Most Companies Track Only Results, We Track Effort!
THE ‘WHY’ OF F&I
“We have an F&I department to help our customers. At this dealership, we only offer products and services that provide outstanding value for our customers. We firmly believe each of these products and services will improve the customer’s ownership experience.”
“We fell every customer is entitled to know all of the options available in connection with their purchase and have all their questions answered by a trained professional, so they can make an informed decision with regard to those options.”
“An F&I professional helps our customers obtain acceptable financing, then reviews their repayment, risk management and vehicle protection options, and helps them make the best decision for them and their family.”
LOOKING FORWARD TO THE NEW YEAR
Selling today for success has a formula. Most individuals in sales today plan for the future with a formula that looks something like this;
They set goals on the premise that they want to achieve so many sales, daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly, and annually. In some organizations, this is called a quota. An example might be (4) sales this week. Not too many individuals will focus first on how many calls they need to make to reach that weekly goal, or do they?
In a recent book I read it gives valuable insight into how to be a successful Professional in sales. In the book the formula for success reads slightly different;
How many times must you fail to succeed? To fail is not failure it's a learning event something to gain from the experience.
For 2017, focus on how many times you need to fail to then succeed and by doing so you will achieve much more than you imagined. The name of the book is “Go for NO” by Richard Fenton & Andre Waltz a must read.
Management vs. Leadership
Peter Drucker considered by many the ‘Father of modern management’ was quoted as saying; “You manage things, but you lead people.” When you consider the many differences between Manager and Leader one focuses on fact that Management is a noun, and leadership is really not its a verb. Leadership is not a destination it’s a process. Management is for when things stay the same, or need too, and Leadership is for progress, deals with people and their dynamics, which continually change.
In John Maxwell’s book ‘The Five Levels of Leadership”, the five levels gives us insight into the fact that leadership is truly a process, moving from level 1 - Position in progression up to the ultimate level 5 – Pinnacle, moving and maintaining the levels behind you with increased knowledge and confidence. While you progress in your confidence and ability this knowledge has nothing to do with your capacity to learn, but requires your choice and attitude.
In my personal journey and career I have experience the good, the bad, and the ugly of management and leadership styles. What this has taught me is that ‘management’ is a position and it can be awarded to you, however, leadership is not, its not a title that is bestowed upon you, you have to earn it, and you earn it through your actions and interactions with the people you are leading. And most importantly the team you represent bestows the title, not your immediate report.
A Leader must first know themselves, no what their vales are, and lead by example with those values;
Ethical Values – knowing the right things for the right reasons.
Relational Values – choosing to build an environment of trust & respect
Success Values – What goals are worth spending your efforts and life on.
Also in John Maxwell’s book he challenges you to consider incorporating these words into your vocabulary;
Collaboration – “let’s work together.”
Initiation – “I’ll come to you, not come to me.”
Inclusion - “What do you think, what’s your thoughts.”
Cooperation – ‘Working together we can WIN.”
Service – “I’m here to help you.”
Development – “I want to add value to and for you.”
Encouragement – “I believe in you and you can do this.”
Innovation – “Let’s think outside the box.”
In the level 1 – Position type leaders from John Maxwell’s book, you will often find, as I have, two distinct types; 1-Immature leaders – they try and use their position to drive performance, doing whatever seems possible to intimidate and manipulate those that they oversee. These self proclaimed ‘Leaders’ never move beyond level 1 and are often referred to ‘The Boss’ or ‘The Manager’. Then there are; 2- Mature leaders they on the other hand possess the self-knowledge necessary to realize that consistently high performance from their people isn’t prompted by position, power, or rules. It’s by respecting people so that they go from feeling like a stake to feeling like a stakeholder.
I personally believe there is a big difference between motivation and manipulation and it spans cultures and religions, it’s call the ‘Golden Rule’; “Treat others as you would like to be treated.” In addition just because you like and care about people on your team doesn’t mean you let them work without responsibility or accountability. Treating others as you would like to be treated means you maintain a balance between care and candor. More simply stated from John’s book, it’s like a ‘Surgeon’s’ work, it may hurt, but it is meant to help and most certainly shouldn’t harm. Acting in accordance with both care and candor will provide the right formula for effectiveness towards success and progress, which is what all companies and corporations are hoping for.
Being a good leader means being a good listener, one that is listening to understand not respond. Great listening requires the ability to listen with your ‘ears’ “I hear what you are saying.” Your ‘eyes’ “I see what you are saying.” Your ‘heart’ “I feel what you are saying.” And lastly your ‘undivided attention’ “I value who you ar and what you are saying.” I personally have subscribed to the 70-30 rule, engage the other person to talk 70% of the time, and me only 30%, that way I can listen with my ears, eyes, heart, and understanding. Don’t get me wrong though, I am not perfect, I mess-up too at times and try to talk too much.
In conclusion I quote Peter Drucker again, using his words; ‘So much of what we call management consists of making it difficult for people to work.” Management is only a title and gives you the authority to orchestrate the successful task of getting things right, however Leadership is the formula that helps you and your team in getting things right, through doing the right things.
Thank you for taking the time to read my article, I would love your feed-back and or comments
"Authorities have control. Leaders have legacies." Simon Sinek. When I read this statement from Simon this morning it reminded me of some individuals I have come across in my past who actually believed they were 'Leaders' but in actuality, as Simon has so appropriately described them, are nothing more than 'Authority' figures. Their actions fit this definition infinitely much closer than that of a 'Leader'. History may not remember them or at best remember them for their negativity and untrustworthiness. Leadership comes with a set of requirements set around respect and trustworthiness!
And Delighting Customers!
By Will Slattery
What worked in the past may not work today and in the future. As a National Trainer for Sales Professionals for the past 14 years I have worked with countless Sales People to help them achieve their Goals and build positive experiences for their customers and themselves. Change happens, those who are not willing to change cannot improve. As ‘Haw’, discovered in the book, ‘Who Moved My Cheese?’ by Spencer Johnson, “The quicker you let go of old cheese, the sooner you find new cheese.”
Some Sales People I have worked with seem to struggle with change, which is natural, since we are asking them to make a ‘Paradigm Shift’ to a new way of selling. Following is 9 practices to consider if you really want to achieve Excellence and Delight Customers;
1. WHO, WHAT, WHY, WHEN, WHERE, and HOW
∙ WHO sells what? Who builds the relationship? Who asks the engaging questions, and builds trust? YOU do and you have to be confident in what you say and do.
∙ WHAT products should you sell? ONLY products YOU believe in!
∙ WHY offer the products or services? Not just for the commission that’s for sure! Don’t ask someone to buy something you don’t believe in, and would not buy yourself! If you want to be successful you must meet with ALL potential customers and help them open their minds to the ‘value’ you offer.
∙ WHEN should you present your ‘product or service’? Only after the customer understands ‘WHY’ they need your product or service. WHY come before WHAT and HOW.
∙ WHERE should you be? In front of the potential customer or customers, giving them the opportunity to be involved in a positive two way communication process. If they are unprepared or unable to be seated with you right now, find a time that is mutually convenient for both parties.
∙ HOW, just be urgent to help customers!! Not urgent to sell them! If you focus on making the interaction and process ‘appositely customer DELIGHT’ you will both have a positive experience.
1. IT’S A PROCESS It starts with a positive introduction that consists of ‘who you are,’ ‘ what your prepared to do for them,’ ‘how much time you might need, not a request a disclosure,’ and that you are prepared to help them solve their want, need, desire, or concern. You’re not SELLING the products / services, you’re recommending them. YOUR Responsibilities a) Help customers make informed decisions regarding their options. b) Ensure, regardless of your success, that every customer feels delighted about the process. c) Make a profit by finding and fulfilling the needs of customers. d) Practice, drill, and rehearse, your sales process daily, weekly to perfect your presentations and develop you skills. ‘Proper Preparation Prevents a Pitiful Poor Performance’.
1. PRACTICE HONESTY / INTREDRITY Demonstrate your belief in the products or services you offer. You offer these products / services because they help customers. It’s been said “In what you do and what you say in the time spent with each customer, can potentially change someone’s life!” Show this belief by not only knowing your products and services thoroughly, buying the products you sell, and enthusiastically offer every product to every customer – especially friends and family! Set Goals, develop and implement a plan for achieving your GOALs, the companies GOALs, and industry standards. In other words, develop a plan and work your plan for success.
1. NO MORE SALES PITCHES Today’s customers do not appreciate ‘Sales Pitches that smell of commission breath!’ Our job is to help them through the purchase process and answer any questions they may have regarding their, repayment, risk management, and options along with assisting them in making an informed decision. Every product / service fulfils a specific customer need, which has been discovered by asking high quality questions to seek out with eagerness why they might need your products or services. This is called ‘Socratic Selling’ which means, leading customers to a positive buying decision by allowing them to self-discover the value of the product / service being offered!
1. HELP CUSTOMERS VISUALIZE! Help customers visualize what life might be like after they take ownership of your products / services. When we consider intangible products and services we must help customers visualize their benefit when they might need them the most. When painting a picture fro the customer to visualize, make sure you put them in the picture. This can be accomplished by drawing a picture for them physically or mentally. You have to ask open-ended, close ended, and high value – emotion type questions. It’s also important to understand the difference between hearing and listening, after you ask a question, you must pay attention to listen properly, which means stop what you are doing and listen to what the customer is saying, this helps you better understand their concerns or objections. In addition you must possess a very thorough understanding of what your products / service, are, what they may cover, how they solve wants, needs, desires, or even concerns the customer might have.
1. WHAT WILL THEY FORFEIT OR SACRIFICE (For not Going Ahead)? If the customer declines to purchase a particular product /service. Consider utilizing WAIVERS to ensure that 100% of the products /services have been offered, to 100% of the customers, 100% of the time, with 100% integrity, the 400% Rule! Requiring customers to acknowledge that they have been offered the product or service, and have elected to Forfeit or Sacrifice it, will often generate interest after an initial “NO”).
1. IT’S YOUR PERFORMANCE Professionals WANT to monitor their performance. Monitor your performance daily, monthly, quarterly and year over year, which allows you to analyze your strengths and weaknesses compare it to national, regional, local, and manufacture specific standards. Best practices have shown that whenever you monitor performance, performance increases.
1. BECOME A STUDENT OF YOUR TRADE Training is not a destination it’s a journey, make training and development a personal commitment. It’s been said “Wherever you are in life, you’ve gone as far as you can go with your current level of knowledge and skill. “ Professionals work on themselves everyday! I have often heard that some Sales People will not go to training because they have heard it all before. Humans learn by repetition, that’s why serious Sales Professionals continue to go to seminars, and workshops, even if they have heard it before, just to make sure they keep themselves on track and ready for any eventuality. Just like a professional Athlete that may be preparing themselves for an Olympic event that could be (4) years away, they don’t study, practice, drill, and rehearse, the day of. Implement a program of continuing education and professional training on an ongoing base, daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly, and no less than annually.
1. WHAT WILL CUSTOMERS SAY OR ASK ABOUT YOU? Would they call you friendly? How successful is friendly? Well, look at the most successful companies in the world, are their employees friendly? I travel a lot, and stay in Hotels a lot; every hotel room has a bed, a washroom, and an entertainment centre, … hopefully. I can only judge the better hotels by how friendly their staff, are, not by their chain name. So, 1) Do customers consider you friendly? 2) Can they trust you? 3) Do you know what you’re talking about? 3) Do you really care about the customer, as a person, or are you just trying to sell them something so you can hopefully pocket and hopefully keep your commission?
These are the steps and advice to Achieving Excellence and Delighting Customers. Sales People should re-evaluate their current processes, develop and implement a plan that WOW’s their potential customers, and in addition demonstrates their belief in their products or services with conviction. ‘Needs-based selling’ is what customers are looking for in Sales Professionals today, not a product / service, features, advantage, benefit infomercial.
This article is written by Will Slattery CSP w/ Distinction, National Trainer & Coach with Industrial Alliance Insurance & Financial Service Inc. and is based on his many years as a Sales Person, Trainer & Sales Coach