Train With A Funnel Not A Hose

A 3 year old has around 900 words in his vocabulary; over the next 15+ years a child’s word bank will explode to an average capacity of 20,000 words. As a parent, it would be impossible to teach your toddler everything you have learned in life in 7 short days, yet dealerships are guilty of cramming thousands of hours of experiential knowledge into a week long boot camp affectionately known as Sales Training. The one word that surmises why your hopeful hire went to lunch and never returned is because he was overwhelmed! The grandiose expectations of earning a 6-figure income in sales vaporized faster than witnessing Kim Kardashian in a wedding dress when he became overpowered by the amount of material, closes, and expectations that lay before him. The world may have been created in 7 days, but it is impossible for your new sales consultant to fully grasp the car business in one short week. Instead of overpowering a new sales consultant by dumping a wealth of information in one fatal sitting, try funneling your information into them. When a child is learning how to read and write, teachers are masters at funneling enough information to expand a child’s knowledge base but are careful not to pour too much and overwhelm and inhibit a child’s progress. In short, effective teachers train with a funnel and not a hose.

  • ABC’s: The elementary fundamentals to a child’s ability to read and write begin with learning each letter of the alphabet.  To aid in a child’s learning, teachers link each letter of the alphabet with an image. Children then begin to associate a letter with a specific image (ex: A is for Apple). As a child progresses, letters are strung into one syllable words. The beginning building blocks to a new sales consultant is his approach to the business. Olympic huddlers are more concerned with how they start versus how they finish because they understand with the right approach the desired results will ensue. A new salesperson must approach the business much the same way; when you approach the business with the discipline to study your craft-giving no thought initially to time, a positive attitude, and professional attire-all matched with an inner toughness, you will be on the fast track toward building your pyramid of success. Much like your chemistry teacher, the car business is brutally tough- you cannot cram for success; what you sow you will reap.
  • Sound off: Once a child is able to enunciate each letter of the alphabet and begins to construct letters into recognizable words, he then is able to construct words into simple sentences. In sales, your simple sentences are your processes. Every dealership has an 8 to 10 step Road to the Sale. A sales consultant, from novice to veteran, is taught a step- by- step process for outlining everything from how to properly approach a customer, to closing and following up after the sale. Just as a roadmap or navigation system can aid a driver in arriving at a specific destination, so too does a dealership’s step- by- step program lead a sales person through a sale on a consistent basis.  Maps are designed to be followed consistently in order to shorten the trip and make a sale. Make a wrong turn and the trip (sale) will take longer. The Road to the Sale is similar to inputting the right combination into a lock. When the right sequence of numbers is imputed, the lock is opened. Under times of duress, salespeople tend to deviate from their proven processes and are guilty of insanely trying different combinations out of desperation to make a sale. If there are 10,000 possibilities in a 4 place combination lock, how many variations of your Road to the Sale do you use? Athletes, chefs, pilots, as well as great salespeople are consistently devoted to proven processes.
  • Mix it up: As a child’s vocabulary and sentence structure matures, he can then concentrate on developing more complex sentences marked with proper punctuation.  As a salesperson refines his skills and becomes more acclimated with customers, he then can begin to pepper the complexity of structuring his sales processes with 3rd party reviews, factual knowledge of the distinct advantages his product has over his competitors’, as well as share real world success stories of clients who bought a similar product have had. No sentence is complete without proper punctuation. As the Iron Chef of the blacktop, a maturing salesperson begins to mix the right punctuation with the right circumstances. Periods close the sale by delivering a poignant delivery unworthy of a customer’s challenge; commas are instituted as a means of pausing and allowing the gravity of a thought to sink into a customer’s mind; exclamation points create the hype of excitement needed to stir up a customer’s emotions; semicolons are carefully placed to pause and introduce a new thought or idea-sometimes as a means to put a customer more at ease. In short, a salesperson’s techniques are infused with his personality and experience.

The Bible advises leaders to “train up a child in the way that he should go, and as he grows old, he will not depart from it.” Sadly, great potential is departing from the automotive industry not because of a lack of opportunity, but because of illiteracy. In an effort to fill a sales roster, salespeople are rushed onto the sales floor and left to copy and mimic bad habits and techniques of others, thereby receiving poor results and stunting their potential for growth. When the seed of a Chinese Bamboo Tree is planted, nothing can be seen for 4 years. On the 5th year, the tree’s tiny shoot blossoms into an 80-foot tall tree. The tree didn’t suddenly decide to grow 5 years later, but instead, because of the caring and nurturing it was receiving, its foundation, its roots, was able to develop and provide a base strong enough to support its future magnificent stature. Your future depends on what you plant and nurture. I’ll see you next time on the blacktop.

Published in May’s edition of AutoSuccess Magazine

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