I’m on a mission today to discuss a plan for a sizable dealership group to change their process for monthly sales meetings. My father taught me early on in this business that if the people at the dealership don’t believe that a plan is going to work it never stands the chance of actually working, regardless of the reach of the advertising and merchandising plan behind it.
Now, to fully disclose I am not and do not pretend to be a sales trainer for dealerships. But what I do know how to do is put on a show. And by putting on a show I mean creating an event and atmosphere that makes every sales person so fired up to sell more cars. They will leave that meeting wanting to sell a car to the first person they see – even their friends and family.
I call it “taking ordinary and making it extraordinary”. Periodically (not every week or even every month) hold a kickoff meeting for a month or a sale that includes the following:
Offsite Venue – take your sales team somewhere out of the typical sales meeting room. Go to an auditorium, rent out a restaurant, or someplace special so your people feel special. That’s a big deal.
Music & Sound – have great music playing when they walk in and a microphone so everyone hears everything. Have motivational videos playing and any other items that will pump them up.
Food – everyone loves to eat. If it’s an early meeting, provide a hearty breakfast – something delicious. If it’s later in the day, provide lunch or dinner but make sure their stomachs aren’t growling as you are talking.
Money – lay out a bonus plan, contest, spiff plan and have a component of instant gratification – meaning let them walk out of the meeting with some money in their hand even if it’s from a previous month’s or contest’s spiff.
Purpose – make the meeting or the message have purpose. If you are starting a 60 day sale then make it about the 60 day sale. If you are running new creative or have a new strategy make it about the new strategy. If you are moving into a new store make it about the new store. Whatever is happening make sure it is clear and they walk away knowing the game plan.
Fun – it has to be fun. It has to have people smiling and ready to go into battle when they leave the room.
Over the years we have worked with dealers to conduct many of these types of meetings and just about every one of them is different. I am writing this now because we are entering into the months of the year where this kind of extraordinary approach is needed. Something so small can make a huge difference.
John Paul Strong: For someone who spends an average of 135 days outside of the office meeting with clients, John Paul Strong remains the driving force behind his Birmingham-based advertising agency, Strong Automotive Merchandising.
Strong began his career as a fresh-faced account executive at Martin Advertising. Learning much, but never satisfied, he convinced his father to partner with him in reopening their own advertising agency in 2004, catering exclusively to the automotive industry.
The company started strong but humble. The original roster of 10 employees and eight clients has exploded today, growing to 100 full-time employees and more than 220 automotive dealers. And it hasn’t gone without notice. Along the way, Strong Automotive Merchandising has been recognized as a perennial winner in Birmingham’s Best Places to Work contest and as a Top 20 Agency among Google’s National Ad Partners.
Yet, Strong still finds time to share what he’s learned along the way. As an avid writer, he has published two books in the Next Day Traffic series, along with more than 1,000 automotive-focused blog posts. He is also a member of the Texas Auto Writers Association, and his success has been recognized in the Birmingham Business Journal’s 2013 “Top 40 Under 40” feature and the 2017 CEO Awards.
The foundation for Strong’s career began at the University of Montevallo where he earned a bachelor’s degree in communication studies and advanced public speaking. Always staying ahead of the competition, Strong later went on to study in Harvard Business School’s Executive Education Program.
Amid all of his endeavors, Strong always makes time for what matters most – his family. He is a proud husband to Amy, and father to Lilly Grace, Anne Charlotte, Hudson, and Ford.