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April 21, 2003 – Why log your sales prospects?

April 21, 2003
Filed under Features

Call it a Traffic Log, Sales Log, Prospect Log or Guest Register. My preference? Guest Register. After all, those who opt to come into your store are guests, aren’t they? Whatever you call it create one and use it. Why spend the time doing that? It increases sales dramatically!
If I were still a salesperson today I would not consider for even a moment trying to sell without using a Guest Register.
Small Effort, big results
So how can such a simple document have such a huge impact on profitability, number of vehicles sold, customer satisfaction, and produce more deals per salesperson effort hours?
Here are just a few of the reasons why anyone wanting to close as many deals as possible would NEVER consider working without an accurate Guest Register.
First, are we appropriately staffed? If ALL prospects are logged correctly I can then, at a glance, show management if the current sales staff is able to effectively handle 100% of the available prospects.
If this is true, then I would have two comments for my manager. One, you do not need to hire any more sales staff because you’ll dilute the opportunity of the existing staff. Two, you can, with confidence, increase the dealership’s promotions and advertising since we are handling 100% of the prospects correctly.
If we are so busy that we cannot properly greet our guests/prospects, diagnose their wants, needs, desires, and motivations, then show them the products we offer that best suits those diagnosed needs, we’re not doing a proper job.
Unless we can prove we’re doing a good job of prospecting, management would have every right to add staff and limit any additional activities that would draw more prospects through the door.
Do we have the right product mix?
A second reason for using a Guest Register is to help us determine if we have the products our guests want to purchase.
I can tell 95% of the dealerships in this country what they are going to sell in the coming months with only two documents: Their current inventory and pending orders.
Unlike the auto industry, which has readily available means of disposing of buying or trade in mistakes through auctions and professional wholesalers, a powersports dealer must retail what he/she has purchased.
Without a Guest Register to show what his/her guests’ really wanted to purchase, he or she will then ponder last year’s sales and make the same mistakes all over again.
We wonder why so many of our customers beat us up so badly. Don’t we all expect a discount if we are buying something that is not our first choice? I think so.
As a salesperson I want to be able to show my boss what it is that our guests really want to buy because I know I will sell more — if we have the right products new or used.
Are we selling at the right price?
Finally, a Guest Register can help us determine if we are selling product at the right price. Without a good Guest Register and a solid sales system we have no way of knowing if we are selling at the right price. That means if I have no way of knowing how many prospects were “written up” (made a firm committed offer to buy at any price acceptable or not to management) compared to how many vehicles we actually sold, I truly have no way of knowing the market value of our products.
Since most salespeople only get paid when something is delivered, wouldn’t you like to be able to show your boss the real numbers? With an accurate Guest Register it would not be uncommon to have a conversation something like this. “You know what boss? I didn’t get paid much this pay period and you say it is because I didn’t sell much! Well I’m here to show you that it was not because I didn’t sell it, it was because you didn’t say yes.
“See, according to our Guest Register I was able to get a “write up” for 45% of the people I spoke to. But you only said yes to less than half of those and our finance department was only able to provide financing for 30% of those you said yes to.
“See, boss, I did my job; I took care of the prospects you brought in the door. Maybe the problem is not me, your salesperson, but perhaps it lies with the kind of prospects you’re advertising is attracting.
“Maybe you need to look closer at the market value of what we are selling and say yes more often. Also, if the average PowerHouse Top Gun is financing 57% of what they deliver and we are only financing 30% maybe the reason I did not sell much was because of our weak F&I department.
“Really, boss now that I see it so plainly here on the Guest Register I think you owe me some commissions for the units “I” sold but “you” did not deliver.
There are more reasons to have an accurate Guest Register but if it were only these three that would be more than enough for me … if I were a salesperson today.
A final note.
PowerHouse PowerFact: In recent weeks there are several things we know for sure.

  • Unemployment is up!
  • Dealer inventory is up across the country!
  • Floor traffic is down!
  • PowerHouse PowerNote: If you are going to be prosperous in 2003 you MUST have a strong sales process and an accurate Guest Register. I believe that growth will come only to those who show they are able to be professional, organized, consistent and efficient.

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