleanliness, fuel, etc.
  • Assist and coach the implementation of a minimum of one business development initiative (social media prospecting, etc.).
  • Establish productive sales consultant activities for today.

4. Meet customers within 10 minutes of their arrival in the dealership:

  • Sales managers should act as an ambassador of your dealership and meet every single customer within 10 minutes of their arrival to your dealership.
  • People feel “special” and appreciated when they meet the boss (early).
  • Sales managers are often skilled at quickly learning about the customer, their needs and wants and pointing the sale in the right direction (early on).
  • Sales managers are often (through experience and instinct) able to determine (early on) that a customer is indeed ready to purchase today.
  • Most dealerships do not have their sales managers meet customers early in their visit, hence it becomes a competitive advantage.

5. Assist in closing sales on the showroom floor:

  • The simple act of a sales manager getting involved to help a sales consultant close a sale (unequivocally) improves the dealership’s closing ratio and customer experience; customers will often acquiesce to the “boss” or confess as to what their concerns or objections are with respect to moving forward.
  • Sales managers are often able to deftly determine why a customer is not buying (today) and able to brainstorm and facilitate solutions.

“Sales Manager” is not a title. It is action and example.

The more a sales manager is out from behind a desk and working with their sales team and customers on the showroom floor, the more effective they will be in improving sales, gross profit, sales consultant development, and sales consultant retention.

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