What Makes a Good Sales Manager?
A good Sales Manager is worth their weight in gold. More than anyone else in your dealership, they have final responsibility for closing deals and generating acceptable gross while setting up the Business Office for strong back-end profits. Your Sales Manager’s contribution to pretty much every key metric in Variable Ops makes them invaluable to the team and your bottom line. When they do their job right, that is….
Sales Managers usually achieve that role due to their superior abilities as salespeople. More than likely your Sales Manager was also one of your best salespeople. If this is true, something potentially disastrous could happen. It’s possible that your new manager doesn’t actually have managerial skills. Being a good salesperson does not necessarily make you a good manager. The best sales managers are organized, consistent, and motivational. They must be able to not only keep on top of their own responsibilities but those of their sales team as well. Being a successful salesperson did not prepare you for managing inventory, tracking and analyzing data, overseeing advertising campaigns, and all the additional tasks that come with the manager position.
So does this mean you shouldn’t promote from your floor? Absolutely not! There is no way to better assess a manager’s strengths and weaknesses than seeing them in action for an extended period of time. But you should be prepared to fully retrain this individual for their new role, as very little of their experience is transferable. Just do yourself a favor and don’t forget the most important activity on which a manager needs to focus daily: Selling cars!
Here’s the thing – Sales Managers do have a ton of additional responsibility and a lot of that responsibility is based on entirely new topics that are both interesting and time-consuming. Spreadsheets, meetings, and general “office work” run your life. You do more working “on the business” rather than “in the business”. And all too often, you forget about the #1 purpose of your dealership: Selling cars!
If your Sales Manager is not intimately involved in every deal that crosses your desk, they are not doing their job. When you list out a Manager’s priorities, is there anything that would take precedence over closing deals? Every step of the sales process should involve managers, nothing will improve your bottom line like improving your closing ratio. Your Sales Manager’s ability on the floor singled them out, maximize their time where they excel!
In the end, this should be exciting for managers (closing deals is fun!), Dealers (more $$), and customers (who would always prefer working directly with a manager anyway!). Start by limiting “office time” and prioritizing “floor time”, set minimum expectations for managers being involved in each deal (at meet and great, presenting appraisal numbers, 2nd pencil, etc.), and make sure they are following the process just like salespeople are expected to do. The only reason to promote a great salesperson to a manager is to get them in front of more customers, otherwise they should stay on the floor!