Leadership Tips: How to be a Proactive Manager

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proactive-managerHave you ever stopped to wonder what kind of manager you are?  Do you lead your team effectively or are you in a continuous pattern of putting out fires or playing catch up from the day before?

A lot of managers look at their sales team as a determinant of success, but I want you to take a step back and think about how those teams are being led.

Your mindset as a manager is critical to having what it takes to be an effective leader. The key to this success is in how proactive you are. Proactive leaders tend to overcome obstacles and achieve goals with greater ease. Instead of being in a frantic state of trying to deal with events as they come, proactive leaders are able to anticipate and plan.

While it may seem like a daunting task, there are several things you can do immediately to position yourself for  success.

  1. Setting Expectations – Your team needs to know what is expected of them when they come to work every day. First off, they should have their day planned in advance with appointments set up from the days prior.  Often times we look at our appointment board and see it’s empty for the day. As a reaction we tell our teams to make calls and appointments and get people in. However, the reality is that today is too late to worry about getting people in today. Your teams should be working their database and setting up appointments all day long. That way they come into work and know exactly what they should be doing.  If they’re not with a customer they should be working to get customers into the showroom. Remember, what they’re doing when they’re not with a customer is every bit as important as what they’re doing when there is a showroom full of customers.
  2. Leading by Example – You need to be the one to set the tone for the dealership and your management style will largely determine this.  Are you a seagull manager who sees a problem, knows it needs to be handled, and swoops in to bark orders impulsively without gathering all the details or weighing options? If you are, you may not even be aware of your behavior but your employees are and the effects on morale and productivity are detrimental.  You want to be the manager that is always walking and talking. You should be introducing yourselves to customers and assisting your team when they need help. Not only will you be more accessible to your team, but you’ll have a pulse on what is happening within the dealership and have more knowledge to make better decisions when a problem arises.
  3. Accountability – we need to hold our team accountable. Some managers insist that sales people make a certain number of outbound calls a day.  While that’s great, you should instead be measuring how many appointments they have scheduled for the days ahead and also tracking how many of those appointments show.  Additionally, you’ll want to make sure that your salespeople are following processes like asking for referrals at the time of delivery—or really asking for referrals any time. We also strongly believe that each manager should listen to their sales calls throughout the day. Notice, we say throughout the day. This should not be left until the end of the day because you have a valuable tool to be able to save a deal before it’s too late. You can also use this as a training tool to correct a salesperson. If you don’t like what you hear, pull the sales person off of the phone until they’re retrained and up to par.  Remember, answering the phone is a privilege and should be treated as such. The key is to inspect what you expect and your team will fall inline.

Your management style is what ultimately determines your dealership’s culture. It is critical that you are equipped with the insight to know how to manage your staff and provide them with the strategies and processes to be successful. Let’s face it, many times in the automotive industry we take our best sales people and make them managers without any training on how to actually manage people. Our training provides you with the tools to help you lead your team to a higher level.

If you feel like you’re more of a reactive leader and want to learn to become more proactive, give our training a shot. Sign up for our 7-day free trial to see if it’s right for you.


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