Professional Community for Automotive Marketers, Car Dealers, OEM and Suppliers
The 7 Habits of Largely Ineffective Salespeople
It is with my sincerest apologies to Stephen Covey that I write these words. As I review his book The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People and consider the simplicity of most of its contents my mind goes to the insanity of our industry. I trust you will receive this in the spirit in which it is intended.
The 7 Habits of Largely Ineffective Salespeople is a compilation of vast research and experience in the auto industry. If one focuses and applies the principles from these 7 habits I guarantee you will achieve the lifestyle of those who have perfected these enlightening steps. Specifically, if you long to be a 15 or 20 year sales representative that fights to sell 5 cars a month, is a chain smoker whose day starts whenever the previous night’s drinking wears off; an individual whose wardrobe consists mainly of items purchases second hand during the Reagan administration, one whose paycheck is garnished for alimony and child support by women whose names you don’t recognize: This is the life changing program you have been waiting for! Prepare to slouch towards the mediocrity that is calling your name when you embrace the 7 Habits of Largely Ineffective Salespeople.
Habit 1: Be Reactive. Don’t waste your time planning and preparing. You are a pro! Preparation and practice is for people who don’t know how. You have forgotten more than most people know (literally)! Sure, sometimes you wear your nametag upside down so you can read it to properly introduce yourself. So what? You can’t be bogged down with plans. Sit back and wait to see what the day brings because, most times the day doesn’t really bring all that much so planning would have been a complete waste of your creative ability. Sit, poised ready to spring into action as you re-read the comics from last Sunday’s newspaper. You are ready to pounce with the awesome improvisational skills that helped you take third place at your Jr. High talent contest in which you performed an unscripted, unrehearsed skit about the day all the smart kids needed your help opening their lockers! Just sit back and wait when the opportunity comes you’ll dazzle them. And when they throw objections at you like “Just looking” or “What’s your best price” if your “deer in the headlights” stare doesn’t close them, well, they can’t be closed.
Habit 2: Live For the Moment: This is an instant gratification business. Forget all that “big picture” nonsense. It’s all about NOW, man. Say what you’ve got to say to make the deal. Get creative, make stuff up, and use that inspired mind that helped talk you out of detention in the 10th grade. Remember? You missed History class because you were in the bathroom throwing up from trying chewing tobacco at lunch. The principal thought he had you dead to rights for cutting class. That was until you let him smell your pukey-breath and convinced him it was cafeteria food poisoning. It was tuna casserole day, so he bought it! You close deals by any means necessary. If a customer comes back mad because you told them that Hemi engine should get roughly 50 miles to the gallon. Look at them like they’re crazy and say, “I never said that! Maybe I said FIFTEEN but not fifty.” If the heat gets to be too much just change stores and tell your new employer that you left the previous store because they didn’t want you making so much gross on their customers. Living for the moment will also help your social life. When you’re closing down the local watering hole, again, make sure you make yourself accessible to whatever member of the opposite sex is available. This will help you create more children out of wedlock that you have no interest in being involved with or supporting without a court order.
Habit 3: Apathy is the Best Policy: Apathy simply put means- I don’t care. In fact if I write anymore on apathy you may get the idea that I care. I don’t.
Habit 4: Think Win/Lose: Let’s be honest, this new age, warm and fuzzy “Win/Win” stuff is quite frankly for losers. Win/Win? That sounds like kissing your sister or something. No, in order for you to win someone must lose. Go for the throat, get all you can, crush them and move on. Remember when dealing with those closest to you: If you can’t make money off your family and friends, whom can you make money from?
Habit 5: Follow Up is for People Who Can’t Close Today: If you can’t close them today what makes you think tomorrow will be any different. Follow up is for weak closers who can’t get the shut the first time. If you didn’t close them when they were here, let them go and say “Next!” It’s just a numbers game. Go grab another up and forget that idiot who wouldn’t buy.
Habit 6: Blame Shifting: This is a vital habit to become truly ineffective. Obviously if you go through a slump, say a bad week or month or decade it is most certainly not your fault. Talent such as yours does not come around every day. So this habit justifies your low production. Start off with simple things like the weather or events like important football games or even another exciting season of ER. All of those things could easily affect the auto industry. As your slump continues you’ll need to get more creative. Use your knowledge of the business. Show you’re savvy. Say things like, “The big rebates from the last couple of years stole business from now to sell cars back then.” If someone asks why your sales were down back then you say it was because the zero percent financing from the previous years stole those customers. You can also blame manufacturer’s advertising programs, even vehicle design. I know a guy who actually said, “If the manufacturers would listen to me they’d only have to build one kind of car.” There is a revolutionary! That is business at its best. It is the entrepreneurial spirit that makes our country great and allows some booger eater to think that he has the key to the automotive industry. More important it allows a guy to justify his anemic production. Blame shifting has been the lynchpin to many an underachiever’s rationalization. Remember, you can’t ever run out of people or organizations to blame. When you get tired of blaming your dealership, just move to another one. Rest assured you’ll be able to blame them for something soon enough. Blame your co-workers, blame your boss, and blame the factory, the government, the economy, the farmers, the homeless, the NRA, PETA and so on. Look around there’s always someone or something to blame. Some will even blame God and hope He doesn’t hear them. They figure He’s busy with world hunger, poverty and Congressmen tapping feet with undercover cops in the men’s room.
Habit 7: Work Hard/Play Hard: You only go around this merry-go-round we call life once. Live to the fullest. You work bell-to-bell, play on the other side of the bells. You’ve got to put in the hours because the store would collapse without you and possibly alter the local and global economies to the point of a world depression. You simply must be there every waking moment so that you don’t miss any opportunities or more importantly any really good gossip! You need to keep your finger on the pulse and to do that you have to be there. Having put in another tiring and virtually fruitless day (you did find out that the cashier is probably carrying the baby of one of the service advisors) you owe it to yourself to unwind. What better way to forget the stresses of the day and reward yourself than to drink to oblivion? Unless of course you have access to quicker means of attaining a state of oblivion in which case, wear it out cowboy! When you wake up or come to in the morning, pull yourself out of whatever unfamiliar ditch you slept in find a public rest room in which you splash some water on your face and get ready to start the process over. It’s a hard life but you knew it was a tough gig when you took it.
Believe me, when you apply these 7 habits to your life, they will change you permanently. You will wallow in the mire of mediocrity in no time. No longer will you be weighed down by current fashion trends or personal hygiene. Stale smoke will be your deodorant, cheap whiskey your mouthwash and cologne. Get started! Your life as a largely ineffective salesperson awaits you. Ah, whom are we kidding? It’s late already. You can get started working on your ineffectiveness tomorrow. Yeah, tomorrow is a great day to start. Whatever.