Sales Management During Good Times

There are a number of owner’s out there who are experiencing a nice run of sales and profits.  Business is not without challenges, especially around buying, but sales have not been a much of a concern.  That has had a tendency for management to ease off of sales managing.  The theory being if it isn’t broken, why fix it?

If you talk to most fully commissioned salespeople, they will tell you that the last 12 months have not been that bad for them financially. Quite a few salespeople have set multiple personal sales records during the last 12 months. With that has come a sense of betterment. It is only natural to feel like we are doing a better job when our sales and paychecks are up from what they were. That idea of being better than I was can lead me to be unapproachable about things that I am coming up short on.

We sell product lines. They include used in stock parts, brokered parts, warranties, freight, and core and in some cases aftermarket & remanufactured parts.  We have felt a noticeable increase in the cost of salvage and an increase in drivetrain sales. During that time, drivetrain prices are up.  That automatically means a sales increase to the salesperson.  Is the salesperson better in that case? Perhaps, if their warranty sales % has increased at a higher rate, they might be. What if the warranty percentage went down? Wouldn’t that mean that the same amount of effort was not given to selling the warranty? I could end up making more money with less effort while developing a bad habit that could negatively impact mine and the company’s sales / profits long-term.

The same could be said on all of the product lines. It requires time and effort to broker a part, sell the warranty and properly explain everything that goes into the value proposition of the sale. Are we too busy selling in stock parts to do the effort lines? What bad habits are being created during the good selling period that will come back to haunt us if demand starts to slow.

Less miles being driven, actual cash value of vehicles increasing and new car supply being limited are a few factors that will impact salvage availability. Supply line interruptions will lead to increased demand for used parts. Relationship building is a key component in building a solid customer base for any business and salesperson. Being busy leads to us taking shortcuts especially when it involves the cultivating of new customers. Who needs new customers when I am already selling more than ever before?

Sales managing is an art. Very few people are natural sales managers. Most get confused on what their job really is and spend most of their time fighting fires instead of growing people. During good and bad sales times, sales management is needed. A farmer will tell you that you have to make hay when the sun is shining and the sun has certainly been shining in the used auto parts world!  We must remember that while we are currently harvesting the hay, we are also planting the seeds for the continued harvest.  Business has always had peaks and valleys and while the down side of sales seems like it is difficult to deal with, the busy sales times do not mean we can take our eye off of sales managing.

Profit Team Consulting has quite a few programs that are designed to grow sales people and sales managers.  Struggling in these areas will not be conducive to long-term success in your company. Just because sales and profits have been good does not mean you should not be trying to develop your sales and management teams.

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Mike Kunkel, 7757 Lexus Drive, Fort Worth, TX 76137.

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