Friday, February 28, 2014

Are the Salespeople at Your Dealership More Like Cats or Dogs?

Do you consider yourself a cat or a dog person? Or neither, because you have a severe pet dander allergy which causes you to break out in hives? No matter what type of pet you prefer, you may be surprised to know that the key to successfully training your dealership sales team is getting to know our feline and canine friends.

We realize this sounds a little strange. Allow us to explain.

If you observe your salespeople in their natural habitat, you'll notice that they have different personality types, motivations and work styles that are shockingly similar to those you would find in the average cat and dog. So when it comes to improving their performance, you can assume that you’ll have to tap into a variety of tactics (instead of expecting one to work effectively across the board).

Cats are independent.

Cat hiding in flowery lampshade watching a cockatiel

When an imaginative idea strikes a cat, such as playing tag with your cockatiel, they rarely consult you about it. Instead, they trust their gut instinct and figure out the solution for themselves. (Like why their friend suddenly fell asleep in the middle of the game.)

You might have some salespeople at your dealership with this catlike quality about them. They’re big-picture people who admire creative ideas and despise micromanagement. They won’t always follow your sales process or put notes in the CRM, but they get results.

How to motivate them: Keep things interesting and minimize manual processes as much as possible. (By the way, if you have reps who have trouble remembering to update the CRM, an inbound and outbound lead tracking solution that integrates with your CRM is a must-have.)

Present them with new challenges that are within the context of your goals. Repeatedly dismissing their ideas because they're off-target with your current objectives zaps motivation. Give feedback and reassurance that their creativity is valued.

Hound holding mail Dogs are faithful. 

Dogs, on the other hand, want to follow your instructions to a tee. They trust the familiar and are wary of the unknown. (Are you certain the mailman is not a skilled assassin?)

This type of salesperson is the problem solver on your team. They're detail-oriented and like to use their skills to accomplish clear-cut tasks. However, they won’t move on to the next deal until they perfectly implement the previous one.

How to motivate them: Keep it straightforward. Tell them exactly what changes you'd like to see and give them the opportunity to solve practical problems where they'll quickly see tangible results.

Cats want flexibility. 

Cat sleeping

Cats don’t keep a tight schedule. They work in bursts of energy. Napping all day conserves their strength for the big hunt that night. (That string on the stick has no idea what's coming.) They like to keep their options open, so they can be spontaneous or comatose, depending on their mood.

The flexible salesperson is unconventional. They'll work late hours, come in early and close more deals than anyone else on your team, but it has to be on their timing.

How to motivate them: Keep things flexible. If possible, allow them to set their own schedule so they can work at a time when they feel they will accomplish the most. Keep rewards performance based. This type of salesperson is highly self-motivated and hard working once they get started.

Dogs want structure.

I thought you were never ever ever ever coming home ever... so I panickedDogs find comfort in schedules. If you don’t arrive home on time, they’re concerned. If you promised to go on a walk, they expect you to follow through.

This type of salesperson loves to stick to their established routine. They know what works and they don’t like to deviate from it.

How to motivate them: Maintain structure in daily routines. These salespeople strive for perfection and consistency in a long-term position. But don’t expect them to adjust to new tasks outside of their comfort zone easily.

If a new protocol is coming, give them plenty of advance notice so they have time to prepare. Reward their hard work with promotions, challenges within their field of expertise and public awards.

Cats crave power.

Yawning cat

Cats don’t back down in a fight. If you want them off the kitchen table, you’ll have to throw them off every day for the rest of your life.

If you have this type of salesperson on your team, you can count on them to be assertive enough to share their controversial views with you and your prospects. They don't take no for an answer and will challenge a customer’s predetermined way of thinking to make a sale.

How to motivate them: Be reasonable. When you're changing your sales process, be prepared to answer tough questions from this type of salesperson. If there's a flaw in the way they're performing their job, you’ll need to present them with good reasons why they need to alter their process. Always listen to their feedback, reward them tangibly for their success and avoid micromanagement.

Dogs crave peace.

Dogs aim to please. They want to develop a strong relationship with you and make you happy at all costs. Something happened in the kitchen and... I love you so much This type of salesperson is the relationship builder on your team. They want what the customer wants and will bend over backwards to resolve tensions during a sale.

How to motivate them: Maintain harmony. When you give these types of salespeople feedback on their performance, use more kind words and less criticism. Tell them what they're doing well and let them know what they can do to make things run more smoothly at your dealership. They're motivated by your appreciation. Use that to help them succeed. Most importantly, remember that you need each of these types of salespeople on your team to make it successful. They all play a vital role in closing deals, though the way they go about it may differ from yours.

Now that you better understand your sales team, give them a little coaching to make sure everybody plays nicely together. (Need help? We've got a guy for that.)

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Would 'The Voice' Judges Turn Around for Your Phone Staff?

When prospects call, they can't see your facial expressions or body language, which can be pretty detrimental based on the fact that about 55 percent of communication comes from nonverbal cues. Thankfully, 38 percent of communication comes from vocal elements, such as tone of voice, inflection and emphasis.

When callers don't have any visual cues, they make assumptions about your company based on what your phone staff says and how they say it.

This is a similar concept to the hit TV show "The Voice," where four famous music artists have their backs to the stage as they judge aspiring musicians. It isn't until the judges are intrigued enough with singers' voices that they turn their chairs around to finally see what the singers look like (they call them blind auditions).

We've already talked about how to re-humanize your call center agents, so it's only fitting to follow up with a few extra tips about phone etiquette.

Slow Down the Tempo

If your phone staff is filled with multi-taskers, they may tend to sound rushed. The problem is, this impatience is obvious to callers. Slow down and focus your attention solely on the caller. Don't sound like a slow-motion video, but take time to think about what you're saying and how you're saying it. Make sure the caller hears the focus is on them. This small attention to detail can make a difference in how the caller perceives your company.

Keep It Professional

It's good to be relaxed when talking to your clients and prospects, but don't get too comfortable! Some people confuse being comfortable with being casual, and while we don't want you to sound too rehearsed, we also don't want you sounding too relaxed. You might come across uninterested or unintelligent. So remember, be cordial, professional and personable.

End on a High Note

Figuratively, not literally. The end of your call might be the last impression a caller has of your company for a while. Make sure to do something memorable (within reason; don't burst into song). End the call by thanking them for their time and repeating their name. Using their name shows that you were attentive during their call and that you care about them as an individual. You'll leave a strong positive impression, and they'll associate those positive feelings with your company. 

Make sure your staff is following your call handling guide by using call recording software to review conversations and identify mishandled calls.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

The Inside Scoop on NADA 2014 From Callbright

We're winding down from our biggest show of the year, NADA 2014, and boy, was it a great time! Our sales manager, Nick Odizor, agreed to share a few of his thoughts and experiences from the event.

"Once again, NADA was a success! Dealer enthusiasm was noticeably different," Odizor said. "Until recently, there was a systemic pulse within the auto industry: Dealers wouldn’t spend money on anything outside of a CRM, DMS or core solution. Unfortunately when times got tough, many dealers deemed call tracking providers unnecessary.

"Thankfully, at this year's show, they started to see the light."

Call tracking, combined with advanced telephony analytics, has allowed lean dealerships to gain valuable insight into how, where and when to allocate their ad dollars. Callbright specifically appeals to dealers because of our advanced integration with a myriad of CRM companies, which allows it to provide call statistics on both its website and the CRMs that dealers use daily.

"These benefits attracted many dealers to our booth," Odizor continued. "Some visitors were existing customers of Callbright, but some had never even heard of call tracking.

"Interest was up and enthusiasm was higher than previous years. Those who already knew the benefits of Callbright were ready to take the next step and delve deeper into our telephony offerings. The dealers who didn't have call tracking systems were eager to get caught up.

"Today dealers understand that the standard is set: Call tracking is essential. We hit it off with dealers who wanted an advanced solution that could offer a unique consumer experience, which is fantastic, because that’s precisely what we offer."

If you didn't make it to NADA but want to hear more about the benefits of call tracking, check out this post.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Quick Tips to Re-Humanize Your Call Center

We have this theory that a robot apocalypse is in the works. They've already started slowly replacing call center agents. Well, maybe not. But it sure sounds like it. Sometimes we hear call center employees who are so one with their script that they come across a bit robot-like.

A call handling guide, or at least a few tips, could be really useful if your call center agents are starting to sound mechanical.

Smile for the Camera — or Phone

Think back to your first days on the phone when you treated every call with a helpful tone and a smile, even though they couldn't see you. One of the simplest things you can do to sound more pleasant on the phone (despite the fact that it's now your millionth call) is smile. It might sound silly, but listen to your friends or coworkers next time they talk to you and try to notice the difference between a straight-faced tone of voice and a smiley-faced tone of voice. Here are a few other tips that can help improve your tone on a phone call.

Say My Name, Say My Name

Destiny's Child had the right idea; if you don't share your name, the caller won't feel as comfortable talking to you. Let the caller know you're a human simply by telling them who you are. It might sound obvious, but if you've taken hundreds of calls in the past month, you could easily forget to mention it. Sharing your name with a caller and asking for their name in return makes the call more personable and friendly, so you'll both feel more at ease during the conversation.

Use Your Manners

Remember all those times your parents and grandparents reminded you to say please and thank you? Well, we're going to back them up on that. When you're handling a phone call with a prospective client, politeness is key. If you're not polite on the phone, callers end up feeling neglected and associate negative feelings with your company. Keep in mind that 78 percent of consumers bail on intended purchases if they have a bad experience with a customer service rep. That's a lot of leads you could rescue just by saying a few pleasantries.

Put these tips to the test. If they work, consider permanently adding them to a full-length call handling guide.