Best PracticesDealership Operations & Processes

Gravy Should Be the Meal – Sales Tip #1

The word “Gravy” is used in sales when something extra happens that is a benefit to you. It’s something that wasn’t expected, or additional profit that was made beyond the structured deal.

In automotive retail, for instance, the majority of salespeople’s sold deals come from customers walking onto the showroom floor, being greeted, and subsequently buying a vehicle. If a customer is given to them from the Business Development Center or Internet team, it is considered Gravy. Likely a deal the salesperson wouldn’t have obtained otherwise.

If they conveniently catch a phone up and, with little enticing, that shopper ends up coming in and buying, they consider that sale – Gravy.

Here is a sales tip: Gravy should be your meal, not just the extra dressing you get on top of your monthly commissions. The moment a salesperson recognizes that their phone skills alone can single-handedly produce unlimited appointments and sales for them, they’ll learn that it pays much better than waiting on a random customer to step foot in the showroom. So long as they can take phone calls, the gravy boat is in their hands.

Same thing goes with Internet customers. The majority of dealers generate considerably more Internet leads than phone leads. As soon as a salesperson begins embracing these shoppers, putting an emphasis on how much work they should put into their online conversations, the minute more gravy will find its way onto their plate.

With enough Internet leads, phone ups, and chat opportunities, any well-trained salesperson can easily make a very filling meal on that gravy alone. When their skills on the phone and email supersede their abilities to be the first to shake a customer’s hand, their palate (and paycheck) will change completely. Their entire meal will be made up of gravy, and they won’t have time (or even crave) anything else.

Even in stores where leads and calls don’t make their way to salespeople themselves, they can still hone their proficiency at taking care of these shoppers’ in-store experience (which shouldn’t be too far off from their online shopping experience). Either way, it will strengthen their prowess to work with researched shoppers.

Much talk has been made about the mystical “Internet Dealership.” This nomenclature needs to be changed. Almost all dealerships now are “Internet Dealerships”, however, the term is meant to represent stores that distribute all leads, calls, texts, and chats to each and every sales agent on the floor. The concept is, if all shoppers are online, our entire team must have the expertise to handle them throughout the lifecycle of their shopping journey.

It is a noble cause, just one that I haven’t seen much success from without at least some discrepancy in profit leakage.

In the end, though, it is the direction dealerships must begin working toward, and it starts with improving the deftness of your sales team’s phone, email, and communication skills. Teach them the recipe needed to make the best gravy, and you’ll soon find you have the makings of a prosperous, thankful team.

Automotive trainer and consultant. I'm also a writer, speaker, movie buff, and Dad. --President of DealerKnows--