START Recruiting and Training

Training Automotive Sales Talent

Start Recruiting and Training's mission is to Find, Place and Train talented people for a new career in retail automotive sales.

Start Recruiting and Training recruits and trains candidates for a new career in auto salesAuto Sales Training, Automotive Recruiting and Auto Sales Jobs.

The Little red Book of Selling

My daughter is starting a new career in sales with AT&T. As part of the four month long training course in Atlanta, she had assigned reading of the Little Red Book of Selling by Jeffrey Gitomer.

I picked up a copy and found it a great mix of selling/prospecting techniques along with some attitude adjustment for sales people. I really enjoyed his attitude about being a sales person vs the corperate job.

You probably have heard the "ABC" line (always be closing) however as a professional sales person one needs to "ABL" (Always be learning). Books like Little Red Book of Selling are great thought starts and can help unlock hidden potential. Even One or two well executed ideas found in this book can make a big difference.

Eat the Bear

Eat the Bear

The first time I heard the expression “some days you eat the bear and some days the bear eats you” was on a showroom floor in the car business, listening to a salesperson give himself permission for a tough day. I always loved the highs of a busy productive day where I left the store that night beating on my chest and howling at the moon, however that wasn’t every day. I also had many days when I couldn’t close an open face steak sandwich.

What is unique about the car business is every day can be a reset. More customers and chances for sales will show up again today. The good news is that not a bad day or week does a month make. If one can shake off the slings and arrows, get the attitude right and show up the next morning ready to go, it can happen today. Every day is a new race.

“Failure Cannot Cope With Persistence” ― Napoleon Hill, Think and Grow Rich

Persistence is the key. When I interview candidates I am looking for those that demonstrate the character to experience the challenges of a bad day or week and keep moving forward. After all, if I could guarantee everyone that they could come into this business and sell one car every day, there would be a line around the building to take the job.

This isn’t easy but it isn’t hard. The hardest part is getting out of your own way. Just for today, get the attitude right and figure out how you are going to get in front of three customers. If it works - great. If it doesn’t - rinse and repeat.

Life’s battles, don’t always go to the stronger or faster man, but soon or later the man who wins
Is the man WHO THINKS HE CAN!” ― Napoleon Hill, Think and Grow Rich

Photo by nemeziya/iStock / Getty Images
Photo by nemeziya/iStock / Getty Images

New Year.. New You..

New Year! New You?

It is a new year and time to make plans for a growth year. Rather than accept what comes and leave the end result to chance, lets get in front of this for the new year. Make 2016 a stretch year. The softer easier way is to watch a few motivational videos and that can work for the short term, however I find nothing works to motivate and keep one motivated like results. Tangible, ongoing results, and that doesn't happen by accident. One has to paint a firm picture of the end result and then decide on the effort it takes to achieve that result. Now the hard part! One has to consistently execute that effort on a daily basis. Once the plan is in place and you work it on a daily basis, it will become obvious what one has to do to improve the skill set (effort).

This all begins with three simple questions:

  • Where are you at now?
  • Where do you want to go?
  • How are you going to get there?

Where are you now.. What Happened Last Year?:

This is not hard, just take your W2 and divide that by the number of units you sold last year. Determine your average commission per unit.

Where do you want to go?

Take your time on this one and paint the picture.. Ask yourself what another $20,000 a year would mean to you and your family and then paint that picture. It really isn't that much extra money on a monthly basis. I am only talking about another $1,600 a month. If you do 10 units a month, this is only $160 more per sale. If you want to move the units, we are only talking about 3 to 4 more sold units a month (1 a week). All of this CAN HAPPEN!

Complete this work sheet and it will show you how.

Forecast

  1. Start with what you want your W2 to look like at the end of this year.
  2. Decide what you want to happen on your Average Commission.
    • Is it possible using better value building techniques to achieve a higher commission average?
  3. Divide your annual income goal by what you decided on for the average commission.
    • Now you know how many units you have to sell this year.
  4. Divide the total units by 12 months to figure out an average month.
    • Now you have your Monthly goal.

How are you going to get there?

Sales don't just happen. It takes so many customers, demonstration drives, and write ups to make a sale. The perfect salesperson who sells them all may be out there, but I haven't met one yet..

So if you are like me, we have to plan for some rejection. After tracking these numbers for years I found the rule of 4,3,2,1 to be true. People go hot or cold on a daily or weekly basis but on a monthly average it stays pretty true.

I am saying it will take 4 times as many customers as you want to sell (counting everyone - You know who you are!)

I am saying of your total customers - 75% need to go from the introduction to demonstration drive.

I am saying of the total customers - 50% need to go all the way through the sales process to a write up.

I am saying you should sell - 50% of your writes - 25% of your total.

Break the effort down to a week and a day and it will look very achievable. Once you start measuring you will see where you need help or training. If you are serious about your picture - get the help or training. If you miss your goal, you will make more trying..

At Start Recruiting and Training we do hundreds of interviews a month and candidates always ask what they can make in the car business. My answer always is ”It is not my job to decide your potential. My job is to tell you the effort it takes to make the money you want to make, and if you can execute the effort, it can happen."

What I find refreshing is more and more people are all in on the idea of being in charge of their own income. More and more people like the idea of getting paid exactly what they are worth and like the idea of not having to ask for a raise.

Raises Are Effective When You Are!!

1600 Trained and Placed

1600 Placed! At Start Recruiting and Training we just hit the 1600 mark. That is 1600 great people selected, trained and placed in a new career in automotive sales .

We started Start Recruiting and Training in 2010 to demonstrate to those with the propensity for sales what a great opportunity automotive sales can be. How, if this the right career, one can make more than anyone is going to offer as a salary. You get to decide what your worth and raises are effective when you are, you don’t have to ask for one. If one can move the needle, anything is possible.

In the last five years we have recruited and trained a great and diverse group of people. People from all walks of life with different education levels and backgrounds. For many this has been life changing with greater income and promotions into management. Others gave this a good try and it wasn’t for them. We respect and appreciate the try.

The automotive business is starved for professional talent. Professional Sales is challenged by the softer easier way of “order taking”. Price over value. We need people who can prove to the consumer, the manufacturer, and sometimes the dealer that a great salesperson who can build and demonstrate value for themselves, the car and the dealer, wins - that is what makes the salesperson the most important person in the business. Thank You to everyone that understands the value of Start recruiting and Training.

Start Rec Placed

Excuses...

I liked this article. See what you think.

resilience-cover-640x480New York Times bestselling author Eric Greitens.

Greitens, who is presently considering running for Missouri Governor, is a Rhodes scholar, graduated with a Ph.D. from Oxford, and is the founder of The Mission Continues, a philanthropy that empowers veterans to apply their hard-won training and skills in their local communities.

We present the following book excerpt on the power of overcoming excuses with permission from publisher Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. ——————— How do excuses take hold? An excuse starts as a protective measure. It shields us from pain, saves our pride, keeps our ego from being punctured, allows us to obscure the brutal truth. That feels like a relief at first. We avoided the pain.

Then we lay another excuse on top of the first. Then another. Excuses make us feel safe. So, we think, why not add another? Soon enough, you’re wearing excuses like a knight wearing armor.

Well, what’s the harm in that? How fast do you think you’d be able to run wearing a suit of armor? How well could you climb a mountain? How well could you swim across a lake? How well could you hug your kids?

Excuses protect you, but they exact a heavy cost. You can’t live a full life while you wear them.

You can take away someone’s house. You can take their food, their money. You can take their clothes, their freedom, even their children. But you can’t take away someone else’s excuse.

We give up our excuses ourselves, or not at all.

And here’s what’s really difficult about excuses. You’re the only one who can let them go, but other people offer them to you all the time. Excuses don’t just tempt those who make them, they tempt those who hear them. Sometimes the world can’t wait to give you an excuse.

Why? Because an excuse often frees everyone from responsibility.

If you grab an excuse, it can almost look generous. It can look as if you’re giving not just yourself but everyone around you a break, and that makes it even more tempting.

A few weeks ago, I was talking with a group of eighty-some veterans in St. Louis who’d flown in from around the country. They were enlisted and officer, soldier and sailor, marine and airman. Many had been in combat. Most had been diagnosed with a disability.

I told them that one of the greatest dangers facing a veteran coming home is an onslaught of misdirected sympathy.

That’s partly because, along with gratitude, the veteran is offered a raft of excuses. The world says: “Because of your injury (or your stress, or the friends you lost), you don’t have to . . .

“Be there for your family.” “Show up for work on time.” “Treat your friends well.” “Serve anymore.”

Excuses are usually offered with the best intentions. People want to be kind to those who are suffering. People want to reach out and do what they can — even when what they choose to do is worse than nothing.

They offer you an excuse because they don’t want to add to your suffering. Or maybe they want to connect and don’t know how. Maybe they want to express thanks, and think that letting you off the hook is a way to do that. (That happens more and more in a country in which soldiers and civilians are increasingly strangers to one another.) It comes from a place of kindness.

But it’s kind poison. Don’t drink it.

People who think you weak will offer you an excuse. People who respect you will offer you a challenge.

In truth, it’s not the trauma that’s most harmful. The harm comes when we make trauma an excuse to avoid the activities, the relationships, and the purpose that are its only lasting cure. Diabolos is the ancient Greek word for devil. The literal translation is “one who throws an obstacle in the path.”

It’s often easier to imagine that a guy with horns and a pitchfork has harmed us than to realize how we have harmed ourselves. Yet we are usually our own worst enemy. We throw obstacles

in our own path.

If we had an external enemy who consistently forced us to make bad choices, to engage in self-destructive behavior, to be less than we are capable of, we’d declare war. Why should we act any differently when the enemy is inside?

You have to master the one who throws obstacles in your way. Master yourself.

Over the long term, you are responsible for your happiness. I don’t say this to blame you for how you feel. I say it because in taking responsibility you will find freedom and power.

The Uncontrollable Customer

Everyone wants to talk about the uncontrollable customer - the customer that displays boorish and rude behavior, all in an effort to stay in control of the process. I am sure you have met this guy. He is the customer you see on the lot and, as you head toward him, he tries to wave you off. Once you approach him and extend your hand, he ignores it and says “give me your best price on this car or I will disappear into a puff of smoke.” There are tons of cute little lines out in the world to address this issue, but few work. The best line I have used was taught to me by Key Royal back in the 70’s. “What besides price is important to you?” This line might work one out of twenty times. It is still a long shot.

My concern is why everyone seems so focused on this customer. In my experience if you sell three from every ten customers (counting all of them), you did a good job. That means seven customers say “no” for now. Of the seven “no’s” one perhaps two may be uncontrollable. So you have two of ten and they had no affect on the three buyers, UNLESS YOU LET IT…. My concern comes from watching salespeople approach all ten customers like they might be one of the two uncontrollables. I watch salespeople tip toe on egg shells trying to avoid any possible negative reaction. All control is lost, and in the process of emasculating yourself you don’t sell a car.

One of two outcomes will happen with the uncontrollable:

  1. YOU WILL NOT SELL THE CAR - and emasculate yourself in the process.
  2. YOU WILL SELL THE CAR - and not make any money.

Both of these outcomes suck.

CustomerFocus on the three buying customers. Treat all of your customers like they are one of these three buyers, willing to pay you a decent profit. Then, make them prove to you they are not. If in the process you run into an uncontrollable - MOVE ON - they have been coming in forever and will always come in. DO NOT paint all of your customers with this uncontrollable brush. Paint them with the BUYER brush and make them prove you wrong.

Getting Paid EXACTLY What Your Worth

This is all about adding value. In a market where the perception of the middleman is nothing but an added layer of cost, is wrong in the car business. In a time where the Internet is supposed to be the answer we have to create more value in:

  1. Ourselves
  2. The Car
  3. The dealership

Two of these are unique – you and your dealership. The car, a customer can probably buy at 4 different places inside 20 miles. So that means we work on the unique value that you and your dealership create.

  • What makes you a special experience for the customer?
  • Do you demonstrate pride in your dealership?
  • Do you like a good Value?
  • Are you offering all your customers the complete sales process to build all the value possible?
  • Do your customers enjoy the experience?

What makes this business great is that you are in charge of your pay. No-one gets to judge you and say your worth is “X” a year. In our business you decide what your willing to accept. Raises are effective when you are… Some people cannot handle being responsible for their own pay, and the car business is not for them. What makes you unique is – you can.

Tune up on your value and have fun. Customers are waiting to pay for Value..

Best Buy operating income down 27% while revenue up 2%.

For those of you that made it through our class, you’ve heard me say that “we don’t need expensive sales people if we are going to order take. I can go hire those guys for 8 dollars and hour from Best Buy.”  These newly released earning numbers make my point on value selling. Earnings down and revenue up because the entire company entered the price arena with cheap poorly trained labor. Going up against Wal-Mart, Meier and the Internet on price has forced the margin squeeze to compete. This is the result of a sales force only trained to “order take” and most employees do that badly.

Try to imagine what could happen if a professional, incentivized sales force, trained to present value in themselves, the Best Buy experience, and the product hit the floor. Could Best Buy differentiate itself from the big box price war? Rather than walk into a war they can not win, why not position itself as unique and different on the customer experience with well trained sales people who know how to sell value.

Until companies figure this out, pay no attention to revenue increases but watch for the margin squeeze and net. Perhaps appreciation for the skill set of a professional sales person is on its way back..

http://money.cnn.com/2011/12/13/news/companies/best_buy_earnings/

Twitter

Now I don't clam to be a internet marketing expert. After all I remember when a 56k connection to AOL was hugh, but it is a big marketing tool.I have been reading up on Twitter trying to decide if I need to screw with it. (I can still find Facebook overwhelming), and ran across a great site that explains the benefit of branding yourself on Twitter. For those of you selling you might find it helpful. http://www.hubspot.com/twitter-marketing-hub/

Sales Activities Make Sales

This is an old saying but I was recently reminded of this by my brother in law, an Irishman working in Uganda. Sales activities in our industry mean more than waiting for the door to swing. If this is your only tool in your sales tool kit, your income and success are dependent on too many things that are out of your control. If you think it is the dealer’s responsibility to make the door swing enough for you to make an increasing income every year, they don’t need you. They can hire the kid out of Best Buy for eight dollars an hour to assist customers in LOOKING... It takes four times as many customers as sales. If you want to sell seventeen units this month you are going to need sixty eight total customers. That is going to equal three a day. Are you getting that many? If not - YOU ARE NOT GOING TO MAKE YOUR GOAL.. you heard it here first.

Your choices are this, accept the lower income and hang out with all the other salespeople who accepted their lower income or do some sales activity that could generate one or two extra people a day. Its called prospecting. Working owners for referrals, working the phone with orphan owners, letters to any clubs, organizations, or neighborhoods. Not being pushy - however not wasting any opportunities. If a prospect says he is not in the market you say “I understand, if not now - when?” then write it down for follow up matching their time frame.

Anyone can make hay when the sun is shinning it takes a determined pro to make hay when it isn’t. I know a dealer who started his career after world war two selling German VW buses door to door in New York. His sales activity earned him a chance at a VW franchise and that earned him a chance at a Chevrolet Franchise. These success stories don’t happen by accident, but with a determined, consistent sales activity..

The question you ask yourself every morning when you get out of bed is, “Am I going to get in front of three customers today”? If you can’t answer that question today, make sure you can tomorrow.

 

Always be Prospecting

I had a salesperson ask what he could do to help his sales since things had slowed down for him. I figured there may be others who might find this useful so I am posting my response. "Prospecting has to be ongoing. What you do today plants the seed for later. Sales activities get sales, so every day do something to prospect.

The fastest place to go is all the customers you had that didn't buy and Car. Call them all and make a hot list on all those who you think you can sell in the next week. Remember you can't sell a car over the phone, all your after is an appointment to come back in. You have to tell them something new to justify the call so you may want to rehash with your manager before you call.

Next ask your owners if they know anyone who needs a new car and see if you can develop some referrals.

Once that is working get a list (any List) and start working it. Do the 20 emails or letters a day and then call those 20 three days later. Then every day from now on you work a list and send 20 and call 20. If they don't want to buy a car right now that is ok but ask "if not now when" and put it in your calendar..

Ask your manager permission to go to a business and ask if you can have a community outreach sale for just their employees next week. Work out the details w your manager and then cold call on some business that have 25 employees or more...

These aren't all quick fixes but you have to keep planting the seeds daily to take out the radical ups and downs of the business.

Get started today for the future..."

Dealing with High Fuel Cost

I noticed that gas was $3.45 today. Although this is not good news it does make for some opportunities to talk about the value available in trading for a new car. This isn’t the first time the market has dealt with high gas prices. In 1974 the car market had to deal with an oil embargo. You may have seen some of the old news clips showing the lines waiting to fill up. I didn’t ever see a line but I do remember gas went to 50 cents a gal, about a 70% increase. Sales slowed but we still sold cars. As a salesperson we had to show people the need and value in trading. At the time most cars were full size and driving at 55 miles per hour, with the air off, you might get 15 mpg. Some of the new full size cars got 18mpg and we had some new model small cars the got over 30 mpg.

What we had to do was introduce the value of gas savings and how that effected the monthly auto budget and helped offset the monthly expense of trading. So if a customer was concerned about having a payment increase of $20 to $40 dollars a month, we might be able to show them a net savings when they take into account the gas budget. The secret to this is, it has to be the customers math. Whatever they say the miles driven a year are and whatever they say they pay for gas, you have to use. Just drawing out the math for them doesn’t bring them along. Also you are a car salesmen and they won’t believe you. If you use their math you have a much better chance they will understand and believe the math.

Take a look at the chart and you’ll see that savings can be substantial. There will be times when a customer can trade their old car for a newer model with better millage and come close to the same monthly expense for autos. If gas goes higher these savings numbers become even larger.

As always do not do this with a customer until you role play it with another salesperson first.

 

The Handshake...

After one solid year of training I noticed that everyone has their favorite step. Some people like the emotion of the presentation, while others may like the validation of the close. What ever the favorite step of the process is, I contend that selling or not selling is decided just before you shake hands. Like the Law of Attraction, you get what you expect. If you decide your shaking hands with a looker/shopper, you treat the customer as such and they act like a looker/shopper. On the other hand if you decide your shaking hands with a buyer, you treat them like a buyer and they have a much better chance of acting like a buyer. There are no absolutes in sales, only percentages. I contend that whatever you decide, looker or buyer, you have a much greater chance of being right.

If your wondering if this applies to you just think about your vocabulary and energy. Do you use the word “looking” to your customer? “Are you looking for something the size of your trade”. “What are you looking for today”. Try changing the work looking with buying. Is the energy and excitement you have for a looker the same as it is when you think you have a buyer?

Treat a customer like a buyer and they may just act like one. The good news is this is your decision. Your are in control of your attitude and it is contagious.

Before you shake the next customers hand decide your shaking hands with a buyer and lets see what happens. It’s your decision....

Feb 18th Class

Congratulations to our feb 18th class. Everyone did very well and we expect them all to be stars. It is unusual that we have a class when everyone excels at all the steps in the process. Jason, Earl, Thomas, Brock, and Ryan, good luck and good selling...

Jan Record Month

Jan 2011 was our best month yet. A great START to a great year. We ended up recruiting and placing 15 people into a new career. Talking to dealers it sounded like everyone had a great December which could be a sign that sales are breaking open. Thanks to all who made this possible.

Role Playing

At Start we believe in hands on training. The classes open with a day of lecture discussion on the entire sales process for automobiles. Then the second day we go through the entire process, role playing each step. We find that if a candidate can role play in class his first time in front of a customer goes much easier. The third day is all about being a professional. Not relying on the door to swing and how to make car sales a long term annuity. This point alone is the difference between a long term pro and everyone else. We believe this option for training is far superior than sitting the candidate in front of a computer to watch videos. The verbal exchange is valuable and we never really know until we see a candidate in action.

The picture is our Jan 20th class role playing the closes. This entire class is spoken for and will be in their new jobs next week. They know the process well and we expect them to make their employers proud.

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