Clockwatching is the single most effective way to make a slow day longer. - Photo by ODV via Getty Images

Clockwatching is the single most effective way to make a slow day longer.

Photo by ODV via Getty Images

One of my dogs was trying to nap a few days ago, but he couldn’t get comfortable. He’d carried his dinner bowl Snoopy-style and it was now in the middle of his bed, crowding him. Instead of moving the bowl, stretching out, and sleeping comfortably, he’d relegated himself to a tiny portion of his bed.

I rolled my eyes at his stupidity — until I realized that many of us do the same thing in a human way.

We’re often our own worst enemies about our progress. We complain that we’re not making enough or that our PVR isn’t high enough or that our service contract penetration isn’t where we want it to be. But what do we really do to change those things? There we are, trying to take a nap on our dog beds, and the dinner bowl is in the way.

So how can we make ourselves better during our downtime?

1. Read Product Contracts.

How confident are you with your product knowledge? No matter how much you think you know, go back to basics. Pretend you’re a green pea again.

Ignore the brochures. Read the product contracts. Find three things about the product that you’re selling that you didn’t know or maybe didn’t remember. Can you add that to your presentation? Can you use them to help handle objections?

Maybe one of those three things is just what the next customer needs to hear to help make the decision to purchase.

2. Watch YouTube Videos.

There is a plethora of information out there on YouTube. Identify one of your struggling areas. Find a couple of videos. Listen to and watch what a colleague is doing. What do you like best about the presentation? What do you think you can emulate?

Your product penetration might bump 10% if you can pick up one mannerism or one phrase and use it effectively.

3. Roleplay.

I’ve been a Broncos fan many years and worked for John Elway five years. Elway won a couple of Super Bowls and was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. But he spent much more time practicing than he did playing.

Many of us hate roleplaying because we feel embarrassed having someone watch us, but it’s much better to practice on each other than on our customers.

Go grab a co-worker and present your menu. Don’t be afraid of honest feedback. They’ll tell you what your customers think but won’t say. Practice in front of a mirror, bore your spouse with your spiel, but go back to the basics.

Does your pitch sound like you’re just going through the motions, or does it sound like you’re interested in the wellbeing of your customer and want to present some protection options? Have a co-worker give you some objections we hear on a day-to-day basis. How do you respond to those?

Remember that the goal isn’t to win an argument; it’s to help educate your customer on protection options.

4. Attend Training or Conferences.

Our industry continuously changes, and our customers are more educated than ever. That means we have to learn and grow too. Try to attend some kind of training at least once a year.

The training could come from your dealership’s product provider, or you could attend an industry conference. You might have to put on your selling shoes to explain to the GM the benefit of your attendance, but you’re a good salesman, right?

Be a master of product knowledge, hone your delivery, and be a lifelong learner. Move the dog bowl off the bed and set yourself up for success.

About the author
Lori Church

Lori Church


Lori Church is an experienced F&I manager, a graduate of the University of Denver’s Sturm College of Law, and director of compliance for Holman Automotive.

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