I just finished reading Grant Cardone’s latest book, “If You’re Not First, You’re Last”. Once I got past all the shameless self-promotion to buy his products on every other page with links directly on my iPad (Great job Grant, you definitely ask for the sale and persistence lessons resistance), I found some interesting ideas.  One of the biggest is that you have to do things “unreasonably” – more specifically, you have to follow-up prospects unreasonably. “Unreasonable” being a positive action and not a negative one. You should do what your competition doesn’t – I’m certainly a believer and strive to do this in my every day practice.

But from a dealer perspective, I want expand that thought a little further. Salespeople can only follow-up with that to which they have logged in the first place and have access to in a clean and organized format. The challenge, as we have progressed from the old follow-up box and note cards to the digital age with work plans, work books and fully integrated CRM’s capable of multi-channel communication with our prospects, is that we still need to have the original prospect and their information in order to execute – even with all of the tools now available. This sounds easy, “hey, that’s a part of every salespersons job,” I am told constantly. Unfortunately, this is still a major challenge and until retina scanners are invented that can scan each new prospect automatically as they drive on our lots (I am determined to get this cost down to a less prohibited offering soon – I’ll call it the Hal 2010 Lot Hawk), then there are other ways to help facilitate this.

Here is one that works with any system or process – although if you don’t have one, please call us – you have to tie logging to compensation. First, let me say that people that know me will tell you that I am coin operated – plug coins in me and I will work and work hard. I think most salespeople are this same way or they wouldn’t be in the business, especially the car business. I know that there are other great motivators but the reality is that we got into this business for the money, not the stories we could tell. Secondly and before owners and dealer principles start objecting, I am not talking about paying more or bonuses to do a job that we should all do well already – I am saying TIE it to their compensation. In other words, most stores have various bonuses or pay plan “enhancers” already (in my retail life, an enhancer usually meant a pay cut, but that’s for another blog). Tie the logging and prospect information gathering to this. For example, if you have a gross bonus or a volume bonus in the salespersons pay plan, add in a qualifier. That qualifier could be a combined logged total of 40 prospects throughout the month. If 40 are too aggressive, then start with 30. This could include all opportunities – at first I don’t really care – I just want to have the customer’s information.

I know this sounds low for some of you, but if every salesperson at your store had 30 logged fresh prospects with complete information every month, then how would this effect your sales based on your current closing ratio? You can always adjust the next month. We don’t want anyone to miss a deserved bonus; we just want to elicit a response and an action. What if the 30 increased to 60 fresh logged prospects per month with complete and accurate information? Try it on your Phone Ups – this is usually the biggest challenge in a store when looking at logged prospects. There are stores all over the country that has 30 or 40 logged Phone Ups for the month. One or two calls a day? If that were actually the accurate number, then there would be ad agencies closing – and yours should be one of them. This is easily managed throughout the month with an automotive CRM system. A simple logging report can tell you, at any time, how much each individual is currently logging or what they are tracking for the month. Strong managers will look at this and then coach and council salespeople to help manage their activities. Increase the logging – you increase their activities. Increase the activities – you increase sales. We all want more prospects but first make sure that you’re properly handling the ones you already have.