Q: Help! I have a good group of young sales associates who seem to be stagnating. Do you have any motivational tips I can use in my next sales meeting?
— Mark H., independent rental operator, Fort Worth, Texas
A: Ted Williams once said, “History is made on the inside corner of the plate.” All great salespeople and sales managers push themselves to do something outside their comfort zone — whether it is presenting to a large group, reviewing results in front of senior executives or constructively coaching a negative sales associate.
The sales leader who looks for these types of opportunities will grow. Have your sales team ask themselves the following questions:
What new activity have I delivered that made me lose sleep the night before?
What new project forced me to re-learn skill sets and processes?
What new professional contacts have I built that made me want to be a better person?
How often did I go 100% all out, try my hardest, prepare completely but still failed?
If your sales associates are having a hard time finding answers or coinciding experiences to the questions above, now is the time to challenge themselves.
By not doing this, they are embracing mediocrity. Most things that are worth achieving will be out of someone’s comfort zone.
Q: I'm concerned that my counter staff is not doing enough to make sure our cars won't be stolen. How can I convey this urgency to them?
— Matt J. Paul, O'Leary Leasing, Chicago
A: As an operator, you understand the impact that one converted car can have on your profit and loss statement. In many cases, the write-off of one or two cars can mean the difference between being in the black or being in the red.
Utilizing these techniques and coaching exercises for your team can help convey urgency:
Explain how thin the margins are. Show your team that if your operation, in a good year, posts a 5% profit margin, the loss of a $25,000 vehicle will need $500,000 in top line revenue to repay or offset that loss.
In many cases, it is the manager’s responsibility to dispel the notion that car rental owners have a magic Xerox machine that prints money. Ask your team how much of each dollar generated in time and revenue drops to the bottom line?
Build the value of the frontline’s role. Stressing the importance of their role in the operation and as a “frontline risk manager” will help them change their mindset. Make statements that create urgency, such as “the best line of defense against vehicle theft and fraud is a good corporate social responsibility.” Get your team involved with working the “watch list” for overdue renters.
Offer the correct incentives and measurements. Provide your team with an incentive if zero cars are stolen throughout the year. Provide updated statistics on the number of vehicles overdue versus total rentable fleet. Creating this ratio makes it easier for the frontline team to understand the impact vagrant renters have on their fleet and the operation’s availability.
Please note that some operators do not feel comfortable being open about their fleet statistics, but sharing these statistics helps build the frontline’s view of their value and creates a “knowledge is power” mindset.
Educate your team on terms and conditions of the rental agreement and local laws. Share with your team how the law protects you and them as an operation. Remind them that rental agreements and laws are established because someone in the past took advantage of the system and acted illegally.