So, you did it again! You made your New Year’s resolutions and the first week into 2019 most of the resolutions have already been broken! Don’t despair, you are in great company…most of the human race. By this time, you are saying, “I don’t understand, I had great intentions, the resolutions were important to me, I even bought a planner book to keep me on track!”
Why don’t we start over? (You’re allowed since we are still in January.) There are basic flaws in setting New Year’s Resolutions and it starts with the word “resolution.” Let’s call them what they are, “GOALS.” A resolution is defined In Webster’s Dictionary as “An act or intention.” In other words, it is a written or verbal statement of what you would “like” to do. The old saying, “The road to hell is paved with good intentions” is a good fit at this point. What’s the result of our “resolutions?” The University of Scranton research stated that only 8% of people who set New Year’s Resolutions achieve them!
So, what are the secrets to making our resolutions come true? There are no secrets!
Think of the process of planning and executing your goals as a road map that you will use to carry out each phase of your trip. Are you ready? Let’s get started on the “Road to Success.”
Step One: Start with the End in Mind
We all work to make a living for our families and ourselves, so goal setting starts with a simple step, how much money do you want to make in a month and the whole year? Let’s say you want to make $10,000 per month or $120,000 per year. That amount might be scaled by having a “build up period.” We don’t go from selling nothing in a new position to immediately making $10,000. Think “baby steps.”
Month one: $4,000 per month to include any guarantee.
Month two: $5,000 per month to include any guarantee.
Each month we can move the amount by either $500 or $1,000 increments.
Now the real number! How many vehicles do you have to sell to make an extra $1,000 per month? If you are on 25% of upfront gross and you are averaging $2,000 per vehicle in upfront gross, that would be $500 per sale.
To hit your goal of a $1,000 increase you would need to sell two additional vehicles. (Note to managers, I don’t recommend a draw against commission. Why? Human beings respond to “instant gratification,” or “show me the money!” If he or she works hard to sell two trucks and sees no immediate reward it is demotivating. Knowing he or she is going to get 25% of upfront gross causes two things to happen; First, the sales consultant will strive to reach a higher gross – one of the reasons I recommend a “tiered” unit sales plan meaning if he or she hits a threshold, let’s say 5 units, the commission increases to 30%.)
More incentive to sell more units and more incentive to build in more gross profit. Second, human’s respond to reward, not only do they respond to more money, they respond to “recognition.” The commercial manager or dealer should publicly give recognition each time one of the sales staff hits a threshold goal.
Step Two: Knowing the Numbers (The simplest step)
You’ve figured out that you can sell two commercial vehicles and make an extra $1,000 per month. You could call on small businesses who only buy 1 or 2 units every four years, or you could target businesses that have a minimum of 10 vehicles (they buy one to two units per year), up to 30- or 40-unit companies that are buying every few months. I recommend this as the core of your business.
Now we have some real numbers with which to work! You know your long-term income goal, you know how much commission you must earn for each sale and you know how many units it will take to reach your numbers. You are now ready for the most important step of all!
Step Three: Choosing the Activities that Create the Numbers
This is the most important—and the most neglected—step in the entire Success Plan.
There are a few tings we need to know when considering the activities we choose to reach our goals. Let’s put them in order of least effective to most effective.
1. Waiting for prospects to come to you. I think we call this “walk-ins” or as I like to call them, “welfare.” You are leaving your entire career to chance or luck, and luck is not a strategy! Waiting for “walk-ins” is like waiting for a bus without a bus stop!
2. Sending out mass direct mail. This is costly and in today’s world of ‘mail overload,’ it seldom gets read. In both of these scenarios you have no control over your destiny, not a good feeling.
3. Cold calling- These are unplanned drop ins on businesses or cold telephone calls soliciting where you have no information about the prospect and you are interrupting their day. You have less than a 1 in 20 chance of any direct contact with a decision maker. Would you take those odds to Las Vegas? I don’t think so!
4. Joining groups but not having a plan. I can’t tell you how many dealerships I work with that have joined the Home Builders Association and no one is going to the meetings. The response I get is, “We didn’t get anything out of our membership.” You put nothing into your membership and expected miracles. If you’re looking for miracles go see a Disney movie.
5. Joining a group and fully participating! That means going to all meetings and functions, being active on committees, and sponsoring events. You have a plan to meet three new contacts at every meeting and never leaving a function without at least one appointment.
I did a 2017 survey of 20 commercial sales consultants who were selling at least 20 units per month and had been in the business for at least 15 years. The most startling answer I got from the individuals was when I asked, “How much of your current business can you attribute to being active in associations?” The answer was over 62%, or two out of three sales, could directly be traced to being active in these groups.
6. Leveraging current satisfied customers for direct referrals into their vendors, business relationships and their group activities. Your best referrals come from your best customers and when you call the referral, he or she feels obligated to meet with you.
If you only do items 5 and 6 above, you will grow your business monumentally and in record time. In our Ultimate Boot Camp (one is coming up in January and we have three seats left!) we role play extensively on creating a vast referral network. It is not uncommon for brand new rookies to call me a few months later to let me know they are outselling far more experienced sales consultants.
Step Four: Never Stop Following up
The biggest weakness of sales professionals is a lack of follow up after the sale. We set up what I call a “System Approach” that works extremely well. Here are the steps:
1. Create a “Top Twenty.” These are your best customers. Review this list weekly and contact everyone on the list whether by email, phone, or in person. Over Christmas this year while on a seven-hour drive, I called everyone on my top twenty. Guess what? I am booked solid for the first half of the year!
2. Have a monthly newsletter- We provide this for our clients and it is customized with their dealer masthead and the sales consultant’s personal information. The recipients don’t know we exist since we want that to be a well-kept secret.
3. Constantly gather personal and professional information on your customers from birthdays to their children’s names. Remember, it’s all about relationships. Leverage this personal data during conversations. EXAMPLE: “Bob, I meant to ask you, how is your son Kyle doing in his first year of college?” Bob will be amazed that you remembered and will be appreciative.
4. Never stop proving your expertise and your concern for your customers. This is how you earn their loyalty for life.
WARNING! If you follow all of the above steps you will have more business than you can handle, and you might need an assistant! Thought I would give you advanced notice for this very serious (but welcomed) problem.
Remember this quote by the former head basketball coach at the University of Indiana, Bobby Knight:
“Everyone wants to win, but very few have the will to prepare to win.”
These steps take passion, preparation, and perseverance, what I call the “Three P’s of Success.” Are you ready to be a superstar? I will see you at the top!