The first quarter of 2021 is almost over. Both January and February were short months but March has an extra day or two in there to help make for the normal number of work days in a quarter. As winter starts to get ready to exit, we will be settled in for the coming sales year.
The first quarter is supposed to be the best as the weather is most favorable for both mechanical and collision sales. The weather also tends to lead to an uptick in salvage availability. Those two factors add together for a solid or not spectacular sales quarter. This is the easiest period of time for sales managing as we tend to be busy and working hard selling parts. Moving into the better weather does not have to mean leaving a peek selling period.
Inventory is something that traditionally moves through our pipeline slowly. We always discuss days to break even and inventory turns in relation to profits. We all know that the way to grow our sales is to expand our inventory. The circumstances of the fourth & first quarters should have us to the point of having reasonably healthy inventories.
That should set the table for a well-planned sales campaign. We have the first quarter as the comparable to set goals from. We also have the direct correlation between our buying and our sales to show the excess inventory that is in the system. Once realistic goals are set, you have something to discuss with each salesperson. Sales goals should be something that both parties have input on. An assigned sales number does not have as much value to it as a number that the person doing the selling has bought into with confidence that with the proper effort, they can achieve their sales goals.
Those goals should include in stock, brokered, warranty, core charges and freight. Being a well-rounded salesperson that is taking care of the customer at a profit for the company is the goal. Having multiple targets also increases the number of times a salesperson can be successful but also the number of areas that management can provide help and guidance.
At the end of this process, we should have an overall company sales goal as well as individual product line sales goals. Those goals then break into the individual goals so that everyone in the company is working towards a number that benefits the overall company. Now that the goals have been set, the measurement and communication of those measurements needs to be done.
Salespeople tend to know their numbers but continually discussing those numbers and helping them figure out what areas they are struggling in will help the salespeople expand their book of business. Sales has always been about building positive relationships with people that allow problems to be solved with the least amount of pain being associated with it or people finding ways to work together that allow each of them to profit.
There are many books about sales managing out there. A lot of styles and philosophies exist and everyone needs to find what is going to work best for themselves. We need to keep track of the fact that everyone needs sales managing but not everyone needs a sales manager. Failing to give proper guidance is a sure way to be unsuccessful for both the company and the salesperson.
No matter how you do it, please give sales managing the proper attention it deserves. Profit Team Consulting is offering Sales Manager Mentoring for anyone who is struggling or looking to perfect the craft.
Mike Kunkel Lee Worman
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