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Tag Archive: Team Leader

Rebecca Chernek

To Women With a Passion for F&I

woman_FandIEMBRACE CHANGE

The glass ceiling for women’s acceptance in the finance industry was shattered over a decade ago.

According to the 2012 Catalyst Census of Women Executive Officers and Top Earners, which counts the number of women in upper management in Fortune 500 companies, women comprise over 18% of all executive officers in the finance industry, and 19% of board directors in the finance and insurance industries in Fortune 500 companies.

BUT . . . that glass ceiling is only slightly cracked for F&I women in the automotive industry.

Why is this true? It’s no secret that the auto industry worldwide has been male-dominated since the birth of the four-wheeled, horseless carriage. Ownership of auto makers is passed down to the sons and to their sons in Japan, Germany, France, Sweden and in Canada; this practice has been followed for generations even in the United States.

Some 95% of the country’s 20,000 auto dealers who belong to the National Automobile Dealers Association are male.

While a very small percentage of women have the financial means to become the owner of a GM, Ford, Chrysler, Saab or Toyota franchise, an increasing number are rising in the ranks to positions of valued leadership and respect in these manufacturers’ offices.

This includes the position of F&I manager at a local franchise dealership.

Why should this perk up your interest?

Because if you have the inborn drive to set goals, to meet and beat challenges along the way, and to be a leader as well as a team player, you can be one of the women to shatter the glass ceiling in what still remains a prominently male domain.

Challenges will be part of your F&I experience in a car dealership, but the field is wide open and you could become a role model for many more women in finance to follow in your footsteps.

It is part of car “culture”—still in practice, spread like dandelions in your front yard, and written about by every journalist on the subject—to repetitively say that many women start out in car sales and with their awesome success are asked by the dealer to step into the position of finance manager, but few stay.

The reasons given are always the same: no training for the position; no ongoing training; little cooperation from the predominantly male sales personnel; long inflexible hours; continued disrespect and a lack of dealer willingness to change the culture to be more inclusive of women outside office workers, or to change former methods to reach out to women buyers in the community. When lumped together, they discouraged open dialogue and widened the unspoken impression that female finance officers are inadequate.

Here’s some advice given by two widely-dissimilar women. Former First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt, who is still famous for her role as women’s advocate, said, “No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.” Dolly Parton, who is one of the most successful female recording artists of all time and an astute businesswoman, said, “If you want the rainbow, you’ve got to put up with the rain.”

In other words, take a position as F&I manager at a car dealership with your eyes wide open and fixed on your ultimate goal: to not only meet the culture challenges, but rise above them so fast and with such dignity that you become an influential member of the dealer’s inner circle. One that has numbers to prove your value and leadership skills that have every member of the sales team eager to become your best friend.

Study; ask for training; provide it for all the sales staff and have weekly meetings with them to share successes and failures; learn not only the names of the office staff, but exactly what they do and how and why. That’s what leadership in the finance office requires. More than words. More than overblown reactions to a culture that is waiting for you to show them how to embrace change. It requires a concerted plan and actions that drive your ultimate success. Oh, and see that the dealership’s bottom line soars and those males in sales see their paychecks grow like a snowball rolling downhill.

Then the statistics will change and the article topics will reflect it.

THINK BIG. Start small.

Rebecca Chernek is the principal of Chernek Consulting, an F&I training and consulting agency in Atlanta. Her ”Closing Tools Mastering Menu Sales Workshop” will be offered in Chattanooga,Tennessee July 15-17, 2013 at Woople Headquarters. Contact Becky Chernek for details at 404-276-4026.

Permanent link to this article: http://blog.ncm20.com/2013/05/to-women-with-a-passion-for-fi/

Garry House

Tap Your Unsold Prospects for Incremental Sales

Unsold Prospects for Incremental SalesWe expect our salespeople to follow up on unsold prospects, right? But how consistent are their efforts, how intelligent are their strategies, and how are they being held accountable for results?Some proactive automotive dealers believe unsold prospect follow up is so important that they’ve made their sales management team primarily accountable through what we here at NCMi refer to as the ”Make-a-Deal” Meeting process.Briefly, here’s how the process is intended to work:

  • The desk manager responsible for closing in the evening must make sure that the daily desk logs and sales worksheets are complete and easily accessible to the managers who open the following morning.
  • Every morning promptly at 10 a.m., all Sales and F&I managers (and team leaders) assigned for duty will meet. Ideally, the Dealer Operator/General Manager should attend and lead this meeting. The purpose of the meeting is to review all unclosed deals (those on which we developed worksheets and “worked” the customer) and develop strategies to turn these deals into sales. If structured properly, this meeting should last no longer than 20 minutes.
  • Each potential deal is prioritized and assigned to a manager or team leader. The assigned manager is accountable to immediately call the customer and interview him about his previous day’s experience at the dealership. The objective is to quickly secure an appointment with the customer to revisit the dealership, restructure a deal and, if necessary, assign a different salesperson. The assigned manager has now personally assumed ownership of this customer.

There is nothing in a dealership sales department that (1) requires less time and effort, and (2) generates more vehicle sales than this proven process. In a medium-sized dealership an Every Day, Same Time, Without Fail, No Exceptions Make-a-Deal Meeting will result in 10-15 incremental deliveries per week. Here is how the math works:

Yesterday there were 6 appointments and 7 first-time walk-ins for a total of 13 opportunities to do business (OTDBs). The 6 appointments came from Internet leads, phone inquiries and salesperson proactive efforts.We delivered 3 vehicles to this group of OTDBs. The 7 first-time walk-ins had virtually no relationship with the dealership or its employees. We delivered 1 vehicle to this group of OTDBs.

Subtracting the 4 deliveries from the 13 OTDBs, we have 9 unsold prospects on which to focus our efforts in today’s Make-a-Deal Meeting.

With intelligent and consistent follow-up, coupled with accountability by our management staff, 1/3, or 3, of the unsold prospects should be converted to “be-backs.”  We should deliver 2/3, or 2, of the be-backs.

Assuming consistent performance with 6 selling days per week, there should be 12 incremental sales from the Make-a-Deal Meeting process (6 days multiplied by 2 deliveries per day).

Clearly the math illustrates the time spent on Make-a-Deal Meetings is well worth it. Do you have a consistent method for following up on unsold prospects at your dealership? If so, what’s your process and how many incremental deliveries does it account for each week?

The Make-a-Deal Meeting is one of the processes taught in the Principles of General Sales Management I class at the NCM Institute Center for Automotive Retail Excellence. To learn more about NCMi and our automotive management training programs, give us a call at 866.756.2620 for a schedule of upcoming GSM training programs.

Permanent link to this article: http://blog.ncm20.com/2013/03/tap-your-unsold-prospects-for-incremental-sales/

Garry House

Make-a-Deal Meetings Help Sell Unsold Prospects

Make-a-Deal MeetingsWe expect our salespeople to follow up on unsold prospects, right? But how consistent are their efforts, how intelligent are their strategies, and how are they being held accountable for results?

Some proactive dealers believe unsold prospect follow up is so important that they’ve made their sales management team primarily accountable through what we here at NCMi refer to as the ”Make-a-Deal” Meeting process.

Briefly, here’s how the process is intended to work:

  • The desk manager responsible for closing in the evening must make sure that the daily desk logs and sales worksheets are complete and easily accessible to the managers who open the following morning.
  • Every morning promptly at 10 a.m., all Sales and F&I managers (and team leaders) assigned for duty will meet. Ideally, the Dealer Operator/General Manager should attend and lead this meeting. The purpose of the meeting is to review all unclosed deals (those on which we developed worksheets and “worked” the customer) and develop strategies to turn these deals into sales. If structured properly, this meeting should last no longer than 20 minutes.
  • Each potential deal is prioritized and assigned to a manager or team leader. The assigned manager is accountable to immediately call the customer and interview him about his previous day’s experience at the dealership. The objective is to quickly secure an appointment with the customer to revisit the dealership, restructure a deal and, if necessary, assign a different salesperson. The assigned manager has now personally assumed ownership of this customer.

There is nothing in a dealership sales department that (1) requires less time and effort, and (2) generates more vehicle sales than this proven process. In a medium-sized dealership an Every Day, Same Time, Without Fail, No Exceptions Make-a-Deal Meeting will result in 10-15 incremental deliveries per week. Here is how the math works:

Yesterday there were 6 appointments and 7 first-time walk-ins for a total of 13 opportunities to do business (OTDBs). The 6 appointments came from Internet leads, phone inquiries and salesperson proactive efforts.We delivered 3 vehicles to this group of OTDBs. The 7 first-time walk-ins had virtually no relationship with the dealership or its employees. We delivered 1 vehicle to this group of OTDBs.

Subtracting the 4 deliveries from the 13 OTDBs, we have 9 unsold prospects on which to focus our efforts in today’s Make-a-Deal Meeting.

With intelligent and consistent follow-up, coupled with accountability by our management staff, 1/3, or 3, of the unsold prospects should be converted to “be-backs.”  We should deliver 2/3, or 2, of the be-backs.

Assuming consistent performance with 6 selling days per week, there should be 12 incremental sales from the Make-a-Deal Meeting process (6 days multiplied by 2 deliveries per day).

The Make-a-Deal Meeting is one of the processes taught in the Principles of General Sales Management I class at the NCM Institute Center for Automotive Retail Excellence.   

Garry House serves as the director of the NCM Institute and has nearly 25 years experience as consultant to automotive dealers.  Garry gained his retail automotive experience working in dealerships as a department manager, general manager and dealer principal, and as an employee of General Motors Corporation.  Garry studied Industrial Engineering at General Motors Institute in Flint, MI and Liberal Arts at Hamilton College in Clinton, NY.  He currently resides in Jupiter, Florida.  Contact Garry through the NCM Institute at 866.756.2620 or email ghouse@ncm20.com.

Permanent link to this article: http://blog.ncm20.com/2011/11/make-a-deal-meetings-help-sell-unsold-prospects/