Traditional sales models don’t work. They’re often too conceptual to guide any level of salesperson to a successful sale. They are also as deficient as a moped competing in an NHRA event when it comes to managing the sales process. E.g. "Show me this rapport you’ve established with your customer." What’s the answer? Performance-Based Selling. This is a method of motorcycle sales which focuses on results and milestones, constantly moving your salespeople and your customers to the next agreement in your process.
Step 1: Get Contact Information: Name, Number and E-mail address. Not a particularly earth-shattering notion you say? Wanna bet? Right now you have salespeople speaking with prospects and not capturing this information, and yet they have the audacity to say, "I can’t understand why we’re not selling more!" Notice this result takes the ambiguous step of approaching, establishing rapport or some other "relationship" step in a typical sales model and turns it into a concrete result. Additionally, if a person is willing to give you their contact information, they have found you at the very least tolerable and at best; hey, they might even like you. Here’s the point of this concept: It takes the "rapport step" and makes it subservient to the performance-based result of getting full contact information.
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Performance Based Selling
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This performance-based milestone doesn’t have to happen when the customer is standing on the showroom floor of your dealership, you can also get this info over the phone or when you are outside of the dealership.
Now as a manager, I’m not wallowing around in ambiguity while my salespeople tell me they are establishing rapport with potential customers. You can ask your crew for concrete results inspecting what you expect. Additionally, and this is crucial to sales success, you’ve not only gotten information enabling you to make the person feel welcome and to stay in touch, but you’ve gotten your first "yes" in the relationship. "Yes I will share my information with you." This is a huge piece of the puzzle. The scientific psychological evidence is very clear; People are more willing to take you up on larger requests, if they’ve said yes to smaller requests first.
Step 2: Capture Background Information: When is the customer planning on buying? What aspects of a motorcycle interest them? Where else have they received information? These are pretty much the basics of your prospect’s background information. Either in your dealership management program, special prospect database, spreadsheet or even just a notebook you need to have a prospect listing that includes both contact and background information such as:
- Looking to buy in approximately the next 12 months
- Really likes the chopper look
- Reviewed www.choppers.com and visited Big Dan’s Chopper World and the other two franchised dealerships in town
Now as a salesperson I know when, what and with whom I’m potentially competing. You should be familiar with motorcycle websites and forums, and you should be familiar with all local motorcycle retailers. And no, I don’t mean knowing of them, I mean having visited them and being familiar with their operations.
What the milestone is not:
- Looking to buy a bike sometime
- Kind of likes motorcycles
- Has researched everywhere
As a manager if you get a salesperson giving you an update like this, send them back to the drawing board. Salespeople don’t bring you updates? Go get them. Review sales logs, prospect notes and other progress indicators frequently.
Step 3: The Missing Link: Okay this is a crucial, important and really unique step … but you aren’t going to learn it here. Visit www.PeakDealershipPerformance.com and watch the video.
Step 4: Send A Digital Picture Within 48 hours: Yep, you’ll need a digital camera and the customer’s e-mail address (see how important that is?), but this step realizes some terrific sales performance. It means your customer likes you enough to let you spend some time with them. You’ve been able to have intelligent conversations about product and narrowed in on something which interests them. You’ve asked (and the customer has agreed) to at least sit on a motorcycle and be photographed.
What the milestone is:
- A digital picture of the customer on a motorcycle of interest sent to the customer’s e-mail address with a nice statement like, "Here you are looking great!" Include the couple of steps required so that they can turn the image into their computer desktop.
This is crucial to sales success for two reasons. First, the psychological phenomenon known as transference. When someone sits on a motorcycle they are really taking mental ownership. They can "see" themselves owning the item. The digital picture enables them to relive and reinforce this feeling. Plus they can now show it to friends which adds an additional socially compelling ownership aspect. The 48-hour part can be adjusted to 24 or 72 hours whichever works for you. Please keep in mind sales opportunities aren’t like wine they don’t get better with age.
What the performance-based step is not:
- A fuzzy cell phone picture of customer on any old bike, with no other message from you that sits on your phone for weeks finally getting sent only when your phone storage is full.
As a sales manager you should frequently review your staff’s e-mail outboxes with them confirming digital pictures and appropriate messages are being sent.
Step 5: Regularly Send Valuable Follow Up Information: As a salesperson you need to separate yourself from the pack. How can you do this? Deliver out-of-this-world value. On a regular (but not annoyingly frequent) basis you should send items of interest like an article, brochure or anecdotal information that the customer may find valuable. It may be relevant to the motorcycle purchase or something personal like their interest in sports or family. This enables you to stay in touch, keeps you in mind and is dramatically much more effective than mass mailings done by the dealership.
What it is:
- Hey Bob, thought you’d like to see this article that talks about the bike you were looking at. Seems like a positive review!
- Hey Bob, here’s some information about the destination for the ride we were talking about.
- Hey Bob, I know you’re a football fan, thought you’d be interested to see this article on your team’s program.
Notice how these communications should primarily be about business related stuff but can certainly on occasion drift in to personal stuff like sports or hobbies.
What it isn’t:
- Hey Bob, Wanna buy it?
- Hey Bob, Wanna buy it?
- Hey Bob, Wanna buy it?
The former will get you business. The latter might get you punched.
Step 6: Complete A Test Ride Feedback Form: If you don’t give test rides, you must see your way through the obstacles to offering them. Customers will be able to make better purchase decisions and you will sell more motorcycles. After the test ride you should sit down with your prospect and complete a feedback form. The form should of course include the basics, like customers name, model ridden, which route you took and the riding conditions that day.
The form should include:
- What were the specific performance aspects that impressed you?
- What were the ergonomics of the motorcycle that you liked?
- What were the style aspects of the bike you found appealing?
Notice we are asking for positive feedback about the experience. This is a novel approach to sales … talk about what’s good!
This is a formalized process, not an informal, "Yo, Bob how was it? Good? Cool. Throw the keys on the desk, we’ll see you soon."
With successful completion of this step there will be a completed test ride feedback form on file for this customer, proving our performance.
Step 7: Attempt A Trial Close: A trial close asks for an opinion. A close asks for the commitment. Commitments can be threatening (fellas?) but everyone has an opinion, and they’re typically willing to share them. A great place to casually throw in, "So what do you think?" is after a successful test ride evaluation.
If the customer hesitates, then you have more work to do. You either didn’t show the right product or present a compelling enough case. So it’s back to work for you.
On the other hand, if you say, "what do you think?’ And the customer says, "I really like it." You’ve just been given permission to go ahead and ask for the business.
Step 8: Secret Step: Okay, I hate to do this again, but here’s another "secret" to the process. this is a closing idea so powerful that most customers will be unable to say no to this approach. So go to www.PeakDealershipPerformance.com and check out the video for the full explanation.
Step 9: Get Referrals And Testimonials: We all know we should get referrals and testimonials and no, you shouldn’t leave it to some third party call center from the Cayman Islands to do it for you; you should look your customer in the eye and ask. Timing is essential; you should do it before the customer takes off on their new motorcycle.
What the performance is:
- Our new customer Eddie Van Hagar has suggested we contact Sammy Anthony (555) 555-5555 and Alex Wolfgang (222) 222-2222 and invite them down to tour the dealership. He said we could use his name.
- Our new customer Robert Page has said he enjoyed his sales experience so much that he is going to write a testimonial letter we can show others. He’s committed to send it in by the end of the week.
What it isn’t:
- Our new customer Eddie something or other said he might possibly know a few people who could want to ride. He said he’d get back to us sometime soon.
- Our new customer Robert Page said he liked his experience and thought he might be able to send us something sometime.
When customers have a great experience with you they want to tell others. Help them.
Step 10: Continually impress your customers: Many sales models talk about maintaining contact or staying in touch. All fine well and good, but not necessarily what you need if you’re going to create peak dealership performance. What do you need to do? Continually impress your customer. Remember their name, make them feel welcome, keep sending follow up info even after they’ve purchased, ask about family, friends or other interests. Have them be so impressed with your performance that they return to buy more and send their friends to you as well. That’s all the evidence you’ll need.
The idea behind Performance-Based Selling is that it is results oriented. No one buys a drill because they need a drill …they buy a drill because they need a hole.
Milestones are the best way to evaluate progress. When you identify observable milestones in your sales process, you can easily recognize when you’ve reached them and move on to the next "yes" in your sales process. This is essential to close business, manage the process and dramatically reduces sales cycle time.
Customize this process. For it to work it’s got to be yours! We gave examples. If you like them, use them, perfect them. That’s what it is all about. Or create your own. Whatever you add should, as much as possible, culminate in an observable result not an intangible concept.