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Where do you pick your fruit from?

This is a standard question I ask all my Sales teams... "If your Customer's were fruit where would you pick them from?".

A simple opportunity to present perspective... Would you take them from the ground surrounding the tree? Pick them from the lowest branches? Or get a ladder and get the ones from the top of the tree?

All three can have benefits...

Take the ones on the ground... I can gather them quickly, create volume and maximize output.

However, fruit on the lower branches will be of better quality and I can still pick them at speed improving my return.

Yet, if I take the time and cultivate my choice of fruit from the best part of the tree I can maximize my return the best fruit for the cost of a little more effort.

Sales is like the fruit tree and Salespeople can be pickers, hands or cultivators.

The pickers are just focused on the opportunities, or better said number of them. This is why they will look at the fruit on the ground first. If each fruit was a conversion they would argue this was a win but was it? Think of it... What is on the ground? BAD FRUIT... Old, overripe, bruised fruit that will have a limited market value. Therefore even though they picked more and faster they will be less likely to get a return on their efforts.

The second group, hands; look to work a little harder, knowing that the fruit on the ground is a poor choice but they want to move fast as time is money in their eyes, so they attack the low hanging fruit on the branches. It's not the best but it marketable with little rejection so they know with what they lose in quality they'll make up with quantity therefore believing it will all work out.

However its the final group, the cultivators; they understand the business. They realize the best fruit is way up on the tree, they need to work for it to get it and once they do not only will it be the best marketable piece but will bring the highest return. These cultivators might sell less in the end but their efforts will bring them the greatest returns.

Now, I can relate this to our industry in many different ways but for the purposes of this I will relate it to Sales Opportunities. If we are to understand the Sales Pyramid and the conversion rate of each opportunity I can show you the Sales Tree.

As we look at the Pyramid, typically the most leads a dealership will get is Internet followed by Telephone then Walk-ins and directly proportionately the conversion rates are reversed. Meaning the opportunity of converting a walk-in is 2x-3x higher than an internet lead.

However, when you look at the Pyramid we see where our focus should be Appointments, Referrals and Repeats; all converting with considerable higher numbers. Yet we don't focus our efforts there, why? We like the low hanging fruit. They are easier to come by.

We need to change this... This is why I talk of the 500 Club... In most dealerships we see an average salesperson at 10 cars per month. We want them to do better but rarely do we show them how. They, themselves want to do better but rarely want to put in the effort. This is why we see them at the coffee machine, on their phones texting, checking the scores on the computers or just staring out at the lot looking for that next opportunity to arrive.

It's not hard to get to 500 cars per year. I know many people that exceed this number year in year out, and their not at Kia or Toyota stores, they sell Audis and Benzs. These people are the cultivators, they are picking from the top not scrambling at the bottom. Their conversion rates are the best in the industry and not because they are the best closers but because they know who to invest their time with.

So how do you get there? Start with understanding where you are going to begin to fill your opportunity bucket with. Then devise a plan to maximize your efforts to continue to work with these and only these customers. Some will say I just started so I don't have repeat clients yet, I can still show you how to get there and I promise it will never have any high pressure tactics to influence the sale, just honest, transparent, full and concentrated effort.

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