Motivation, Suppression, and Maintaining Control
To be sure, I fully supported and recognized the efforts of my sales staff. Been there and done that. Plenty of pairs of shoes were worn out obtaining an understanding of the challenges they regularly face. Having said that, I also recognize that salespeople (of which we are all) are motivated by one of two things: “hope for gain” and “fear of loss”. Call it optimism and pessimism, if you like.
We have all seen these principles in action, the “green-pea” who leads the board, his or her first month or two. Not knowing any differently, they greet each guest with enthusiasm, expecting they will meet their needs.
Inadvertently, however, they almost always end up getting “smart”, be it the result of peer influence, disappointment, or whatever. Productivity plummets and they are now motivated by “fear of loss”. They have become experts who pre-qualify each guest as soon as they step out of their old vehicle.
Us “experts” in the Business Office are not immune to these same influencers. We pre-qualify our deals each time we ask our Salespeople, “what have you got?” when they bring us a deal. And we shouldn’t be surprised to hear, “they’re in a big hurry, they don’t have much time, we need to pay off their old car that they’re totally upside-down in, get them an unobtainable low interest rate for an unobtainable long term, and they say they have bad credit. Their kid has the flu and just puked in my office…oh, and they said they don’t want any of that stuff you’re going to try to sell them!”
I hear these exchanges ALL the time. How’s your attitude now, Mr. or Ms. Business Manager?
Suppression is defined as the act of keeping something from happening. For example, a certain political party may suppress voter turn-out by constantly drumming the idea that the race is already over using potentially flawed polling numbers with the help of a complicit media. You get the point…like Elvis, your optimistic expectations for this next deal have just left the building.
Perhaps instead we could skip the drama and maintain our “hope for gain” by conducting our own customer interview and completing a guest profile. I cover this in detail (here…)
And when we do encounter Mr. I’m In A Hurry (once we have finished covering our menu header) who says, “you can save your breath, I’m not buying any of that stuff”…once again, it’s decision time…his show or yours? You can shut-down and say, “sign here that you forfeit all options” or you can teach him that, “Mr. Creosote, I appreciate you giving me the opportunity to save both of us some time. Unfortunately, for compliance reasons I have to cover this. I tell you what…I’ll give you the Reader’s Digest version.” You then proceed with a slightly abbreviated review of your menu.
Your guests will take advantage of a benefit you are offering approximately 25 percent of the time, proceeding in this fashion. This sure beats the 100 percent certainty that they’ll be less happy with their ownership experience when they have to reach for their wallet to pay for their own, otherwise covered repairs!
Give it a try.
Good luck and good selling!
F&I Performance Coach at Conley Insurance Group