One of the most important jobs of a parts manager or dealership owner is keeping the team motivated. “People often say that motivation doesn’t last,” said Zig Ziglar famously. “Well, neither does bathing – that’s why we recommend it daily.”
Motivation is best practiced regularly with our sales teams, using both an energetic mindset, and a process that sets them up for success. The tips below will give you ideas to motivate your parts salespeople in a way that’s authentic and dealer-proven.
1. Build Trust with Your Team
Trust is the first building block towards motivation and is the basis from which everything else can grow.
If your team doesn’t trust you and doesn’t believe you have their best interests at heart, it’ll be difficult for them to feel inspired and driven by their work,” said Dan Tyre of HubSpot. “When salespeople are unmotivated, you won’t be able to re-inspire them unless you have an open and honest conversation about their challenges and goals – something that simply won’t happen without trust.”
Building trust by getting to know your parts salespeople has the added benefit of truly understanding what inspires them to do their best.
2. Communicate That the “Product is You”
According to dealer expert Bob Clements in The 8 Greatest Sales Secrets in the World, the customers have to buy “you” before they will buy the parts that you are selling.
You can have the best products in the world, but if the customer does not like you, there is no sale,” said Clements. “Build the relationship, and the sales will follow.”
Focusing on building relationships is not only profitable in small engine repair, but also more enjoyable. It is fun to work with people that you genuinely connect with, which leads to more intrinsic motivation for the team.
3. Seize Training Opportunities
Training can be a great motivator for your employees, and with low-cost online courses available, it does not have to be expensive. Some dealerships use the off season as an opportunity to train when things are quieter in terms of small engine repair. Online training Massive Open Online Courses (MOOC), such as Coursera, have business packages with unlimited training for just $400 per year, including The Art of Sales from Northwestern University.
4. Set Goals and Objectives
Setting clear goals and objectives that connect back to them is the single best way to increase your sales – and collaborating with your team makes the whole process richer.
The most important thing for every parts manager to keep in mind is that good objectives must be realistic and measurable,” said Clements. “When you get your team involved with the growth of the department by letting them take ownership of the objectives to hit their goals, you will find that most of your people will be naturally motivated and excited as they see their energy and work having a real impact on the parts department, the dealership, and hopefully their paychecks.”
Some dealers also pair this with performance-based incentive programs.
5. Know Your Numbers and Action Them
There is nothing more unmotivating than going to a well that has run dry. Smart dealers such as Dunlap Lawn and Garden in Dubois, Pennsylvania, are now using information, such as top customers, to help the team sell more to people who are more likely to buy.
Ideal has made it so that I know who my top 10 customers are,” said Megan Irwin, of Dunlap Lawn and Garden whose dealership has grown 6x its original size in 10 years. “I know who’s spending money in my store; I know who I can give discounts to based on how much profit they made for us. Before, I had to do those calculations by hand.”
Another smart dealership, S&S Sports has a different way of using numbers to their advantage. Jake Starkle the owner, credits regularly expanding inventory for evolving into one of Montana’s largest powersport dealerships with revenue of over 4.5 Million annually.
I can see instantly what areas are making us money, and what areas we might want to consider dropping. For instance, we dropped Arctic Cat three years ago, because I was able to see that the line just wasn’t making us any money. Instead, I picked up Fisher boats. So, Ideal allows us to evolve because we can see instantly how the business is doing.”
Instead of berating his team on a lack of results, Starkle decided to “cut” what was not working and focus on something that would give his salespeople the best chance.
A big part of sales is indeed knowing the numbers. Ready to learn about how managing with numbers can have an impact on your dealership as a whole? See our guide on Measuring the Right Metrics in Your Parts Department.