day without having much say on whether the day was productive or not. And keep in mind, anytime I use the word “productive”, I’m always talking about profit-generating. You can spend the entire day cleaning your desk, and think that your day was busy. But was it productive? Did you do anything today to generate profit? And for any successful businessperson, profit is the bottom line.
Since we’re talking about profit, let’s focus for a second on the money part of what you do. It used to be that if a salesperson took a job on a commission basis, it was because he/she was money motivated — the high risk yields high rewards philosophy. You have the opportunity to make a lot of money, or very little money. Someone once said that selling is the hardest highest paying job, and the easiest lowest paying job. The rule in the automotive industry is, most salespeople get used to living on the money they make, instead of making the type of money they want to live on. If you’re currently making $35,000 per year, you get used to living on $35,000 per year. You buy or rent a $35,000 home, drive a $35,000 per year vehicle, eat at $35,000 per year restaurants, and go on $35,000 per year vacations, if you can even afford to go on a vacation without worrying whether the electric bill is going to get paid that month. The fact is, there’s so much more money to be made out there. And to get it, it’s not going to necessarily take more skills, it’s just going to take more work. How many of you would be willing to do a little more work if you could make an extra $1000 per month? Well, here’s something I can assure you. If you make an extra $1000 per month, you’ll know how to spend it.
I want you to be able to buy all the things in life that money can buy. Someone once said, “Money isn’t everything,” but it was probably said by someone who didn’t have any. One of the reasons you got into auto sales is because someone told you that if you got into auto sales, you’d have the opportunity to make unlimited income, sky’s the limit. Well, where is all this unlimited income? It’s out there. Somebody’s making it. Your whole concept needs to be, “why shouldn’t it be me, and how am I going to make it?”
If you really want to make more money — you can. But not everyone wants to make more. Some people can live very meagerly. As long as they can pay their bills, and have enough money left over for a movie once a month, and maybe a night out at a decent restaurant, they’re happy. These individuals will not develop the work ethic to make more money. But if you’re the type of salesperson that likes “things”, this is the program for you. Making more money means you need to become money motivated. You need to love the money, and all the things it can buy. In fact, you should be working to buy things, not just to pay bills. If you’re working to pay bills, you’re basically working a survival method for living. I don’t want you to just survive. I know that money won’t buy happiness, but believe me, money will buy you a lot of things that will make you happy. Ask yourself this question: Is there something that you want right now that you can’t have because you don’t have enough money? If there is, you can have it. And it’s not going to take more skills, it’s simply going to take more work.
I’ve focused the initial part of this presentation on money because let’s face it, it’s really hard to live in today’s economy without it. But success isn’t just determined by the amount of money you make. Someone once said that “success isn’t the destination, it’s the quality of your journey.” All of the things you’ll do along the way to have a better life, a loving family, a strong mental attitude, will add to your definition of success.
Anthony Robbins, a very successful and famous motivator and trainer said, “Success leaves clues.” Successful people have left clues all over the place on how to become successful. We don’t have to reinvent the wheel. All we need to do is to find out what those clues are, and then do them. Well, that gets to be the problem. It’s the doing them that many salespeople have an issue with. You’ve all heard the phrase, “knowledge is power.” Well, knowledge isn’t power, it’s the utilization of knowledge that’s power. You can know everything about everything, but if you never use it, then what good is it?
Someone also said, “Successful people do all of the things unsuccessful people don’t want to do.” If this truly is the case, which I believe it is, let’s talk a little about what it takes to become successful. I chose five areas for you to concentrate on that I feel will move you forward. There are many more, so once you make the commitment for success, you’ll think of others.
1. Don’t dwell on your past
Have you ever condemned yourself for things you’ve done, or failed to do in your past? I think most of us have. But if you want to be successful, you need to let go of your past, and stop dwelling on things you’ve already done, and things you can’t change. Beating yourself up, hopefully hasn’t made you feel any better, and probably hasn’t moved you forward in your career. You need to learn from your past mistakes and make the necessary adjustments in your future behavior. You did the best you could given the knowledge and motivation you had. This doesn’t mean that what you did was okay. It just means that it’s in the past. If you’re going to dwell on the past, it might be better for you to dwell on all of your successes. This will be an excellent way for you to start building your confidence and self-esteem. So, regardless of what you’ve done, the only sane approach is to accept it and move forward.
2. Become more creative and imaginative
When you’re in the dealership day-in and day-out, it becomes a natural tendency to become complacent. You tend to keep doing the same things over and over again in the same way. Realize that in your town, there are a lot of dealerships, selling the same types of vehicles, at the same price, with the same warranty. If this is the case, why should they buy from you? Somewhere along the line, you’re going to have to start thinking of ways to set yourself apart from every other salesperson out there. If you don’t price will be the only issue. Remember that price will always be a major issue. Your job as a salesperson is not to make price the only issue. Because when it becomes the only issue, you’re going to lose a great majority of the time. Have you ever lost a deal by $100? We all have. As a creative businessperson, you need to starting asking yourself some serious questions, like, “On an expensive vehicle, why was that $100 so important to the customer? Could it be that I didn’t do anything to get the customer to want to buy from me?” If this is the case, you need to start developing ways of doing business to get the prospect to buy from you — not from your dealership, and not your vehicle, but from you. Here’s a good example: Have you ever gone into a restaurant and given a waitperson a 25% or 30% tip? Why did you do it? You didn’t have to. You could have given this person a 15% tip and been done with it. But you know what? You couldn’t. You may have even opened up your wallet and tried to give a 15% tip, but you couldn’t. Because this person did something to you, made you feel a certain way, made the experience a certain way, and you had to reward this person in the only way you knew how, by tipping. And believe me, you’re not tipping the food because if you were tipping the food, you’d go back and tip the cook. You’re tipping the service. Now, let me ask you another question. Have you ever gone into a restaurant and not wanted to give a waitperson any tip? What was the difference between the two? Now, the question you need to ask yourself is how are you going to get the 25% or 30% tip from your customers? Is it going to be by doing the same old things every other salesperson is doing? Or are you going to have to do something more exciting, more memorable to get the customer to reward you for your efforts. You can accomplish this by being a little more creative, and a little more imaginable in the way you do your business.
3. Be persistent and never give up
There is no trait you possess that can replace persistence in the success formula. More than any factor, persistence can assure you positive results. Let me give you an example on how persistence and perseverance helped my career. I was almost 40 years old when I decided to leave my secure position as a Sales Manager and start my training company. I always wanted to write a book. I think being in sales, I missed the educational process that came from my Education and Speech Communication degree. So I tried writing it after work and on weekends. Well, I was usually so tired that I never put in the effort that I wanted. So, I decided to quit work to finish the book. I had about $25,000 saved up, and I figured that if I really skimped, I could make that money last for a year till the book was completed. What I didn’t figure into the equation was how much money golf took out of my savings. So, that $25,000 only lasted about four months. Now I had to make some life decisions — do I quit my project and go back to work, or do I concoct a way to keep on going? So, I decided to give up my apartment, sell my furnishings and my car, and move in with my brother. Well, that only lasted about nine months before we started getting on each others nerves. So now, the book’s still not finished, I still have no money, and now I have no place to stay. I went to one of my closest friends who had an extra office in the back of his business, and I asked him if I could move my bed and computer in there. I told him I couldn’t pay him anything right now, but if he’d keep a tab of how much I owe, I’d pay him when I made it big. I lived in that office, with no shower for 1½ years. I did dealer trades in order to eat, and I only did the long ones because they paid the most. I even had to have someone from the dealership come and pick me up because I didn’t have a car. At 40 years old, that alone was pretty embarrassing. But I finally got the book finished. The result was, I got my first training assignment working for a major automotive manufacturer. Once that program was finished, I was sitting around with my significant other Irene, and we were talking about how much I enjoyed writing the book, and that I’d like to develop something else. So I started thinking, when I was a Sales Manager, I didn’t have any tools to train my salespeople with, especially during my sales meetings. So I thought, why don’t I create a program where a Sales Manager can conduct a half hour training session in the sales meeting with no preparation whatsoever. I wrote one chapter and sent it out to every manufacturer in the country. About two months later, I received a call from a National Training Director. He said, “Mike, I received your one chapter proposal and took it to the National Dealer Council, and out of all of the programs they were considering purchasing, they chose yours.” From this sale, I made enough money to repay all of my debts, open an office and start my own business. This whole process took almost two years. You can imagine how many times I could have quit and went back into sales, but my desire was so strong, nothing would stand in my way. Once you develop your plan, have the perseverance to stick with it, and most importantly, never give up.
4. Set realistic goals and a plan for achieving your goals
Somebody once said, “If you don’t know where you’re going, any road will take you there.” One of the reasons I succeeded was that I had clearly defined goals, and a business plan on achieving those goals. When times became desperate, it was the belief in that solid plan that kept me going. The most recent statistic is that 70% of all businesses will fail in the first year of startup. Now, why do you think that happens. I don’t think it’s because of lack of skills, because why would anyone invest their hard earned money into a business if they didn’t have any skills? I think it’s because most people won’t even write a simple business plan. And without a plan, how can they assure themselves success? It’s like building a house. You’d never tell the contractor, “Take some wood, take some nails, put something together, and at the end of the month, we’ll see what it looks like.” You need that blueprint in order to develop a strong foundation. It’s the same with your business. Once you build a strong foundation, your business will likely flourish for many years to come.
5. Develop a strong work ethic
I’ve always been a believer in the adage, “the harder you work, the luckier you get.” I feel that if you consistently apply your craft, keep your mind focused on your goals and dreams, and approach your job in a business-like manner, the very least that’s going to happen is you’re going to get lucky and sell something. Have you ever had a day when the morning was really slow, and you didn’t see a prospect till late in the afternoon, your motivation and enthusiasm are down, and you really don’t feel like waiting on that prospect? This is what happens when you don’t stay busy. In order to keep that motivation and enthusiasm high, you need to, what I call, “keep those juices flowing.” When you do this, you’re ready to sell no matter what time of the day it is. This enthusiasm comes from having a solid work ethic. Another example I like to use is, if it rains all day today, and no prospects will be coming through the door, what will you be doing today? Will you be leaning against a vehicle on the showroom floor, looking out the window, waiting for that one magical person to walk through the door, that one person who’s going to change your whole day? Or will you have a plan for generating business? Develop a strong work ethic, and you’ll have more business than you can handle.
So, let’s talk about how Automotive Salesperson, Inc. can help you achieve your success goals. The way this program evolved was I was looking at a salesperson sitting at his desk, and I asked myself, “If this salesperson had overhead to pay, if he had employees to pay, if he had to make sure his company profited every month, would he look at, and run his business differently, than if he simply thought of himself as a salesperson working for the dealership?” And the only answer I could come up with was a resounding “yes!” He’d have to.
Let’s face it. After you’ve been in the business for six months, you should pretty much have all the selling skills you’re going to need in order to sell a car. What you may be lacking are the business skills necessary to achieve long-term success. Automotive Salesperson, Inc. can give you the plan to accomplish this.
This program consists of an easy-to-follow, 10-step process to that teaches you how to “run your business like a business, as compared to running it by “pot-luck” which basically means, whatever happens, happens. Let’s review them briefly.
Step 1 helps you evaluate your qualities as a salesperson and a businessperson. It takes you through a series of questions to help you get you mind clear on your strengths and weaknesses, and helps you determine if you have the fortitude to be a successful businessperson. Once you complete this 30 question survey, you’ll then learn of the top 13 characteristics that top-flight salespeople possess. At the end of each chapter is a Business Development Worksheet to write your thoughts down, and help you start developing your plan for success.
Step 2 determines your current financial situation. Before you decide how much money you need, or want to make, and how you’re going to do it, you’ll want to figure out how much money you have available, versus how much you owe every month. Everyone pays their bills every month, but I’m not sure whether they know exactly what their total debt is. This section takes you step-by-step through this process.
Step 3 starts developing a business plan for a strong foundation. Realize that there is usually a critical difference between those businesses that succeed and those businesses that fail. Many times, the difference is the quality of a simple business plan. Without a plan, a business can easily get off course. For an automotive salesperson who wishes to become successful, a well-prepared business plan will serve at least two crucial functions: getting your business started, and a blueprint to keep your business on the right track. This section sets you up as your own corporation, and then every major income producing area within the sales department as a separate company under the corporation. No different than if you were a dealer that had a corporation, and every dealership this person owned would be a separate company under the corporation. Each dealership would have its own goals, and its own plans on how to achieve those goals. Your major companies are your Ups Company, your Phone-Ups Company, your Referral Company, your Repeat Customer Company, your Networking Company, and your Aftermarket Company. Each of these are discussed at length in the manual.
Step 4 helps you determine your strategies for your major companies. The beauty of Automotive Salesperson, Inc. is that you don’t have to make your income off of one company, which is typically called “sales”. You know have six separate companies to get business from, all with their own goals and strategies for success. So, if you want these companies to flourish, you need to develop a plan for how you will run each company.
Step 5 teaches you how to develop a marketing strategy. If you’re going to be a successful businessperson, you’ll need to become an excellent marketer of yourself — not of your vehicles or your dealership, but of yourself. A marketing plan is an integral part of any business plan. What you’re trying to determine through your marketing plan is how you’re going to get your business started, keep it going, and continue to make your business grow. This plan isn’t going to be based on wishful thinking, but on facts.
Step 6 shows you how to write a daily plan. Your daily plan will be just as important as your business plan. It will help you determine how you’ll occupy your time throughout a typical day to be more productive. And keep in mind, when I use the word productive, I’m always talking about “profit generating” work.
Step 7 will help you organize yourself for increased productivity. Organization gives your life purpose and direction, and the structure and raw energy needed to succeed. The more organized you become, the more confident, alert and sharp you’ll remain. Because life has become so fast-paced, it’s important to have a system to help make your days, weeks, and months flow smoothly.
Step 8 shows you how to gain a competitive advantage over your competition. If you let a prospect walk out of the dealership without purchasing from you, the very first question you’ll want to ask yourself is, “what makes me different from every other salesperson this prospect will visit?’ Because if you’re not going to do anything different from anyone else, why should they buy from you? This section gives you 20 ways to set yourself apart from your competition.
Step 9 teaches you how to follow-up to develop future business. As you continue developing your plan on how you will run your business, remember that your ability to follow-up with your prospects and customers is the single most important thing you can do to develop future business. Your goal as a business owner is not to be solely concerned about the present, but also what your business will do three and five years from now. Your expertise in developing long-term clientele will guarantee your future success.
Step 10 shows you how to use a computer to develop your business. This is not a full-fledged computer course, but valuable information on what a computer will do for your business, and how to buy one if you don’t already have one. The fact is, technology is here to say. You can dismiss it, you can fight it, or you can realize how much easier it will make your job. Once you learn the basic fundamentals of your computer and software, you will be quite amazed at how productive you’ll become.
Well, there it is. Your 10-step approach to “running your business like a business.” If you’ll make the commitment to start thinking and acting like a businessperson, your success will be virtually assured. Have the confidence of knowing you possess the skills and talents to sell automobiles, and simply take that next step to develop a strong work ethic. The very least that will happen is you’ll make enough money to live the type of lifestyle you desire, and continue your rewarding career in automotive sales.
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