The Psychology Of A T.O.

One of the hardest things for a new salesperson to grasp is the significance of a T.O.  The reason why new hires are resistant to the T.O. is because of its negative thinking behind the word “T.O.” The only thing good about the word “turnover” is when it has the word apple in front of it. Think about it, if sales were a sporting event, you would be deemed a loser if you “turned the ball over” consistently; but a salesperson is required to “turn over” his customers. When a salesperson is hired, they are taught to be independent and thick-skinned, but are fearful of looking weak when they have to “T.O.” a customer, thinking the meaning of a T.O. is “I’m too weak to do this deal on my own,” thereby becoming resistant to their manager.  As a manager, if you want more consistent T.O.’s, you should change the psychology of a T.O.

·         No vs. Know: I know this may be hard to believe, but occasionally a salesperson will be confronted with a resistive customer, a customer, despite all efforts, is unwilling to pull in the same direction as the salesperson. The customer is not always saying “No” to the salesperson’s efforts, he may be saying, “Know.” “I don’t know you.” “I don’t know what your motives are. “ “I don’t know if this is the right vehicle for me.” “I don’t know enough about your dealership,” may be some of your customer’s concerns.  If you want to be compatible with your customers, think like your customers do and address their “knows.”

·         Be double-minded:  The thinking behind a T.O. is a different mentality for a salesperson versus a manager. To a salesperson, a T.O. should be thought of as “turning the objection.” The customer’s objections range from they don’t have time to not enough money for their trade, or a million other reasons why they need to “come back later.” The manager should think of a T.O. as a “teaching opportunity.” Turning objections over to a manager serves two purposes: The first purpose, the manager has a chance to turn a customer around and help put a deal together. The other purpose of a T.O.  is an opportunity to teach “hands on.” The best form of teaching is by example.  A manager also may be able to pick up on some quirky mistakes made along the way and coach the salesperson at a later time.

·         All-time assist: To use the analogy of basketball, a T.O. is grabbing the rebound and keeping the ball in play granting another opportunity to score (make a sale).  After spending time with a prospect, the salesperson is fearful of going too far and losing a potential sale, which means they don’t go far enough. Timid salesmen have skinny kids; you must exhaust all of your resources in an effort to make a sale. There should never be a time a customer leaves without buying and the salesperson says, “What if I would have…” Leave all of your efforts out on the blacktop. Keep in mind; you cannot lose what you never had. How can you “miss out” on a deal if you never had one in the first place?  What does the commission pay for almost making a sale? When an objection is turned to a manager, who has no emotional attachment, he can assess the situation quickly and take action. Sometimes the customer is on the wrong vehicle, other times it is as little as reinforcing what the salesperson has already said; while other times the customer may not be emotionally compatible with the salesperson so a change of face is needed. A high percentage of missed sales are not due to price, but are lost due to an incompatibility with the salesperson (i.e. appearance, attitude, or lack of knowledge); price was merely a smokescreen. Often, a change of face or different personality can reveal the true objection and thus clear the pathway toward a sale.

·         Strength in numbers:  The Bible says there is strength in numbers; two are better than one. You cannot win a championship alone, it takes teammates;  it’s called The Rolling Stones not The Rolling Stone; surgeons don’t perform open heart surgery alone nor do pilots  fly  747’s to London solo; so why do you insist on selling alone? A T.O. is a joint collaboration of consultants and management in an effort to increase the chances of making a sale.

If you are a salesperson, before you place this article in a discreet white envelop and stick it under your manager’s day planner, remember it is your manager’s job is to equip you with the necessary skills in order to become successful, but it is your job to do the work and turn your dreams into reality.  Put a different way, a coach’s job is to prepare you for the game, but it is your job to take the game winning shot. Players use all of their resources to win as a team, but are inducted into the hall of fame alone. Change the psychology of a T.O. and change your fortunes forever. See you on the Blacktop.

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