Many commercial sales managers can get caught in a dilemma I refer to as “the disparate sales team.” A disparate sales team includes both new and experienced sales consultants. The novices, those who are new to commercial sales, are often millennials in their 20s and 30s and bring with them an awareness of new, innovative ways of connecting and an enthusiasm for trying new strategies and methods. The old pros, those who have been around the sales block a few times, are often in their 50s and 60s and offer classic sales lessons that can stand the test of time.

Each team member, the novices and the old pros, each bring helpful knowledge and abilities to the table. But without guidance, they may not learn from each other. This is a big risk, as there are more dealerships than ever getting into the commercial side of the business. I know, because we are contacted constantly by retail dealers interested in pursuing commercial sales. Clearly, it’s incredibly important that commercial sales managers unite their novices and old pros, and together develop relevant skills that can keep your dealership productive and competitive. That’s why today we’re breaking down 7 Steps for Creating a More Productive Sales Team!! Read More

Managers will often tell me about the “talent” and “potential” they see in an applicant or new hire. If that talent and potential work out, that’s great, but usually when I hear those words — especially when they’re combined to discuss “potential talent” — I start to worry. Potential suggests that person “could be” productive and successful one day, if only they receive the right industry and product education, or obtain the right list of targeted prospects, or learn the right sales skills. I don’t mean to sound negative, but there’s a lot of uncertainty in the word “potential.” That’s why, when a dealership’s general manager or commercial sales manager wants me to coach a new hire, or send them to one of our Ultimate Boot Camps, I first have to ask a number of questions. And those questions aren’t about their potential; I want to know about their actions. Read More

In Allan Dib’s book, “The 1-Page Marketing Plan,” Dib provides one of the best examples of marketing I have ever read. Here is an excerpt from the book:

“If the circus is coming to town and you paint a sign saying, ‘Circus Coming to the Showground Saturday,’ that’s advertising.

If you put the sign on the back of an elephant and walk it into town, that’s promotion.

If the elephant walks through the mayor’s flower bed and the local newspaper writes a story about it, that’s publicity.

If you get the mayor to laugh about it, that’s public relations.

If the town’s citizens buy a ticket to attend, as well as buy concessions, that’s sales.

And if you planned the whole thing, that’s marketing.” Read More

Is there such a thing as a typical day for a commercial sales consultant? Maybe not, but there absolutely are certain priorities and actions that can make a day ideal for a dealership.

A commercial salesperson’s ideal day has its beginnings in the days and weeks beforehand, through a process known as “strategic planning”. A typical day that lacks previous planning means that we arrive to work unprepared to avoid distractions or to seize opportunities. An ideal day, however, is intentionally structured by focused and prepared dealers who consistently lay the groundwork for future success and create their own opportunities. Read More

2018 has so far been a breakthrough year. Our commercial sales training program has had more telephone calls in the last two months from dealerships who suddenly want to get into commercial sales than in the last five years combined. Over the last few years, sales have hit records as an improving economy, rising wages, and low interest rates have driven consumers to invest in new machinery. Read More

Recently, we’ve been talking about using referrals to gain appointments with prospects. In November, I wrote about “leverage” and how you can create influence over customers by building positive and productive relationships. This relational leverage is valuable because it gives dealers the ability to ask for important favors from customers, like referrals. Then, in December, we talked about how those referral calls typically go and why they work so well when engaging a prospect.

As we dive deeper into the process of gaining referrals, I want to mention a saying that I live by: “In a bad system, even a great salesperson will most likely fail. But in a great system, even an average salesperson will most likely succeed!” Our system to Gain Endless Referrals is called our “Vendor Referral Program.”  Here are the main focal points: Read More

You’re in your dealership on a Tuesday morning and the receptionist at your company has transferred a call to you. The caller starts out saying, “Hi Bob, thanks for taking my call. My name is Ken Taylor and I was asked to contact you by Jim Smith, the owner of ABC Plumbing, one of your customers, and I promised Jim I would follow through. Do you have about three minutes?” Of course, you answer “yes” since it was your customer who referred me to you. Read More

Webster’s Dictionary defines leverage as “a mechanical advantage gained by the use of a lever.” Applying that definition to dealerships, leverage is a sales advantage gained by creating and exerting influence over an intended target. I think the key to successful sales, therefore, is knowing how to develop and apply leverage over current and new customers. And the most effective way you can create and exert that influence is by building positive and productive relationships!
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I get calls on a regular basis from new commercial sales consultants and most have the same question, “What is the quickest way to grow my sales volume?” My answer to that question is always the same: take a “systematic approach” to the business. No one thing can really jump start sales, but over the last seventeen years training commercial operations, we have come up with a formula that works. As one of our most successful students, Nick Henshaw has said, “Just drink the Kool-Aid.” What Nick means is that simply following the cookie cutter system I created will really work. Ready? Here are 9 Steps to Equipment Dealership Success — and yes, they require work!! Read More

You have been through the scenario before.  Your sales people make their business plans, you review them together, and six months later, nothing has happened!  They are doing all of the things they did the year before!  All of the great intentions of contacting new prospects, expanding their business base, and initiating a marketing program are still on paper, but they were never implemented.  Before we point the finger at a lack of follow-through, look in the mirror first.  Did you create any accountability with their plans?  The answer is usually no. Read More

One of the comments I get from dealers on a regular basis is “I wish we had all the brands!  I could really sell some equipment!” The reason the title to this article is “Careful What You Wish For!” is because having all the major brands is a lot more complicated than it sounds and the payoff is not always what you would expect.  Often the expectation of having multiple brands is an open door to growing sales.  In my 17 years of working with commercial dealerships and many “multi-brand” commercial dealers, here are some things to think about before you expect sales to just fall into your lap: Read More