Posts Tagged ‘automotive sales training’

When Dr. Howard Thurman- philosopher, educator, minister, & mentor to Martin Luther King & Mahatma Gandhi, took his young children back to his hometown of Daytona Beach, his girls saw a nearby playground and asked to go swing. “You can’t swing on those swings,” said Thurman.

He promised them that he would explain more once they got home…Dr. Thurman had to buy some time because he was at a crossroads- a moment that I’m sure every black parent faced during those times (& still in some respects today)…

….how do you tell your children they can’t play on a “White’s only” playground.

Later he sat his girls down and told them that they were important…so important in fact that they couldn’t swing on those “public swings,” because the “public”only consisted of white children. He said, “You’re so important that it takes the state legislature, courts, sheriffs, white churches, bankers, & businesses-it takes the majority of the white people in Florida to keep 2 little black girls from swinging on those swings.”

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Dr. Thurman reframed the racial inequality he and his family were facing. He reframed the hatred and racism and made it a bridge instead of a barrier. He calibrated his daughters to-yes, see the injustice for what it is, but encouraged them to keep on going- to not let someone else’s opinions, narrow-mindedness, and blatant ignorance be the force of limitation for their lives.

Yes… there will be opposition, but maybe you’re facing opposition because what you are doing is of such magnitude- of such great importance, that those who oppose you are so fearful of you reaching your pinnacle, that they’ll stop at almost nothing to see you not succeed.

Importance is not some, Life’s good…I have no problems…kind of seance- no, Importance is recognizing the significance & impact that you are making and not letting up, giving in, throwing the towel, nor raising the flag.

It’s passages like this that remind me that I need to tell my children how important they are- not just to me, but to the whole world. My son is going through his first love breakup and while it’s incredibly painful to watch, I have to sit on the foot of his bed, rub his back, and remind him that maybe his boo can’t handle all of his awesomeness. His importance is irrelevant to the opinions of others.

We’ve got to remind salespeople, coworkers, & family members that some wrinkles in time are due to the fact that Life chose you…not because you’re weak, but because you are strong… Life deemed you worthy to enough-competent enough to fight this war you’re in. Not everyone can handle it…. but you can.

Whatever you face today, never underestimate your importance. The greater the opposition the greater your importance.

….Keep going.

I’ll see you on the Blacktop.

This weekend is absolutely gorgeous- cool temperatures & blue skies…days like this call for a good chicken & sausage gumbo. As I was leaving to run some errands, I saw a guy wiping down his car. Two hours later, he was still out there wiping down his car. He was meticulous about everything- he even wiped the wheel wells, & the trunk and engine compartment- he spent hours to make sure his car was on point.

What I found interesting is he was such a perfectionist on his car, but when it came to his well being, he was not. With chammy in hand, he had a cigarette dangling out of his mouth, 22 oz. Bud off to the side, & his pot belly was an indication he hadn’t worked out in years- if ever at all.

My question is this…what if he was just as concerned-hell, what if he treated himself half as good as his sports car? If he did, I’d venture to say he’d probably be around longer to enjoy it.

To show the world we’ve made it- that we’re “successful,” we’ll give our health up in the process. Marketers know this…they’re constantly hurling messages at us to wear this, drink that, & drive this one, and we fall right into their bait. We’ll sleep and work out less, work longer hours, extra shifts, swipe a few extra times to impress people we don’t even like.

Treat yourself better than the things you want to buy. Don’t treat your well being like a clearance item- foregoing tomorrow’s security for today’s insatiability.

There’s nothing wrong with having nice things, but at the risk of losing yourself emotionally, physically, and financially, ain’t worth it. Just go to a garage sale- look in your attic, closet, garage, and storage units at all the crap you “had to have.” When dissolving my marriage, I had to do a detailed descriptive list of all of the valuables in my home…by the time it was all said and done, thousands of dollars and years of finance charges, those “valuables” wouldn’t even equal a full month’s paycheck.

You’re already a millionaire. Scientists have noted that if they put a price tag on all of your key body parts it would be valued at over $10 million. Sports franchises know this- why do you think they have the best equipment and dietitians? You damn right they’re going to protect and nurture their multi-million dollar investments.

There are some areas of your health, once taken too far, no amount of money will buy it back. Taking care of yourself is cheap- compared to stints, surgeries, rehab, and big and tall sizes. I know a portly guy who spends $300 for each dress shirt- his flesh only touches the fine labels…me? Man I’ll rock a $30 dress shirt with a $10 bow tie and swag it out. I can pull it off because I work my ass off to look & feel better- and because of the investment in myself, I carry myself with more confidence on the cheap cheap.

Your greatest expense should be on the greatest brand ever created…

Brand You.

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I remember defensively saying on the playground, “Stick and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me!”

Well…that’s a lie!

We can recover from the accidental sprains, tears, and breaks, but someone’s negative words toward you seem unrecoverable. Ill spoken words stain the soul- they kill your hopes, dreams, and lofty ambitions.

I’ve had loved ones, family members, and so-called “friends,” say things to me that recounting even decades later, my body’s physiology changes-altering to a perceived reality, my heart pounds, blood pressure rises, and cold sweats break out.

Whether un or intentional, we’ve all had someone mentally tear us down. They told you that you can’t make it, that you won’t achieve it, that it’s impossible, that you’re too short, too fat, too dumb, too black- that you’re from the wrong side of town and you’re just like your daddy – someone, somewhere, sometime along the way spoke those ill fated words and tried to limit you…

…one day you began to believe those words. You got tired- you grew weary and those words delivered a blow that knocked you down to life’s canvas.

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It’s hard to get up – Adversity hits you six times to your one flailing punch. It takes six positive statements to counter that one negative comment and that’s just 1…God knows I’ve had more than one negative Molotov cocktail hurled at me. And words are sneaky, one minute you’re slapping the ignorance aside and the next minute those words take its toll- like dryer sheets, those hurtful words begin to cling to your psyche and weigh you down. Battered and weary, you fall in line retorting to others when asked, Oh, I’m just hangin’ in there!

Here’s what is the truth…I believe in you….you’re a work in progress, not regress…you’re a priceless original…you’re equipped with everything you need to be successful…you can-you must…you didn’t come this far just to come this far….

There’s your 6…your six positive comments to start your day. Now while you’re dropping a load of negativity, drop the guilt, shame, & regret too. There are things I wish I would’ve done differently as a man, father, & husband- things I’m ashamed and embarrassed of but I can’t…I can’t go back and change those days, but I can change my approach to the days to come. The only thing useful about the past are the lessons I’ve learned.

There are words people spoke into your life that you can’t seem to shake….letting go is a process…it’s released through action not hollowed words. Whatever’s holding you back, chances are it’s built by others and enforced by you.You are the one holding you back, not others. Others may have said it, but it’s up to you if you choose to believe it.  Their belief doesn’t have to be your truth. Surround yourself with the right people pulling in the same direction as you…educate and empower new beliefs by immersing yourself in tons of free blogs, books, videos, & podcasts out there. Don’t waste your currency of time buying off on other’s bullshit beliefs.

You can’t take back words nor time…but you can choose what you receive and how you invest it.

I’ll see you on the Blacktop!

alone on deck

Showing up today matters.
It matters that you show up on time for work.
It matters-even if it’s 2 words or 2 sentences- that you find something worth writing down today that will help shape you into becoming better than you  were before you captured it.
It matters how quick and how many customers you are willing to get in front of today.
It matters that you are brave enough to pick up the phone and risk hearing a customer reject you instead of hiding behind a text message.
It matters that you ask your customer optimistic building questions instead of pessimistic, narrowing ones.
It matters that your customers demo the vehicle.
It matters that you write your customers up.
It matters that you persistently press forward beyond the 1rst, third, and 4th No.
It matters that you turn your customers over to let a fresh face help you.
It matters that you follow through after the sale-you not only need your clients to make your month, you need them to make your career.
It matters that you remain walking with your customers during the frustrating moments-the moments when the warranty they paid $2500 for won’t cover the repair.
It matters that you follow up and stay in touch with your customers’ lives not their wallets.
It matters that you help others regardless of what’s in it for you.
It matters that you’re willing to be a student of your profession.
You showing up today matters because everything you do (or don’t do) is significant to the outcome of your day, month, year, career, and your life.
(Yes, your life.)
What you do matters, but the emphasis of those matters have the wrong meaning.
When a customer hangs up on you…
When a customer won’t get out of the car and give you a chance to help them…
When a customer gets annoyed because you can’t tell them a price or tell them what their trade is worth in the first 30 seconds of meeting them….
When a customer won’t demo…
When a customer refuses to come inside “for your business card”…
When a customer  jumps across the street and buys from your competitor because you didn’t turn them over…
When a customer goes off on you because you dropped the ball while their car was in service…
When a customer won’t return your phone calls…
When a customer gets cold feet after agreeing to buy…
Failing matters, but it doesn’t give a meaning to what you are worth.
The ill moments-the moments when you screwed up, blew up, got yelled at, or were left standing alone should be tied to matters of the day not meanings of your heart.  What you do has to matter-showing up today, facing the giants in your life, has to be worth it…if it’s not worth it, don’t show up. Pivot and find something worth showing up for. What you do today has got to be so significant- so important to you, that the implications of what you do is higher than the outcome that it may produce. 
The outcomes only define how well you did something- they don’t define who you are or what you’re worth.  
Rejection is a lesson in self-education not self-worth. Use the losses, defeats, setbacks, and almosts as education not excuses. While circumstances are the banality of most, you forge ahead, working and reworking today’s defeats into tomorrow’s victories.  Sure rejection hurts- we don’t like the sting of hearing NO and the stains that it internally leaves behind;  we don’t like the fact that we poured out two hours of our best efforts only to have our customer go down the road to save a few hundred bucks. Rejection hurts, but you must not let it kill you.
Rejection has matter not meaning- the significance of what you do and how you do it matters. How much you’re willing to give to that matter is what has meaning.
I’ll see you next time on the Blacktop.

 Thanks to the auto tune software, even the most mediocre artist can be transformed into a star. A producer can fix an artist by funneling their lackluster vocals through a program-match it with a great beat and catchy hook, and produce a #1 hit. Their true talents are discovered much later when they perform live sounding nothing like the Platinum-selling artist we shucked out 14 bucks for on iTunes. You don’t have that luxury.

There is no auto tune in sales- how you practice in your studio is how you perform live in front of your audience (i.e. your customer). If you can combine your vocals of truly connecting with your customers by becoming interested in them and their needs, create your unique beat by listening speaking, thinking, and acting positive at all times, lace it with a hook of great customer service before and after the sale, and then perform it live-you’ll have a chart topping career.

The best artists are those whose live performances sound better than their recordings. Who’s buying your album?

No one likes to wash clothes, take a bath (don’t laugh some people don’t), or pay bills, but we would all agree it’s a necessity in life. Although we may not enjoy the act, we enjoy the benefits it has to offer. We love the smell of putting on a fresh t-shirt in the morning; we feel reenergized after washing off the funk of a hard-fought day and enjoy the ability to walk in and buy goods just using our good name, but when it comes to investing (a.k.a. training) in our people, we are guilty of throwing the baby out with the bathwater. Each and every day we bathe in the murky waters of rejection and pay the high price of missed recitals, games, plays, and dinners with our families all in an effort to put a day, month, and year together. While turnover is a necessity of business, we don’t have to throw the inundations of the day’s business out with our most valuable assets—our people. Often we are so blinded with putting together a day, that our people are overlooked; orphaned on the blacktop, they are left to fend for themselves, trying to provide for their families all the while braving the shark invested waters of rejection. Mentally beaten, battered, and depleted of any self-confidence, they walk away from a profession that lured them in with promises of Up to’s and As much as. Imagine the amount of untapped talent that has forever walked away from our profession.

Experts agree that the first three years of a child’s life are the most critical. Similarly, in the sales profession, the first 90 days are critical to the survival of your sales babies. Interestingly enough, it’s never too late for the prodigal son or daughter to come back home; as you begin to climb the Everest mountain of training those new to sales, veterans of past training classes will look on with curiosity and come back home—reengaged in a profession they once loved.

Some sales managers are good at desking deals, some have the ability to motivate, others are proficient at policies and procedures, while the rest are good at teaching techniques and strategies, but it takes a village to raise a child and every manager should play his or her part in investing in the future of your people

  • Connect the dots: Babies are born with 100 billion cells, but not all of them are connected. In the first three years, these cells begin to form connections. Your people come in with a network of unconnected cells. Use their traits of lofty ambitions, outgoing personalities, and mental toughness to begin to connect the sales cells together. The best thing about new salespeople is their stupidity—they have no preconceived notions or formed opinions of how to sell. Like a baby, they are walking in with a clean canvas in which you as a leader have the responsibility to create your future masterpieces. Connect their sales (cells) together by using techniques such as how to properly set each month’s goals. Show them how to determine the number of Ups that are needed to reach their desired outcome, (i.e. 8 sales/20% closing ratio = 40 ups/23 working days = 1.7 per day) (Note: what new salespeople lack in skills must be made up in numbers), manage and track each day’s progress (i.e. tweak the minor adjustments of the day’s efforts to prevent the major shortfalls of having a bad month), how to actively prospect (vs. waiting for the Up Bus), ask for referrals, as well as how to develop themselves per-fessionally (Continuous personal and professional development). Great salespeople aren’t born—they’re developed.
  • Brainpower: Initially, a child’s brain is twice as active as an adult’s. Between the ages of nine and 10, their brains begin to slow down. As their career begins to mature, don’t let your people’s brains slow down. Unfortunately, there are many brain dead salespeople occupying showroom floors today because they are no longer challenged. Professional athletes don’t sharpen their skills by scrimmaging against the local Pop Warner league—instead they push themselves to new levels because they compete against two worthy opponents: themselves and the next man “up.” It is your job as a leader to provoke, push, and prod your sales athletes to not only surpass last month’s goals, but also create an air of positive paranoia. Apple and Microsoft don’t succeed on yesterday’s inventions; instead, they are constantly aware that if they are not continuously pushing to levels of new innovation, they will quickly become yesterday’s headlines. In a similar fashion, you as a leader have to foster an environment of creativity. No longer is it permissible to just pass the OEM’s standardized tests (didn’t work too well in the education system either) and label your team as certified; instead you must foretell the future and become adaptive to the rapidly changing landscape that is readily confronting your sales staff.
  • Use it or lose it: By the age of three, a child has 1000 trillion cells; because it is more than the child will ever need, the brain begins to prune the cells that are not being used or stimulated. Early experiences determine the health, education, and economic participation for the rest of a child’s life. As a leader, you must set the expectations, then prune the results. If you were to put a patch over a child’s eye, by the age of six he will forever lose his vision in that eye due to a lack of stimulation—however if an adult’s eye is patched, the lost vision is only temporary. Whether direct (one-on-one coaching) or indirect (sales meetings), stimulate the vision of your new recruits so when they encounter the temporary blindness of negative thoughts, actions, and setbacks, in a later season, their vision will soon become restored.
  • See Skip Go: Early on, an eight-month-old can see and be directed toward specific objects; by the age of three he has a vocabulary of 900 words. Due to a lack of knowledge, your sales babies will do exactly as they are directed, but as they “mature” in the growing weeks, they will begin to use negative enforced words. When they first hit the blacktop, the world was their looking glass. With no preformed prejudices or cynicism, they set out to sell the world, but as the rejections and negativity mounted, the glass soon became a mirror. They begin to mirror negative behaviors and reinforce those beliefs with a limited vocabulary of doubt and skepticism. Don’t let the speech of your people fall by the wayside; the Bible says that life and death come from the power of the tongue. What you allow your people to speak can bring life or death to their sales career. Too often as managers we profess to our salespeople to stay positive, yet when they bring a deal to the desk we vaporize their hopes by making fun of their customer’s expected payments, credit situation or equity status. It is your duty and obligation as a leader to stay positive and give your sales consultant’s customers options. If your people fought for over an hour in the sweltering sun to land and influence a customer to buy today, the least you can do as a leader is give them their options.

Statistics reveal that over one million children die each year from injuries that could have been prevented. The most common deaths are from accidental drownings and traffic injuries. While death is one of life’s certainties, it doesn’t have to be now, in your back yard, with your people. As the strains of life try to pull them under and as life and circumstances collide with one another, the greatest commission in life you could ever earn is by saving the lives of those who follow you. Put all of your resources in your most valuable assets—your future is in the gardens of your people. Throw out the water, but keep the baby. I’ll see you next time on the blacktop.

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The Halls of Fame and Shame both contain busts. Walking in one Hall are the collections of those who manifested what it means to sacrifice. Even though they were beaten, battered, and bruised, they kept showing up.  When the motivation and the newness wore off, they relied on the passion and discipline that was etched into their heart. Busts like these grew deaf and mute-they couldn’t hear what others said couldn’t be done; they refused to tell the world what they were going to do, instead they first decided to show it.  When others wrote them off, they rose each day to prove it-not to others, but more so to themselves.

The other Hall is much different. At one time they were a wild bronco chasing their potential and bucking off any challenge that came their way, but stiff competition and mounting pressures soon broke them-today they walk in acceptance-rationalizing their existence of mediocrity. They were guilty of reading today’s headlines-sitting back, they felt they’d finally arrived and ignored the realization that today’s banner will soon become yesterday’s news-the bottom rung on tomorrow’s ladder.

Success is not for sale, it can only be rented and the rent is due every day. Having talent is not enough-it’s what you do with that talent that determines your significance. You can either live a life full of failures or die with regrets. It’s what you are willing to give up, do without, make the best of, and try again that separates your bust from the busts.