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Goal setting for Automotive Salespeople

Goal setting for Automotive Salespeople


Goal setting for Automotive Salespeople

All too often in the Automotive world, we let our salespeople fend for themselves every month. There are not enough dealerships, managers or salespeople that sit down at the beginning of every month and set a REALgoal for each person on their sales team.

In most dealerships, there is NO GOAL SETTING being done at all. And in some dealerships, the goal setting goes something like this…..”okay John, you sold 10 vehicles last month! This month….lets do 12!!” This type of goal setting accomplishes nothing!! We haven’t given the salesperson a REAL plan of HOW they are going to get to their goal.

When sitting down with your salesperson to set their goal, they have to see the old “W.I.I.F.M” (what’s in it for me). The best way to do it is to forecast how much MONEY they should make. And while money is NOT the only motivation that a salesperson has, it is how they pay their bills!

To start, you are going to need some simple metrics. I like to take the last 90 days worth of sales and commissions that an individual salesperson has accomplished.

Metrics needed:

  1. A monthly average of total money earned
  2. A monthly average of total vehicles sold
  3. A monthly average of commission earned per unit
  4. A monthly average of the total amount of clients that they spoke with
  5. A monthly average of their closing percentage

Let’s use these numbers for an example:

  1. Monthly average money earned – $ 2,750.00
  2. Monthly average cars sold – 10
  3. Monthly average commission per unit – $ 275.00
  4. Monthly average of clients spoke with – 50
  5. Monthly average closing percentage – 20%

NOW…when you sit down with your salesperson, you can “goal set” intelligently!

When the Manager counsels the salesperson on a daily basis, they can track and look for ways to increase the salesperson’s metrics.

I believe the goal setting for the month should reflect a 10% increase for the individual salesperson. And remember, I like to “goal set” using money.

A 10% increase in money for this salesperson would be another $ 275.00 or a total of

$ 3,025.00.

The salesperson now has to see what they will have to do to earn the 10% increase. There are several ways the salesperson can get there.

  1. If they maintain a 20% closing ratio, they would have to speak with an additional 5 people during the month or a total of 55. Let’s say they work 24 days out of the 30 in the month. They would need to speak with an average of 2.3 potential clients per day. When the Manager is doing their daily counseling with the salesperson, they can track this metric to make sure the salesperson is speaking with enough clients to reach their goal.
  1. What if the salesperson develops their skills and increases their closing percentage to 22%? The salesperson could then speak to the same amount of clients, (50) and sell 11 vehicles and thus meet their goal for the month.
  1. What if the salesperson develops their skills and averages a higher commission per unit? If they average $ 303.00 commission per unit they would also meet their goal.

Heavens forbid that the salesperson actually speaks with MORE clients, closes them at a HIGHER percentage and averages more PROFIT per sale! That would be the Monthly trifecta of car sales!! (I will get off my soapbox)

As leaders in the industry, it is our MISSION to get our people better! They need guidance, motivation, education and stimulation. They need discipline, practice and skill building. BUT FIRST…….you need to have a REAL plan on how you can help them get there. A “roadmap” of how to make more money, sell more vehicles, close more clients at a higher percentage and make a higher average commission per sale. The individual salesperson must SEE the metrics to genuinely understand HOW they are going to reach their goal!!

Otherwise……..we are just “hoping” that they will get there on their own!!



About the Author: From a Salesperson to a Dealer, I have a vast amount of experience in all areas of the automotive environment.

You can follow me on:

My website:  

Twitter: @jimkristoff

WordPress blogsite:

Blogspot blog:

Automotive Digital



Views: 548

Tags: accountability, goals, leadership


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Comment by Lindsey Shaker on October 4, 2012 at 5:23pm

This is AWESOME..... coming from someone that really needs to sit down and have a numerical concrete fact based game plan to back up the pizzaz....and it really is a fundamental practice that leads lends to all areas of professional, personal, interpersonal positive growth. 

Thank you for motivating me to get my goals set, I will also encourage those around me if they have fallen off their own game plan regiments 

Comment by Jim Boldebook on October 3, 2012 at 7:00am

Sadly, I think Doug has it right in too many cases. 

Comment by Doug Davis on October 2, 2012 at 8:52pm

It benefits the salespeople but it is the responsibility of the Sales Managers.

Here is a typical Monday at the sales desk.  The New Car Manager comes in at 8:30 and quickly fills out the report that he should have done on Saturday night.  About 9:00, he walks around and herds the salespeople into the conference room for the Monday morning meeting.  He then calls the board and reminds several of the salespeople that they are behind on their numbers.  He complains that they have a key problem and that cars were left in front of the building on Saturday night.  He then returns to the desk where he talks about the NFL game on Sunday.  By then it is about 10:30 and the conversation has gone to what they are having for lunch.  Seeing a salesperson hanging out, he dispatches him to get coffee, for him, at Starbucks.  The balance of the day is mostly waiting for a salesperson to bring him a deal.

I've been told, "you're not a Drill Sergeant, any more" or "you are too demanding".  I heard that from the other managers and never from the salespeople.  I never had a complaint in over 40 years from a GM or HR.  When you take bartenders, shoe salesmen and even a guy that did pest control, and show them how to make six figures, you don't hear complaints.

The problem is Sales Managers not taking personal responsibility for the success or failure of their people.  The turnover, in the car business, has been a disgrace, for decades, and it is getting worse.  Sales training, in most stores, is a joke.  On-going training is non existent.  

Comment by Jim Boldebook on October 2, 2012 at 7:13pm

Good article Jim.  Salesmanagers that take the time to work one-on-one with salespeople, focusing on the W.I.I.F.M. always produce the best results.  This process is also a great opportunity for a manager to help identify and support specific issues with each salesperson.  Isnt it funny that no matter how many technology tools we have in our kit, it all comes down to doing the basics well.

Comment by Ralph Paglia on October 2, 2012 at 6:32pm

Jim, back in the middle to late 1990's I worked with a great car guy by the name of Danny Alkassmi, and we were doing sales process training in dealerships all over the country. A fundamental part of our gig was to sit down one on one with every sales pro in the dealership and go through this process at the beginning of every month. It was a lot of work, but you know what? It works... Despite earning a darned good living doing this, I always felt that sales managers should be doing this in every dealership.

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