In the course of a month, I visit dozens of dealerships and depending on the time of the month, the mood varies from euphoria to gross indifference. In a recent blog, I mentioned that the last ten days of the past few months have made forecasts a reality. When a sense of urgency and intensity puts every walk-up customer behind the wheel – that’s the spike. Inevitably, there always follows a dip for the first ten days of the next month. Customer interest is plentiful, but business is slow and traffic is off.
The question arises: is this the nature of the market or the human nature of a sales force? I am of the opinion we have conditioned our market to believe that the last ten days of a month is the best time to buy. On the flip side, when reviewing dealership traffic numbers, there is not a huge variance by weekly counts. My point is that sales people make the difference and control traffic probably more than you know. One has to ask the difficult question, “Are you focusing on selling everyone the last ten days of the month, while being content to let as many customers walk out the door during the first ten days of the month?”
The Olympics showed us how the start of a race plays an important role in getting to the medal stand. The competition was so high that world-class athletes would find themselves so far behind at the beginning that they couldn’t close the gap. Getting off the line and being on pace the entire month promises you will be in contention at the finish.
Just as the athletes look to their coaches for guidance, this is a topic you need to discuss openly with your managers. Whether it’s a kick-off spiff or a swift kick, enlighten your people that the market is out there every day. A sale closed in the first ten days counts the same as the last sale to hit monthly bonus money. Keep in mind that when you miss your monthly forecast by one, it may have been the sale missed on day one.