Coach Ken: The Right System
As a speaker and trainer in the commercial and fleet world of automotive, I interact with so many people from sales professionals, managers and dealer principals to customers, service writers, prospects and techs. I like to ask questions; it is the best way I know to start a relationship and focus on the other person. This is not a natural skill to focus on others. So often we are so intent on delivering our message (sales pitch), we forget about the needs and wants of the prospect or customer. In life and in sales, the key to success is continued “self-development.” We can do it the hard way (learn from our mistakes), or we can have a plan to develop our knowledge and skills. When I work with a brand new commercial and fleet salesperson or an experienced one, we always formulate a plan for self-development. Here is what we focus on in our “Self-Development Plan.”
- PEOPLE KNOWLEDGE-
There is a quote I use often, “No one cares what you know, until they know that you care.” Part of your self-development plan is to have a system that allows us to gain information during any interaction, whether a first sales call or a trade show. The more knowledge we have of the other person and their business, the more opportunities open for us. A question I often ask to a business owner on a sales call with the commercial salesperson is “How did you get started in your business?” They talk for a long time! Think about this, you are acquiring important knowledge! (self-development!)
- SALES KNOWLEDGE-
The essence of sales is not talking, but listening. Professional salespeople are always looking for ways to develop their sales skills. Reading sales books, attending seminars like our commercial boot camp, talking with successful salespeople and managers; all will help accelerate your success.
- TECHNICAL KNOWLEDGE-
I always put new salespeople on a “technical” knowledge acquisition plan. Just starting in the industry can be overwhelming. If they are brand new to the commercial world or even automotive, learning your product is critical.
- MARKETING KNOWLEDGE-
Yes, marketing knowledge is separate from sales knowledge! Many great sales professionals don’t have a clue regarding great marketing. I could spend pages just on this topic. 50% of our marketing is focused on the Internet, 30% on events, such as trade shows and customer appreciation days, and 20% is face-to-face with customers and prospects.
- ORGANIZATIONAL KNOWLEDGE-
This knowledge is better known as “time management.” A disorganized salesperson is an accident waiting to happen. We require our dealers to have an organizational notebook (Plannerpads.com is our first choice). We also require an Internet-based (preferably cloud based) CRM system, that organizes clients and prospects in one easy to use system. The retail CRMs that most dealerships use are not effective when working with outside businesses. My favorite is a customized version of ACT by Sage, (ACT.com). It is built for business-to-business use and has been around for over 40 years. Although not a pure CRM, Work Truck Solutions is also another resource that should be explored for your dealership. Regardless, it’s important to make sure whatever system you decide upon is built for B2B/work trucks!
I spoke at a major convention not long ago and I ended the talk with this statement:
“Given a talented sales professional and a bad system, that person will most likely fail. Given a great system and an average sales professional, he or she will be a great success.”
It is all about the system whether in sales, sports, or life!
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Ken Taylor & Associates’ Commercial Automotive
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