“I just don’t have the right personality for this,” I sighed. “I’m really good at working with people just like me, but when it comes to selling cars to people who aren’t like me at all … well, I’m just not sure I can master those skills.”
I have been watching my mentor sell one car after another to happy customers at the auto brokerage where I work and contemplating my work during the stormy sea that was 2020. I take after Eeyore in some ways and had come to the particularly gloomy conclusion that I would not be able to learn to do what he does.
“It’s not you, Bonnie,” he responded. “I’ve been doing this for 23 years! I make it look easy, but that’s only after years of practicing and making mistakes. It takes time.”
The Many Limbs of Sales
My job as an auto broker has many parts.
- Where do I begin to talk about sales? It seems like magic to me. Famous people like Grant Cardone and Jeffrey Gitomer have written millions of words about the art of sales. It’s evolved considerably since the example set by The Music Man and I understand perfectly when I do sales training. But how does it work when an actual client shows up in the office? That’s the mystery.
- Follow up
- Follow up isn’t hard to do. You know what’s hard? Finding the time to follow up with hundreds of people in a personal way!
In theory, mastering sales should be as simple as doing these things over and over again. However, in practice it’s more like a juggling act.
Juggling, Act 2
And guess what! There is more juggling!
“It’s like this,” my mentor explained, getting up to dance. “Think of it as if you were drawing a circle around the client. That’s the connection you’ve built and everyone likes that, but every so often you have to step out of the circle to get some work done.”
He began to demonstrate.
Stepping into the circle he said, “Hey, how are your kids doing?”
Stepping out he said, “I’ll need a copy of your driver’s license and insurance card.”
Stepping in again he said, “You’re going to love this truck. There is room in the back for your dogs.”
And then he stepped out again, “I’ll need a $250 deposit to start looking for your vehicle.”
I’m calling this The Hokey Pokey Dance of Sales.
Shall We Dance?
This dance is the next frontier for me. Nothing about the ethics of how we do business has changed and let me assure you we’re not trying to manipulate anyone into buying a car from us. We want to be stay friends with the people who come in, whether they buy from us or not.
No, what this is about is taking responsibility for my role in helping clients find cars. My job is to help you get the vehicle you want and feel happy about it after the papers are signed. I have to work to make sure we meet that goal.
So don’t be surprised if I’m wearing dancing shoes when you come in.