Leadership Qualities of the Automotive Sales Manager
How do you become a car sales manager? Well, in most cases you’re the best performing salesperson and that seems like the logical next step in your career progression. The problem, however, is that the skills necessary to become a good car sales manager are very different than those of a salesperson. In this article, we’ll provide car sales managers tips on how they can uplevel their game and lead their sales teams to success.
What Is The Role of A Car Sales Manager?
In today’s current business environment, automotive sales managers need to be focused on training their sales staff and managing the activity of their teams. What do we mean by managing activity? That is, determining whether your sales staff is doing the right things, the right way, at the right time, in order to drive traffic to your dealership. No team is successful despite having a bad coach. Here are the responsibilities of managers which are notably different than those of a salesperson:
- Recruitment and retention of personnel
- Desking and closing deals
- Setting goals for the dealership & salespeople
- Training and observing salespeople in action
Car Sales Management Training Tips
Great players don’t necessarily make great coaches. Think of Wayne Gretzky, notably one of the best hockey players of all time. Nicknamed “The Great One”, Gretzky was unable to successfully coach a team to victory. Alternatively, Bill Belichik, a world-class football coach, is one of only three head coaches who have won six NFL titles despite never having played professional football. Car dealerships need to have excellent sales managers that prepare their team for game day.
So how can you be a good car sales manager? Or even better, a great one? Here are our car sales managers tips to propel you to the top:
1. Focus on Strategic Duties
A coach is responsible for a team’s overall offensive and defensive strategies. A great manager focuses on offense by honing a culture of business development at his dealership. A strong manager also focuses on turning defense into offense by making sure he provides his staff with the tools to convert inbound phone calls and Internet leads into customers in the showroom. Armed with the right resources a great manager provides their teams with:
- The most effective tactics to respond to phone and internet leads and drive traffic to the showroom
- A framework for capitalizing on referral business
- Strategies to nurture their sold client database
- Tactics to stay top of mind on social media
- Goals to motivate
2. Lead Your Team by Practicing Skills
Practice makes perfect. That’s what makes a successful sports team reach their potential. Practicing drill after drill until they don’t have to think, they can just react when it comes to game time. They don’t come to a point where they’re too good to practice.
Communication is a skill that needs to be honed continuously. Just like you can’t become a pro-golfer by watching golf on TV, your team needs practice on how to interact with shoppers. They may “know” what to say but unless they’re practicing regularly, they won’t be able to adapt quickly in a dynamic sales environment. If you want to be a great manager, you need to prioritize practice with your sales teams. It’s not hard to do, you just need:
- 5 minutes a day at the beginning of your sales meeting
- Focus on the most common sales challenges
- Simulate how to respond to inbound calls to get the shopper to the showroom.
3. Hold Your Team Accountable
Accountability is key. The best coaches hold their players accountable by inspecting what they expect. For example, in order to have accountability on inbound sales calls, managers must actually listen to these calls—just as coaches review game film. When salespeople know that they are being listened to, and that they will be held accountable for their performance, their effort level naturally rises.
As a manager, you must have clear consequences. If people are not performing, if they fail to meet the standard, they need to know that there will be immediate consequences. For example, if a salesperson repeatedly mishandles calls, a consequence could be him or her losing the privilege of taking sales calls. After all, that’s a lead that you’ve paid for.
Belichick’s history has demonstrated this value perhaps most memorably when Chad Johnson (aka Ochocinco), the superstar wide receiver, signed from Cincinnati, was cut for not knowing the playbook! Here are the ways we hold our teams accountable:
- Track their conversion data from phone to showroom and internet to showroom
- Listen to their inbound AND outbound calls
- Monitor digital communications
4. Encourage your team to be proactive
Look around your showroom floor. Are there several managers sitting around waiting for salespeople to bring them a deal? Is your team working the phones to proactively set appointments or are they just waiting for the phone to ring? While you may be a manager who is great on the desk and a strong closer do you have the management skills needed to lead a team? What your salespeople do when there are no customers in the showroom is every bit as important as what they do when they have a showroom full of customers. As a manager, it is your responsibility that your team is working hard to create opportunities… proactively!
Great Leaders Aren’t Born, They’re Made
In order to be the best car sales manager, you need to execute the skills needed to achieve success. At the end of the day, the best teams have the best coaches. Teams don’t come together and win games without strong leadership guiding them. In other words, no team will achieve greatness despite poor coaching.
Lead Your Car Sales Team to Success
By providing your car sales team with access to world-class training that has helped thousands of dealers, you can help lead them to greatness. Sign up for a demo to see how we can help you create a winning team.