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From Hero to Zero

Let’s face it, we all know the drill at the end of each month… SELL SELL SELL. For as long as I can remember, getting those last few deals to close before the month ended was critical. Every salesperson on the showroom floor was on high alert, every manager looking to scratch out every deal they could.

Unfortunately, the buying public understands this cycle and the smart shoppers are not only armed with more data than ever before from the Internet, they understand the dealer’s urgency at month-end. We have trained them well.

I remember the day after month-end, everyone felt like they drained their pipeline and worked every prospect as hard as they could. There was a sense of a fresh start, but also a feeling of exhaustion. The old saying from Hero to Zero was commonplace. Even if you sold 30 cars last month, you were now back to the big fat goose egg.   It seemed like we couldn’t build any momentum until the 10th of every month.  The slow starts typically made everyone a bit anxious, knowing that we would be putting in another month-end push to make sure our W-2′s met our needs.

So why are we so stuck on this tradition?  Why do calendar months have to drive the process?  What if we could start out every month like it was the last week of every month?  What if we could create as much urgency on the 12th as the 29th?  Here is a simple concept to try.

Announce that starting next month…THE MONTH END IS THE 15TH! 

Who does this benefit?  Let’s take a look.

1. Your sales team ~ imagine having real urgency to close deals earlier in the month.  If I need to get my 12th unit for my bonus and it is the 13th of the month, I am going to push hard to get it signed & delivered.

2. Your management team ~ no more slow starts and a more even pace throughout the month.  For the regional competition, the fast start gives you a fighter’s chance to end the calendar month in great shape.

3. Your customers ~ you now have created an authentic, honest reason to make good deals happen throughout the month.  When you tell Mr. Jones that your month ends on the 15th, you are being truthful.  Customers empathize with salespeople when they have done their job and want to create a win-win.

4. F&I and the back office ~ with a more balanced selling month, your business managers and the folks in the back office appreciate a more even workload.  This is especially helpful to get the books closed at month-end because 50% of the business is not getting booked from the 23rd to the EOM.

The first question you may have is “what happens from the 16th to the EOM?”  Well, this may be the icing on the cake.  Our customers have it engrained in their heads that it is better to buy a vehicle at month-end.  This tradition will continue.  Other dealers will continue to advertise the month-end urgency and that will spill over to your store.  Your staff will still feel the pressure of the calendar and want to contribute to the dealership’s goal of finishing with X units for the month.

The bottom line…

“You now have 2 month-end closes and just an overall focused atmosphere throughout the month.”

Give it a shot, maybe 2 truly is better than 1