There’s something comforting about eating freshly baked bread slathered in butter. I’d never thought about making my own bread until a few months ago when I took up baking. Every loaf needs three basic ingredients: flour, water, and yeast. There can be some variations to those ingredients, but whatever the combination of ingredients, the measurements must be exact to work together and create something edible.
To make great bread or great sales, we just need to be patient and follow the process.
Patience is required at every stage, whether mixing, kneading, proving, or baking.
Making a Sale
Making bread is the same as making a sale. Sales people are the bakers, and the sales processes are the recipes. It doesn’t matter what we sell or who’s doing the selling, as long as the recipes are followed precisely, we have patience along the way, and we adjust our timing for various customers.
Following a bread recipe is like following the steps to the sale. If we leave out a step or get them out of order, we’re likely to have bad results. Sometimes the sales department doesn’t close the deal and the customer blows up in F&I. Other times F&I hurries through the paperwork and the deal goes sideways. Each step is important, and patience is required.
We can also over-work a customer by pushing them too hard or too long. Like the gluten that’s over-worked, our customers can break instead of stretch, which means we can lose the sale.
Dough can over-prove when left too long, and customers can too when we allow them too much time to think or don’t follow up at the appropriate times. When a customer over-proves, the sale goes flat. Sometimes we can recover the deal, but oftentimes we end up with no gross and sometimes no deal at all.
Customers have different baking times. Some customers know exactly what they want and make decisions quickly. Others need to spend some time thinking and analyzing. The key to baking bread is to know the time required, and the key to making a deal is to understand the customer’s needs.
Bread is a wonderful thing, and there’s a reason why we say customers are our bread and butter. To make great bread or great sales, we just need to be patient and follow the process.
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.