This month I want to share with you a wonderful article that was written by my friend Steve Hiatt. Steve is a true student of our craft, a former dealer principle, and one of the most forward thinking people I’ve met in all of my travels. Plus, he’s an all-around great guy.
I hope you enjoy it!
So, until next time, be well, and do good work!
Michael D. Hargrove
This Month’s Selling Principle:
The Power of Appreciation
by Steve Hiatt, Jr.
Everyone wants to feel appreciated. The key is in knowing what makes your employees or coworkers feel that way. What motivates one employee may not motivate another, in so much the same way, appreciation can be shown in many different facets. As a friend of mine taught me, “Facts are irrelevant, the truth is unimportant, and perception is everything.” The perception needs to be that you want everyone you come in contact with at work to feel appreciated. Have you ever put in that extra effort to help someone, just because you know they have shown you how important you are to them? Of course you have, and you can develop that powerful emotion throughout your company. This can be done no matter what position you are in at the dealership.
It’s a big chain reaction every day, where everyone in the chain of command interacts with each other; and everyone in the chain has an effect on our customers. Too often, we are ‘zapping’ each other with frustration and indifference rather than support and encouragement. Sure stuff goes wrong, but can’t we control how we react to it? The key is keeping the energy positive and the entire company looking for solutions together.
Be aware of how you interact with others. Are you a ‘hurry up, get it done’ personality? If so, are you coming across as abrasive or demanding? If you need to give exact directives to others, could you deliver the message differently? When you are complimenting their work, make sure you are specific about what you are talking about. The compliment will be incredibly more sincere.
Give respect to get respect. By taking an appreciative tone and slowing down for a few seconds, you can show people you appreciate the job they do. More importantly, you can show you appreciate them as a person. When someone talks to you, don’t assume you know the question they are asking or the position they are taking, you might be wrong. Even if you really do know what they are going to say, listening is classy. Even if you give the person a response they do not want, they have to respect you for hearing them out.
Write a note. This is simple and powerful and costs next to nothing, except time and ink. When you catch someone doing something right, let him or her know. Have you ever seen a person who has been doing a great job let their performance slip, and you don’t know why? Often, you find out in an exit interview that that co-worker simply felt no one cared about the job they did. Instead of suffering with declining performance, workplace drama, and employee turnover, prevent it with genuine caring two or three line hand written notes.
Give awards. This can vary from little to big to outrageous, but often it is the person you are giving it to that has that perception. And the rest of your staff notices, too. Certificates are a wonderful reward; and they cost next to nothing, just get into your computer and there will be some type of certificate generator. Make the awards fun, too; one manager this year made up an award for our “Green Pea of the Year.” There is also the FNG award for the Fantastic New Guy/Gal.
Other awards can vary depending on your budget. Lunch coupons to the lot porters can be just as effective as a $20 write up spiff for the weekend. Gift certificates for malls, stores or coffee shops aren’t large expenses but can mean a ton to your support staff.
Once we did a breakfast meeting for our staff where we made out special certificates for everyone attending. When the meeting was over, people were walking out three feet off the ground. Sales and grosses were way up that week.
We have a sales person of the year award that gives the top producer a Rolex watch. We simply have to accrue a few hundred a month to expense the watch at the end of the year. One sales person won it two years in a row, so we bought one for his wife the second year. Next time she looks at the watch to see if he is late coming home from closing a deal, I suspect she will be a little extra forgiving.
If your dealership uses credit cards to pay certain bills with, use the points that accumulate to give certificates and awards for production that is above or beyond. It doesn’t even cost the dealership any extra money, and the extra motivation from the employees can be amazing.
Don’t forget the spouses. You don’t have to buy the spouses expensive watches, but a note home once or twice a year sure could improve the family’s overall feeling of appreciation for the company. If there is a contest, send a letter home to let them know, the support, and drive can increase dramatically. Even a simple phone call to the house can make a huge difference, just thank them for the support they give their husband or wife.
Be spontaneous. Catching people off guard can be some of the most fun and rewarding. One thing we like to do is surprise people with an impromptu evening off, sometimes with a gift certificate to dinner out, a ball game or a show. Are two extra hours off and tickets to a movie going to kill the dealership, or is it going to create an environment where people want to give it their all more often? The loyalty and production far exceeds the investment.
Lead by example. Most importantly interact with others in a manner that you would want to be treated. Sure there are always urgent, stressful situations that need to be addressed, however don’t let the exceptions become the normal mode of operations. Good employees are hard to find, don’t let them disappear, or worse, work for your competitor because you showed an attitude of indifference towards them.
“Wise men appreciate all men, for they see the good in each and know how hard it is to make anything good.”
Baltasar Gracian, The Art of Worldly Wisdom (1647)
Objection of the Month: “I don’t have a lot of time.”
These are just a few of the most common strategies shared at the workshops we’ve conducted all across North America and attended by thousands of the top sales people in our field. Please keep in mind that nothing works all the time, and no one thing will work for everybody. Each of these strategies, of course, need to be tailored to the individual user, to the specific customer, and the particular situation. Also, this is by no means the definitive work on overcoming this particular objection and it’s not intended to be.
a. “Fine, then to make the best use of your time, do you mind if I ask you a few questions?” (Then we go ahead and ask our needs determination questions.)
b. “Okay then, what were you hoping to accomplish today?”
c. “How much time do we have?” (then reply,) “Oh that’s plenty of time to get you all the info you’ll need to make an intelligent decision. Did you want a coupe or sedan?”
d. “Wow, only twenty minutes? That’s not a lot of time. Let me give you as much information as I can, as quickly as I can. How will you be using your new car?…” (Then we just go into our needs determination process. After about twenty minutes goes by, we look at our watch and say,) “Well, looks like it’s gonna take a little more time but you said you were in a hurry. Are we okay or do you have anyone you need to call to be a few minutes late?”
e. “I think you’ll be impressed with how efficient I am with your time.”
f. “You say you only have ten minutes? Then what makes this so critical? (Our customer may not understand the question and we may need to clarify by asking further,) “You have to be somewhere in ten minutes but you stopped here first. So, what’s going on? Did your car break down, or are you at the end of your lease, or did you just get car jacked?! What’s up?”
g. “How much time do we have?” (then reply,) “I’ll tell you what, you tell me when our time is up, fair enough? And to make the best use of your time, let me ask you a few quick questions.” (Then we just go ahead and ask our needs determination questions.)
h. “Two minutes? May I have just two minutes more of your time?” (This will almost always get us five to ten minutes more.)
i.(This one is for situations where our customer tells us they need to get back to work.) “If you don’t mind me asking, how much do you make an hour?” (Wait for their response, then ask,) “What if I could do this, what if I could get my manager to pay you ten times your hourly wage to simply call in and get us an extra hour to put this shopping chore behind you?” (Then all we have to do is show a discount of ten times whatever they told us their hourly wage was.)
Next month’s objection will be: “The price or payment is too high” We need YOUR input! Please forward your ideas on this one, or your suggestions on which objection to cover next, to firstname.lastname@example.org.
“People of mediocre ability sometimes achieve outstanding success because they don’t know when to quit. Most men succeed because they are determined to.”
The Life We Choose
by Peter McWilliams
Here’s the premise: We are all, right now, living the life we choose.
This choice, of course, is not a single, monumental choice. No one decides, for example, “I’m going to move to L.A., and in five years I will be a waiter in a so-so restaurant, planning to get my 8-by-10’s done real soon so that I can find an agent and become a star,” or “I’m going to marry a dreadful person and we’ll live together in a loveless marriage, staying together only for the kids, who I don’t much like, either.”
No. The choices I’m talking about here are madedaily, hourly, moment by moment.
Do we try something new, or stick to the tried-and-true? Do we take a risk, or eat what’s already on our dish? Do we ponder a thrilling adventure, or contemplate what’s on TV? Do we walk over and meet that interesting stranger, or do we play it safe? Do we indulge our heart, or cater to our fear?
The bottom-line question: Do we pursue what we want, or do we do what’s comfortable?
For the most part, most people most often choose comfort – the familiar, the time-honored, the well-worn but well-known. After a lifetime of choosing between comfort and risk, we are left with the life we currently have.
And it was all of our own choosing.
Give It A Second Thought
by The Christophers
An American Indian tells about a brave who found an eagle’s egg and put it into the nest of a prairie chicken. The eaglet hatched with the brood of chicks and grew up with them.
All its life, the changeling eagle, thinking it was a prairie chicken, did what the prairie chickens did. It scratched in the dirt for seeds and insects to eat. It clucked and cackled. And it flew in a brief thrashing of wings and flurry of feathers no more than a few feet off the ground. After all, that’s how prairie chickens were supposed to fly.
Years passed. And the changeling eagle grew very old. One day, it saw a magnificent bird far above in the cloudless sky. Hanging with graceful majesty on the powerful wind currents, it soared with scarcely a beat of its strong golden wings.
“What a beautiful bird!” said the changeling eagle to its neighbor. “What is it?”
“That’s an eagle – the chief of the birds,” the neighbor clucked. “But don’t give it a second thought. You could never be like him.”
So the changeling eagle never gave it a second thought and it died thinking it was a prairie chicken.
“Every person is the creation of himself, the image of his own thinking and believing.”
Claude M. Bristol
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