Where is the Motivation?
I sat down with my buddy Dave the other day. He’s a GSM at a luxury dealership in the GTA. We used to work together a few years ago – I was a Business Manager, and he was a Sales Manager. We get together now and then to catch up, reminisce, make fun of old colleagues and have a few good laughs.
On this particular day, Dave was dealing with some work drama and feeling quite blah. Our conversation took a turn and I started raving about my new ambitions to expand my kick off/sales meetings into motivational talks and to try and inspire the sales team. Dave listened politely, threw a few objections my way and then stopped. He looked straight at me and said: “Do you remember Bob Green? Do you remember his negative pessimistic attitude?” Yeah, how could I forget the guy. “Well sometimes, I feel like I’m turning into him.” Dave continued to explain that he believed the auto industry is different than other businesses. Unlike other sales jobs, car salespeople must deal with multiple challenges on a day to day basis such as:
Dealing with difficult/demanding customers
Customer complaints about service and vehicle maintenance
Responsibility of delivering the vehicle once it’s been sold – paperwork, licensing and insurance
Sales pressure from managers – dealership targets and personal goals
Competition with colleagues
Stress of customers/deals being taken away by other sales reps if you are not at the dealership all the time
Demands from the OEM that don’t always seem to align with dealership objectives
These responsibilities could be explained in full detail – each with an in-depth effect that is emotionally and physically draining on a person. Keep in mind that I haven’t included personal problems at home that everyone deals with. I also didn’t add the actual task of selling. That is the main objective and responsibility that the sales rep technically “should” be focused on.
Dave thought that as a Sales Manager, having to deal with his challenges and then hearing the same “BS” from the salespeople every day, there just wasn’t any time or energy left for motivation. And he’s right! In a dealership culture where day in and day out, the GM is breathing numbers, numbers, numbers, targets, and costs and budgets, where is the motivation? Sales Managers are told to meet targets, cut costs, hire more people if you need to; spend money on marketing if you must, but “manage your sales team!” SELL, SELL, SELL!
Sales reps feel this pressure. I mean let's face it, the GM and GSM aren’t selling cars. No! The sales reps are moving the metal. The sales reps are facing the customers. The sales reps are dealing with firsthand complaints, push backs, brand competition, tire-kickers, and window shoppers.
In our day and age, tell me what happens when you sit down with a “pushy” sales rep? Or an “aggressive” sales rep, or a “hungry” sales rep or even a “nice” sales rep? You RUN AWAY with a million excuses cause “it didn’t feel right,” “too pushy,” “too hungry,” “too aggressive,” “talked too much,” “too much pressure,” “she was too nice, she freaked me out.”
This isn’t a surprise. Of course, people feel whatever energy the salesperson is putting out on the table.
So where is this energy coming from? How are salespeople being motivated and inspired to be better? Are they being motivated? Where are they getting their energy from?
Is it coming from the stressed sales manager and the pushy GM? Or is it coming from his tired wife and demanding children at home? Or from an argument with a friend from the night before?
Sales managers can help put deals together. They can help manage inventory, and they can help deal with customer complaints. They can set targets and push sales. But who’s out there MOTIVATING the sales people?? It can’t be the sales managers when they are so bogged down with paperwork and other BS!
But how does any of this make any sense? How can a dealership expect sales when no energy is spent on motivating more sales?
Motivating means igniting a fire, creating a spark when the light is out, engaging with your sales team and getting them excited and having fun!
Canada Human Resources tells us that; “The impact of employee engagement (or disengagement) is a bottom line issue. Statistics show that unhappy workers cost the North American business economy well over $350 billion annually in lost productivity!
In today’s aggressive business environment remaining competitive is “top of mind” for most executives. To remain competitive, you have to hire truly talented people and then you have to keep them. Turnover is not only costly regarding replacement expense; it’s not productive, and it’s demoralizing to other team members when they see good people leaving the organization.” Read more http://www.canadahrcentre.com/solutions/employee-engagement/
Motivating your sales team doesn’t mean you have to take everyone on a trip to Vegas or take everyone out for expensive dinners all the time. That’s nice, but that’s not the point. Small, day to day changes can be made that can make a lasting difference to the entire dealership. I encourage dealership leaders to research, learn and make changes in your culture. Understand the importance of motivation and energy in your environment. It is to everyone’s benefit to be happy. Happy work environment produces happy employees who in turn produce happy results. There is a reason why Google is the number one best company to work for. I use them as an example and all their new-age ways of creating the right culture for their employees.
Here are a few tips from the horse’s mouth to hopefully inspire you: