I know what you’re thinking, “eugh sales.” I get it; you’re a business owner or mechanic, and the last thing you ever dreamt of being was a salesman!
And let’s face it, it’s difficult not to think of a double-glazing salesman in a shiny suit or those rotten call centres when you hear the word ‘sales’. So, it’s not surprising that you don’t want to be like that.
And let’s be clear, I’m definitely not advocating that you or your team become one of ‘those types’ of salespeople. But, if you aren’t focused on sales then quite simply your garage is in for a hard time in the coming months and years.
The wrong types of sales or not enough sales will have a detrimental effect across the entire business. You won’t have the profitability in the business to hire and retain the right technicians. And, you can forget the holiday to the Maldives you’ve dreamt about or building your retirement fund.
The automotive aftermarket is highly competitive, and many fail as they don’t turn a suitable profit. Something a focus on sales solves.
In the UK, the auto aftermarket is worth a staggering £21.1* billion per year. And is increasing as cars become ever more high tech.
Whether it’s tyres, lubricants, filters, or other commonly replaced parts, there’s plenty of business out there. But, no matter how big the market is, it won’t change a thing if you or your Front of House staff don’t take sales seriously.
By the end of this article, you’ll know our top tips to turn your staff into the perfect sales machine – bringing you more sales and increased profits.
Unsurprisingly, a well oiled (responsible) sales machine doesn’t happen overnight or by chance. It requires consistent long term focus and a plan!
The reality is that without a front of house sales strategy and consistent, well-embedded sales process you will NOT be maximising your profit.
So let’s start with this question: are you a farmer or a hunter?
Now, you’re probably thinking I’ve gone mad at this point. “No, John” you’re thinking “I’m a business owner/mechanic. What has hunting and farming got to do with improving my garage sales and profit?”
Well, quite simply if your front of house team are quite happily ‘farming’ the calls that come into your garage, and by that I mean they are simply answering the phone and booking in customers, then you will be losing business.
And I mean losing a LOT of business.
One of our Accelerator clients discovered that their garage was leaving nearly £200k pa on the table! Now that’s a lot of holidays.
And this is not an isolated incident – many of Auto IQ’s Accelerator clients (our garage owners coaching program) have recognised that they simply can’t afford to just be farmers – they have to hunt to earn the profit their hard work deserves.
So, let’s look at where to start…..
Often the word “sales” feels dirty, but it doesn’t have to. Yes, it might feel a bit uncomfortable to start with, but remember this – the customer has contacted you and asked for help. You would be letting them down if you didn’t fulfil ALL of their repair needs!!
So our first tip is to accurately define what sales in a garage actually is. Here’s how I’d define it….
Garage sales is where front of house take information from the workshop or the customer’s requirements and turn that into a quotation (verbal written or both) that successfully demonstrates the value to the customer.
If you’ve successfully demonstrated the value then a customer will buy.
Our second tip is that ALL sales must be responsible, with the customers best interest in mind. I have a saying that we use EVERY time I’m helping front of house teams to improve their sales performance…..
“Treat every customer like your Grandmother”
After all, who doesn’t want to keep their Grandmother safe and do the right thing for them? Your customers are no different – recommend work that keeps them safe and makes them aware of the importance of the maintenance and repairs you are recommending.
No matter what industry you’re in, having a sales process is vital for the long-term survival of your business. Without a strategy, there’s no cohesion between your staff or their sales methods. It’s confusing for you, your team and for your customers too.
Having a set procedure for your front of house team to follow makes life easier. Staff singing from the same hymn sheet, improved conversions, increased profit and happier customers… sounds great to me.
So here’s tip three. When creating the perfect sales process consider the following:
- How should your team best answer the phone?
- What details should be taken from the customer?
- How best to define the customer’s requirements?
- Ensure you offer products/services in the customer’s best interest.
- Producing quotes in a timely manner.
- Deliver your quote in the most appropriate manner. Verbal, written, digital app.
- How frequently you follow up – make sure you have a process for when a customer says they “want to think about it/ask their partner” etc. And that shouldn’t mean simply waiting for the customer to call you back. Don’t forget you need to hunt!
Perfect those 7 points and you’ll have put your best foot forward on your journey to sales success. But, how do you know if you’ve got the process right and your team are consistently implementing it?
Quite simply. Accurate reporting. Would you like another one of my one-liners???
Target it, report it, discuss it, change it.
And this is where our next tip comes into play. Set targets and report only on the important metrics.
1 – Set meaningful attainable targets.
2 – Report on the number of enquiries.
3 – Report on quotes sent and business booked.
4 – Report on lost quotes and why customers don’t buy.
5 – Analyse why customers don’t buy
6 – Initially report and analyse daily.
7 – Structure your front of house training based on why customers don’t buy. Was it because the quote wasn’t produced quick enough, was the price too high (did you not show the value) or did they have the work done elsewhere because you didn’t follow up and another garage did?
Auto IQ prepares you for dealing with your business’s weak points, showing you how to fix them quickly without guesswork and get the results you want.
A quarter of your staff members don’t take sales seriously. The others? Well, they wing it and try to avoid selling if possible. You know the kinda thing. They’ll reduce a quote because they feel it’s too expensive or send a quote out when they have time rather than ASAP. They’re definitely busy, just busy doing the wrong thing.
This is what’s most likely happening right now in your Front of House. You’re not alone; the truth is it happens in most of the garages prior to attending our Accelerator Programme and in most industries. Way too many farmers….
And this is no way to run a business, especially when your Caribbean cruise, pension fund or wage rise to retain your technicians is on the line.
Now imagine how much business your staff could generate if they all knew how to sell (responsibly) and you had a proven sales process in place?
What would you do with that additional profit and what would it mean to you?
More time off? Less stress from worrying about the overheads? An extra holiday? A new car? Long term security and a pension fund?
Sounds too good to be true? Well, it’s not. All you need is the know-how, and that’s what we do at Auto IQ.
Auto IQ transforms your business by:
- Developing your sales process – Without a strategy, your business is ad-hoc. Staff are out of sync and “winging it”, which is never good for any business, never mind your profit margin.
- Showing you how to use sales reports effectively – Knowing what’s working and what isn’t is crucial. You’re able to invest your time and money in the areas that are lagging.
- Improving your customer’s experience – If your staff sell correctly, the customer won’t ever know they’re sold to. It’s seamless and doesn’t use sleazy pressure tactics. Your customers are more likely to return and recommend your services to others. (I can hear the cash register ringing already).
- Giving you complete confidence in your staff’s abilities – Nothing’s more satisfying than knowing you can leave your staff unsupervised knowing they understand how to operate. This is less stressful for you and your team.
- Understanding what to look for in new staff members – Hiring can be tough, but once you know what to look for, you can identify their key traits and how to best use their abilities.
- Boosting your sales (and profits) – This one’s obvious, more sales = more profits for you. I needn’t say more.
- Understand your customer’s needs – Understanding what your customer wants & needs before they realise it is priceless. Making the sale is 10x easier, making you and the customer happier.
At Auto IQ, we provide a wide range of business services solely for the automotive aftermarket industry. Whether it’s business coaching, technical training or sales & marketing, we’ve got you covered.
Our Accelerator Programme will help you to set the strategy for your garage and implement a sales process (and much more besides) that really delivers results for your business.
We can also provide you with the most up to date Front of House (whisper it, ‘sales’) training, so you can blow your competition out of the water. Everything covered, from your sales processes to reporting.
As you can see, investing time in developing your sales strategy and processes as well as developing your Front of House teams is an excellent step to take to increase the number of sales your business makes, adding to your profit margins and removing the stress in the process.
No garage can afford to not take sales seriously, not even yours.
Don’t waste time, get in touch now and find out how Auto iQ’s Accelerator Programme can help.