November '15

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42 The Shop November 2015 "You can't sell a salesperson!" Even though we have all heard someone say that, if it was true there would only be two layers: manufacturers and customers— and there would be no middlemen. Every day in every industry, salespeople are selling salespeople on why to go with a certain product or service. However, ask a person on the street what they picture when they think of a "salesman." Most often, what they picture is—you guessed it—our friends at the car dealerships! Now I have met, known and am friends with many car salespeople and I am here to tell you a little secret: as much as they like to sell things, they like to buy things, too. The biggest thing I appreciate about car salespeople is that they know a good thing when they see it and they appreciate a hardworking salesperson. In fact, selling cars can sometimes be a thankless job when you think about the hours and schedule they keep, the knowl- edge they need to have on the product they sell—and the stigma and many times the distrust they must overcome when talking to a potential customer. Many people think they are being lied to when being sold a car when it's in fact the salespeople who put up with more lies, whether it's about credit scores, likes and dislikes, affordability—and even why they are or why they are not buying the vehicle. Yes, the car salesperson puts up with a lot more than the local jeweler or contractor. Don't get me wrong. There are still a few of those "badger" salespeople out there in the car world, but they are disappearing. SHOW SOME VALUE So, how do you "sell" the people who need to be at the top of their game just to make a living? How do you make an acquaintance at a dealership and then conduct a sales meeting for them? First and foremost, they must know you and that means multiple visits introducing and reintroducing yourself to the dealer- ship personnel. That would include the salespeople, sales manager, receptionist, parts manager, service manager, and even the lot guys. The more people you know at the dealership, the better off you are. Second, you must at some point show some value as to why you should have a few minutes to be a part of their sales meeting. Perhaps you are now offering a new product line and you want to make sure everyone is aware of it. Or, your com- pany is offering a new service that you would like to make known. For example, when the "add-on" naviga- tion systems that use the OE screens in new vehicles started coming out, we made it a point to set up meetings with the local Chevrolet dealers to show them this new way of adding them, since the radios could not be removed anymore like we were all used to. This opened up the way to sales and saved a lot of phone calls asking questions. We started another new service when we revised our website and began offering online ordering. For this new service, it was crucial to have face-to-face interac- tion to demonstrate how it worked—and only a good sales meeting would reach the masses quickly. STEP 1: SAY HELLO. STEP 2: REPEAT. It could just be the fact that they have agreed to start using your company more and you would like to thank them by bringing in some breakfast or lunch and reintroduce yourself to the sales staff. Once you have the relationship, an easy reason that can be used for being there is to just review with the staff the top prod- ucts that customers are asking for, such as remote starts and heated seats in the winter; and sunroofs and window tint in the summer. Our products change not only with the season, but with new model releases, so you should never have problems finding fresh things to show. Another reason to have a meeting is to make sure the sales staff is "trained" prop- erly on how to offer your products. This one seems to work well because managers are always looking for ways to improve on what their staff knows and what they can do to improve. Now, you can help train them on how to help sell a lower-priced vehicle that is in the customer's budget and just add the one or two accessories they like on the higher-end model that they can't afford. We are able, at the same time, to help them not overpromise that the product is exactly like the factory part. We are able to help the sales staff understand and pass on to their customers the advantages of the aftermarket parts, such as warranties, features, etc. Again, this is all done in a sales meeting. EAT AT JOE'S Now that you have a meeting scheduled, make your plan of attack—and start with food! There is no better way to grab the attention of a group of individuals for a few brief minutes than to start by bringing a gift—something they need—and food usually does the trick. If it's breakfast, don't just grab donuts— get some warm breakfast sandwiches or nice pastries with all the different cream cheeses. If you go cheap, you are sending the wrong message whether you mean to or not. And don't forget the drinks and plates, napkins, forks, etc. A little extra money and effort will go a long way. By Josh Poulson ReSTyling/AfTeRmARkeT AcceSSoRieS SaleS Story A few pointers on making a presentation to a room full of salespeople.

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