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.)