A Just In Time Auto Sales Tip

What are you looking for in an auto sales career?

For most of us, the answer is something like financial security, retirement, putting the kids through school, a better life, or time to enjoy life.

My profession is auto sales. As I write this, we’ve just gone through a torrent of rain. You could literally say buckets and buckets. There were very few Ups or walk-in prospects.

For some car salespeople, when there are no Ups, life is stressful. In fact, a few days of no car sales could spell disaster.

Is that you?

Hey, it’s okay. At one point I was there. When lot traffic was down it meant a very small voucher or commission check. And, if the dry spell continued for a few weeks, life at home was stressful!

That was before I met Dan.

What Changed

Here’s what changed all of that.

I met a RV salesman who never seemed to miss a day without a prospect or two.

In fact, regardless of the weather, the economy, or even after being away on vacation, Dan had deals on the board, appointments scheduled, and people coming to see him.

I wondered why he always had something on the go in an industry with a lot fewer prospective buyers than there are in auto sales.

As I thought about it, I actually got a sinking feeling in my gut. It was the realization that while I was standing around, “Dan Dan The Trailer Man” was in his office doing;…

… Well what he was doing was what he did every day. Unless there was someone in the chair in front-of-him, or he was on the lot, he was

  1. working his sold list,
  2. following-up with prospects,
  3. going through the classifieds.

He was doing all the stuff that didn’t fit the agenda of the guys and gals in the huddle.

By-the-way, if you are not familiar with the huddle, that’s great. Stay away from it.

In auto sales, a huddle is two or more salespeople standing in a corner or on the lot bitching about the weather, the economy, not enough advertising, not enough vehicles, too many vehicles of the same model, too many vehicles of the same color, too many trucks, not enough SUVs, too many four doors, too few four doors, and on and on and on.

I know about the huddle. I was huddle chairman at one point – not something to be proud of.

Everyone Needs A Dan

You’ve probably heard the saying “Sick and tired of being sick and tired“, well that was me. I was fed up. Nothing seemed to be working. And the huddle was draining me.

Like most guys it takes a bit, actually a lot, of humility to ask for help. Dan was someone who modelled what an effective salesman would be like. I popped by for a chat and asked, “How do you do it?

Here’s what he told me. Ten words…

1. Have a system.

2. Work it every day.

3. Value your time.

The first two I figured I understood from the get-go. But the third one, “Value your time”, it didn’t quit sink in.

Value Your Time

When I met Dan I had been selling cars for awhile, so I believed I knew what it was all about, the system that is. And I knew you had to follow it. But I had never placed any emphasis on my time.

At first I did what I suspect a lot of salespeople would do. I decided to figure out just what my time was worth. Dan said “Value your time.

So I took what I made the previous year and divided it by the number of hours I was at the Dealership. That gave me a value per working hour.

But then I thought, what about when I am not selling cars, is my time not valuable then?

So I took my annual earnings and divided it by the total number of hours in a year.

Wow. My time is not worth very much, I thought.

Okay the great news is I can change that. I can sell more. That will increase the value of my time.

Wrong – So Very Wrong

That’s the time trap I fell into.

I started working more hours. By working longer, I sold more cars, which increased the dollar value of my time.

But for what?

While I was so focused on getting more sales, things at home drifted to an all time low.

What’s up with this, I thought. I’m coining it and now my home life is in the pits.

Once again the light went on. Okay, I am a slow learner.

Like a lot of people I had the formula wrong. I was looking at the word “Value” as something you could put a price tag on and “Time” as the commodity or product. The math worked… sell more vehicles, get more commissions, my value goes up.

How dumb I was.

You cannot put a dollar value on time. Time is not a commodity, a product like a toaster. You can’t simply toss it and get another or upgrade it.

Nor can you increase the value of time by working longer hours. Your annual income may go up but your quality of life goes down.

Not A Auto Sales Formula – A Prescription

What Dan gave me was not a formula but a prescription. He saw I was sick. Being sick and tired of being sick and tired wears on you and it shows.

He wasn’t just helping me to sell more, he was telling me how to get better – better at work, better at home, better all around.

Great teaching from a quality guy. Thanks Dan.