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5 ways to better manage your team

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5 ways to better manage your team

Last month, I challenged you, the owner or manager, to build the foundation of a sales culture. This environment requires change and having the right people in the right places.

A “SalesMinded” culture is never easy to establish or maintain, but it does have simple pieces that create huge dividends if they are employed. A mentor once told me, “If sales people did everything they were supposed to do, sales management would not be needed.” Conclusion: It’s needed because they don’t.

To complement this challenge, today’s focus is on how you, the leader, can grow and manage your dealer team to be skilled, confident and attentive to generate more sales. We’ll confine today’s discussion to five key strategies essential for sales success.

1. You get what you expect. Expectations (the level of results desired) are self-fulfilling. If you expect great things from yourself and your dealer sales team at the counter, in the showroom, in the service bay, and on the phone, you’ll get great results. If you don’t expect a lot or don’t make your expectations known, you’ll get just that, not a lot.

I have a client who has begun his weekly staff meetings by going around the room and asking each employee, “Do we expect to be the best, and what will we do this week to achieve that?” The net result was his team began opening up with fresh new ideas on how to sell more tires and offer new services to each customer. Those ideas are now daily habits that are increasing sales.

2. You must demand action, not intention. If you promise a shipment of truck tires to a retailer from your wholesale facility, I promise you, that customer doesn’t care anything about your intentions to ship the tires. The only thing that matters is that the shipment arrives on time as expected.

History is full of businesses and individuals who intended to do great things but didn’t take any action. No action, no results — it’s the law of cause and effect.

Your language as a leader should be laced with, “What action is needed right now to solve this problem?” The problem could be with a customer, but it could also be with an employee (attitude, work habits, timeliness, appearance, etc.). Don’t rely on good intentions. Develop employees into doers!

3. You should keep the work simple: strategy, structure, skills. Ask your team members daily about these three things and have them share the questions and answers with their respective staffs (see sidebar).

4. You can’t do it all yourself. Leaders/managers create a trap for themselves. It’s based on an old adage, “If you want something done right, do it yourself.” Trash that now and replace it with, “If you want something done right, teach someone else to do it better than you can.”

[PAGEBREAK]I have seen more growth in my dealer clients in this area than probably any other. A couple months ago, I can remember a location manager telling us all in a training meeting, “I used to do the inventory reconciliations myself, but just decided to let Tom do it one time. I showed him how, and now he does it faster than I do!” The net effect is that the lead manager now has more time to move on to other things — and Tom was excited about his new role and growth.

5. You have to measure and hold your team accountable. Holding employees accountable is crucial to sales success. If you have a customer retention program, a sales training skills process underway, or key decisions that need to be made by people on your team, put those plans in writing and have planned follow-ups with them to makes sure these action items are done. Then have your team take ownership of the tasks (do the most important ones first). You must cultivate a culture where they are held accountable. That simply means, “Did the task get done with the highest degree of service, on time, in a profitable way, and to the customer’s or our company’s satisfaction?”

The take-away for you from this whole discussion is this: Don’t let your sales results happen by accident. Take concrete actions each day as a leader to make sure all your staff is focused on the selling and leadership effort with desire, skill and good use of time. 

How to keep it simple: Focus on strategy, structure and skills

One of the five key strategies essential for sales success is to “keep the work simple,” according to Doug Trenary, author of “The SalesMind.” He suggests focusing on “strategy, structure and skills” every day by asking your team the following questions.

1. Strategy. “Is this a strategy (plan) we need to form or shape? Do we need to write down our plans? What adjustments to get more done are needed in the service department?”

2. Structure. “Is what we need to work on at our stores something that is a structure (process, something tangible, system, etc.)? What do we need to clean up, organize, or redo to operate more efficiently and save time and money?”

3. Skills. “Is what we need to work on a skill (getting something done faster, smoother and with more impact)? Do we need to communicate more clearly our sales efforts and promotions? Do we need to ask each customer to buy today in a pleasant (not pushy) manner?”

For more information on Doug Trenary’s results-getting work, send an e-mail to, visit, or call (404) 262-3339.

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