I love using football analogies to help dealerships connect tactics that may be beneficial to their teams. More importantly, to their customer's experience. We are several weeks into the NFL preseason and Labor Day Weekend starts, in earnest, tomorrow.
So here comes yet another "football imitates life" blog post. I hope there are some quick takeaways to optimize your team for this weekend as well!
NFL training camps stress the importance of "reps".
NFL rosters are built up by offense, defense, and special teams. Then, they're broken down even further by position with each unit also having their own coaches. During training camp these position players spend incredible amounts of time running the same drills, over and over again ("reps"), ensuring that every stance, tackle, block and throw become muscle memory.
As the Bleacher Report puts it, "an NFL team wants to find a perfect harmony between quality reps in training camp and the perfect quantity". Their goal is to assimilate the rookies as quickly as possible to their system while allowing the veterans to evolve their skills, all through the rigors of preseason training camp reps.
Every team has their playbook.
The goal is to have this team, that they have invested in so heavily, that can execute plays flawlessly. Every second of every game. In a previous blog, How to Get Your Dealership to Move as a Team, we discuss how to apply the same goal to your dealership.
But this one is about the small stuff - the "reps".
You may be the person who's responsible for managing a team at your store. What do your "reps" look like? As a leader, are you working with your team regularly to ensure they execute your game plan with razor-like precision? Or is it a daily struggle to get to the goal line of that exceptional customer experience?
It comes down to process and accountability.
Managers are responsible for grooming your sales people to be prepared, everyday, to perform at their best. They are accountable to you in regards to knowing their playbook and ensuring they strive to meet the team's end goal.
But that only happens with reps. Teaching the dealership's desired tactics and practicing them, over and over again, until it becomes second nature.
A great way to ensure that your team's reps pay off is by employing a managed floor in the dealership. We've been quite vocal in the debate over managed vs. traditional open floors. We feel, if you truly want your team to excel, a managed floor is the only way.
Building the Game Plan
Let's breakdown your position players and look at how to build a simple yet effective game plan, based on "reps", that will work day in and day out.
There's a slight difference between the gridiron and the showroom. Football players play one position and one position only (typically). However, YOUR team is going to learn to evolve into multi-position experts!
Your game (day/shift) begins with roster lined up into an organized queue. The offense is responsible for direct engagement and the defense protects.
Offense (2 positions)
1. "On Point" Person - Ready to greet the next customer who walks into the showroom or greets them in the parking lot (whichever you prefer). Not distracted by phones, computers or other dealership business. One focus, one customer.
2. "On Deck" - Keeps the "On Point" Person accountable to be focused on the walk-in. Whenever they see the "On Point" person engage, it's their job to ensure the manager/team is aware of the new customer and then, move into the "On Point" position.
Defense (multiple-position players across core areas)
3. Scout Team - Some of those positioned lower in the queue, on defense, should be using the time at their desks to ensure the CRM is being utilized and up to date. Nothing makes a playbook stronger than having great data that can be leveraged further for the entire team to be successful
4. Block & Tackle - Others on defense should be "protecting the house" by working on internet and phone leads. If your dealership is with/without a BDC, ensure the team's email and phone skills are sharp enough to keep prospective customers (and existing customers for that matter) coming in to your showroom.
5. This group has honed it's skill set to be in a purely appointment based culture. They are not needed in the offensive queue. Their part of the dealership's playbook is to keep their appointments in as seamless a process as possible. Ensuring they employ their years of reps mixed with a deep understanding of what creates referral business and, in the process, providing excellent CX (customer experience).
Now, if the front lines need help or a player goes down, Special Team players should always be ready to play offense or defense.
Managing a game is managing your floor. If you don't have a playbook in place that focuses on the entire team and focuses on the reps that are needed day in and out to get everyone on the same page, then you lose more than you win.
That's on you. Not your owner, not your staff.
And we all know what usually happens to those NFL coaches that can't get the most out of those reps with their players now don't we...