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Sometimes it isn't about technology or the newest and next thing, sometimes it is just about paying attention!

   I work for a pretty successful Auto Phone Skills Company. Jerry Thibeau and the folks in our company have made a huge difference in hundreds of dealerships and in the lives of thousands of salespeople. I enjoy it. I am an over the road trainer and I love what I do. I am constantly in dealerships around the country and in addition to training phone skills, I like to get inside the collective "head" of the dealership. On the first day, I am always the first person to show up at the dealership. I like to walk around the empty halls and get a sense of the culture. I look at walls and desks and display areas and bathrooms and I know without talking to a soul if I am at a place that wants to be the best, or is just ok to plod along marginally. Far and away, the vast majority of our clients want to be the best. After all, does a dealership that does not care about getting results call a training company? Not often. I am lucky. Most of the people that I work with really want to do well.

  I always have a managers meeting with our clients. It isn't about the phones at all. It is about process, setting standards, holding people accountable, supporting your staff but still setting expectations. I like to believe it is a simple road map for success. And it is really basic stuff. As a consultant, I get accused from time to time of just telling people what they already know. I never disagree. But what I do point out is that if they already know it, then why aren't they doing it? I make them feel better about their challenges, let them know they are not alone, and never to settle for the same excuses that so many make.

It is what I do. I love it. And it works.

Here is my Managers Meeting Agenda. Phone Ninjas does not charge for training. Only for coaching and store visits. I hope it helps.


Managers Meeting- 1.5 hours at the beginning of every On Site Training

Managed Accountability

  • Phone Circle
  • Minimum Performance Standards and how to enforce them
  • Effective Sales Meeting
  • 8+11+2=20
  •  The time to act is on the 2nd of Each Month
  • 100% Double T.O.
  • Effective and Non-Effective Bonuses
  • Effective Use of the CRM Tool

What is a MAP?


   MAP stands for Managed Accountability Plan. By using a MAP, your staff is provided a clear understanding of what your expectations are, and as importantly, a clear understanding of the consequences for poor performance.


   In most dealerships, we often employ the wrong people, and sadly, for the wrong reasons. Every dealership has an under-performing sales rep who is more than happy to stay employed for what you offer as a minimum weekly compensation. He only sells 4 or 5 cars a month, but is great at going for coffee or lunch, setting up the lot or showroom display, and running customers around when they need it. He cannot or will not improve, and doesn’t care if he ever does.


   As managers, we have a responsibility to ensure that our Salespeople are supported. They need to know that our focus is the retail sale and delivery of automobiles, and that nothing could be more important to us. They are also much happier if their minimum expectations are set, and if they know there is a consistent policy in place to deal with non-performance.


   Managed Accountability occurs when you set the expectation, train for the right outcomes, manage the process, and hold your staff accountable.


   I was once interviewing a potential sales candidate and when I asked him what he expected of me, he said “I guess I want to know that when I am talking to a customer, or trying to get one in front of me, in that moment, nothing will be more important to you.”  I learned a very valuable lesson that day, and it has served me well. We cannot simply let them come to work and fail all month and then beat them up on the 1st of next month when they cannot correct it. We have to offer them the highest level of support all month long.  And if we do, we earn the right to expect results!


   Every Dealership is different, and it is up to you to set minimum performance standards and the consequences of not meeting them. But a few guidelines apply across the board:


Monthly Unit Count


  • Minimum monthly unit count performance standard should be calculated as a 3 month rolling average.
  • During Vacation, the employee should be credited for last year’s weekly average unit count.
  • Consequences should be uniform, and enforced
  • Do not place consequences you are unwilling to enforce.
  • Documentation should occur any month the minimum average is not met, even if the rolling average is “safe”



Phone Standards


  • 90% Names and Numbers
  • 65-70% Appointments
  • 50% Show
  • 50% close
  • 15 units sold per 100 phone ups as a minimum


You have to build towards these standards. I will work with each of you individually to set a 3 month plan to implement the above standard.






Sales Meetings should be no more than ½ hour.

  • They should start with RECOGNITION. Someone did something yesterday that went above and they need to be praised for it and you should explain how this type of behavior benefits the employee and the dealership.
  • Ten minutes of TRAINING on a current, relevant issue. An area that as a group, we are struggling with, or how to handle a competitor’s crazy offer when a customer comes up with it as an objection, or the upcoming promotion, etc. Sales meetings are never for housekeeping issues.
  • ADVERTISING REVIEW, both ours and the competitions. We cannot ask our salespeople to be enthusiastic if they do not know our current offers. They cannot handle competitive objections if they do not know what theirs are.
  • MONTH TREND AND INDIVIUAL UNIT COUNT. They should know current trend vs. monthly goal, and how each individual is contributing to the mix. We do not recommend public ridicule of underperforming salespeople, but vocalizing the current rankings praises the leaders and pushes the people with the lower unit trend.
  • You should always end each meeting by announcing daily BONUSES or reviewing bonus progress, who has obtained them or is close, and what the dollar amounts were.


Sales Meetings must be positive. It is on very rare occasions that a house keeping issue impacts the entire staff. When it does, have a separate meeting. You do not want your salespeople to associate sales meetings with pain. 



As Managers, every year we are asked to do a monthly projection for the following year. We break down each month by new and used sales, and gross profit averages as well as finance income.


  Some managers also ask for monthly projections from their salespeople. But often those projections do not get looked at again until the end of the month.


  The only surefire way to get results is to ensure results. The 8:00 a.m. meeting is your first impact on your staff on a daily basis. Don’t make it your last daily opportunity to affect the day’s outcome. By 11:00 am each day, you should have had a second meeting with each of your staff to discuss how the day is going and provide guidance around each customer they are trying to close. Do it again at 2:00. If you meet with and guide each rep at 8+11+2 every day, it will be hard for them not to sell 20!




Don’t be a typical manager. The typical manager is usually interested in sales performance at or near the end of the month, when it is too late to do anything about it. If your salesperson has 4 out on the 20th, then getting him to 20 is probably impossible. The time to act is on the second. If your salesperson has none out on the 2nd, then they are trending 0 for the month. Spend time in their follow-up, make calls to their customers, give him an emotional lift, and most importantly get him a deal!

100% DOUBLE T.O.


It is nearly impossible for you to T.O. every customer that comes in. But it is not impossible for every customer to get T.O.’d.


   Most managers tell me they T.O. everyone. If you are, good for you! In order for your T.O. to be effective, you have to T.O. them twice. Once when they walk through the door, and again during the negotiation process.

   Your initial T.O. is not about selling a car at all. It is about creating a receptive customer. You simply introduce yourself with your Title, find some common ground, ask a couple of generic questions about the vehicles we are showing them, and then dismiss yourself. Be sure to endorse your Sales Representative as the best, and ensure the customer that you will make certain they receive the VIP treatment.

  So many customers tell us they resent being T.O.’d. They resent it because it is usually a conversation they are having with someone they don’t know after they have already decided not to purchase. When you perform a double T.O., the customer already knows you and likes you, and actually welcomes your involvement. This process always has the calming effects on YOU, as well.


   If a manager cannot T.O. a given customer, then someone has to. Use your Finance Managers and other Senior Sales Reps. I have even had the Service Manager say hi. 





  • “lists” of cars with more than 5 cars on them
  • Bonuses that run all month long
  • Spot bonuses, high gross, first and last deal of the day, 1st new, 1st used, etc…..


Obviously, we put bonuses in place to reward a behavior that benefits the dealership.       The above bonuses do that, but run the danger of having the salesperson “fall” in to them, instead of earning them.

          Effective Bonuses

  • A list of three aged inventory vehicles, good for this week only.
  • Rewarding “good” appointments that show.
  • Competitive Bonuses tied around Manufacturers Certification, Walk Around Competitions, Highest CSI for the month, etc…
  • Fast Start, Mid Month and End of month volume bonuses. First ten days, Second Ten days, and EOM.

If you are going to bonus aged vehicles, create a prominent display near the showroom entrance or in a featured area. Remember, no more than 5 vehicles.




If there is a button or field on your CRM Tool that you are not using, it is costing you tens of thousands of dollars every month.


  1. All Staff must leave concise notes.
  2. CRM Notes MUST include a GAME PLAN on every customer
  3. All Appointments must be confirmed by a Manager. No Exceptions.
  4. All Salespeople must complete all tasks daily prior to the end of their shift.
  5. Managers should be copied on every e-mail sent. (See what they are saying)
  6. Only reassign orphans to new people or Veterans that produce. No Round Robin.



I copied this from a simple word file, so I hope it is clean enough for you to get something out of.

Don't be reactive, create the day! If you use these simple tips along with having a clear mission on the phones, you will be unstoppable!














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