Learning for Your Sales Career

by Automotive Employment on February 22, 2010

Some friends of mine run marathons.  Occasionally I’ll go and watch them run.  Along the route, there are plenty of drink stations for the runners to grab a drink (and in some cases, an energy bar) while they are running to keep their energy up.  Speaking with some of my running friends, the drink stations act as mini-goals in their running plan, so when their tired legs and lungs are begging them to quit, the mini-focus becomes making it to the next drink station before the negotiation re-commences!  If they can successfully delay quitting like this, they finish the marathon successfully.

Sadly, too, a friend of mine collapsed and died in a marathon many years ago.  He was extremely fit and motivated, but the autopsy found that he died due to massive dehydration, probably in part because he skipped a few opportunities to take on water, perhaps because he was so focused on the task of running and reducing his time.

Even without fatal consequences, many runners harm their performance by skipping water stations.

How does this relate to a car sales career?  Well firstly, a successful car sales career is more of an endurance event than a sprint event.  Secondly, it’s important to replenish and refresh yourself along the way if you want to keep your performance up.

We have worked with hundreds of salespeople and sales managers who are focused on the endurance of their sales careers but oblivious to their performance, especially relative to the rest of the market.  It’s a  bit like a marathon competitor who finishes the course days after everyone else has packed up and gone home.  Their determination is admirable, but it doesn’t count for much by itself.

The motor industry is a dynamic industry – it is always changing.  So the salespeople and sales managers who just doggedly persist without replenishing their energy, their perspective, their knowledge and their skills are getting left behind by the rest of the industry and their potential customers.

Some of the changes in the industry just during my career have included the introduction of F.B.T., the introduction of Luxury car Sales Tax (with several subsequent increases), the introduction of GST, new Privacy Laws, increased paperwork to sell a car, the introduction of mobile phones, e-mail and the internet.

Salespeople and sales managers who did not adapt to these changes have been culled from the industry.  Especially with the internet, customers are better informed than ever, often better informed than the salespeople that they are dealing with.

So to become and remain successful in this industry, salespeople and sales managers must replenish and refresh themselves.  They can do this in a variety of ways including:

Often the industry itself encourages its employees and managers just to stay focused on the sales targets (the finish line for the marathon this month) but in doing so, removes their focus from sustaining themselves for the next finish line and the one after that.

In dealerships and manufacturers we have worked with that have an obsession with this month’s results, the levels of staff burnout and /or turnover are higher than average, so the long term of goal achievement is compromised by short term focus.

As a bare minimum, you should be adding to your knowledge and skills systematically at least once a month.  Attend a sales training course or read a good book on sales.  Learn something and add it to your skills.  Use it and develop it and make it a useful, replenishing top-up to keep you in the race!

Discuss your automotive sales career and learning for career progression!

Learn more to earn more Learning for Your Sales Career

Learn more to earn more!

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