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Plan your sales game

Tom Kaiser, Senior Editor

By Tom Kaiser
April 24, 2014
Filed under Tom Kaiser

In reporting on a feature about sales training for the June issue of Boating Industry, one word has risen to the surface: consistency. It’s the bedrock of a smart sales department.

Picture two different customers walking into your dealerships on different days. Will they learn the same things about your business, its services and the products you sell? Will they meet the same staff members, and will the salesperson capture basic information from each for future follow-ups? If any of these answers is no, your sales process is not consistent and needs attention.

Salespeople are your dealership’s face to the world. They should look professional, be exceptionally polite, able to multitask with ease, good listeners and know the ins and outs of every product on the floor. There’s a lot riding on their performance, and juggling simultaneous demands doesn’t make it easy.

Start with your processes — a meaningful buzzword of many Top 100 dealerships. Lay out precise guidelines for how the phones are answered, how every customer is greeted and everything that happens during the actual sales process. Consistency will help the sales team and management examine the process or evaluate individual experiences to find ways to improve.

With the basics in place, invest in training. There have never been so many choices for education in the marine industry. Options include in-person events like MDCE, webinars, online video training (like MRAA’s new venture with Jeffrey Gitomer), 20 groups and the many industry trainers that work in our industry. Many top dealers recommend an all-of-the-above approach.

Training isn’t the sexiest topic, but the most enthusiastic people I interview are trainers enthused about making a difference and business owners and managers who see the benefits of education with their own eyes. They also see it in the amount of referral business and, ultimately, their bottom lines.

Formalize your sales process, tweak as necessary, train your staff and never stop learning. It’s the crucial difference between a dealership that gets by, and one that seeks to master the art of customer service.

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