Building Your Business

Have you made the commitment that automotive sales is your career choice? Unless you commit, it’s impossible that you will take the necessary steps to create the business you desire. Long-term thinking in addition to short-term goals are keys to continued success.When you first enter into a sales position, 80 percent of your time is spent acquiring customers and 20 percent of your time is spent maintaining those customers. Eventually, with the right efforts, that model should be reversed. Eighty percent of your time should be spent maintaining your customers and 20 percent to acquire new customers.You face a paradox of time management in building your business. The paradox is that you must work in the business and also work on the business. When you are face-to-face with customers you are working in the business but no matter how busy you are, you must find time each day to work on the business, as well. Working on the business includes marketing, prospecting, follow-up, networking, delegating, automating etc.Insurance sales people, real estate sales people and sales people from many industries continually think and act on building their business. However, in the auto industry the majority of sales people seem addicted walk-in traffic. Eliminating this addiction is the key to long-term success.Lead Generation = Dollar Creation. Begin to build multiple streams of leads by building a marketing web. List every way you presently acquire leads such as walk-ins, phone prospects, be-backs, referrals, repeat customers. Then begin to list new ways you could begin to acquire leads and how you can strengthen or add to your existing methods of generating leads.Do you presently have a software program for following and managing your leads? Not the dealerships program, your program? Don’t trust anybody or anything to manage your most important resource – your customers.Secondly, do you have a set follow up strategy? How often will you follow up? How will you follow up. What rewards will you give, and what special offers will you provide to bring them in for service? That creates the Law of Familiarity and Obligation leading to repeats and referrals.E-mail follow-up and marketing is essential. Automate your follow-up using technology. E-mail, Autoresponder e-mail and Sequential Autoresponder e-mail are all ways to follow-up and add value that can be done while you sleep or on vacation. Video e-mail and personalization are keys to making a connection, removing the impersonal nature of e-mail and adding the wow factor.All sales people need their own personal Web site. The site should include sign-up forms that collect e-mail addresses. The site should be personalized with your picture, family picture, your own personal story, rewards for visiting the site and helpful information for the customer. Your Web site should include an audio introduction link.Do your business cards look like 99 percent of others sales people’s business cards? Don’t use a picture of a car, use your picture or caricature. Business cards also need the sales person’s Web site, e-mail address and slogan. Put a call to action on your cards for the customer to come see you, call you or visit your Web site.Maximize traffic by creating a be-back CD. Create a CD that you give each customer who does not buy and invite them to play it on the way home. The CD should include information about you, your dealership and product that would benefit the customer. Include testimonials and a reward for the customer if they come see you.Create coupon swaps with businesses around you. Visit a local restaurant and offer to build their business on their worst traffic day of the week for free. You can build their business by creating a coupon with an offer they approve and then pass these coupons out at work from the cashier, receptionist, and all departments to every customer who enters your dealership. In return ask that the restaurant pass out coupons from you approved by the dealership with a special offer to come see you.Once you start the marketing web it will grow and take on a life of its own. Building a business first requires long-term thinking and a commitment to the industry as a career. When you commit, you have already created a business, only its shape is unfinished.