Editor’s Note: Shawn Skaggs, president and CEO of Livingston Machinery Company, presented at the 2019 Dealership Minds Summit on Sales Strategy. Here’s an excerpt of that presentation in Skaggs own words.
Shawn Skaggs Livingston Machinery Co.
Employees: ≈ 100
I want to tell you about the story of the two wolves. There was once an old Cherokee native who told his grandson that inside of everyone are two wolves. One wolf is a good wolf that’s full of love, kindness and helpfulness, and the other is a bad wolf full of hate, greed and envy. Every day, those two wolves battle. His grandson looked at him and said, “But Grandfather, how do we know which wolf will win?” The grandfather replied, “The wolf that wins will be the one you feed.”
The same thing can be true of our sales teams. The kind of sales team you get depends on what you feed them. You could have a good sales team that understands their customers, buys their equipment right, knows their pipeline and are making trades that promote cash flow, or a sales team that does the opposite of those things.
Think about who else is feeding your sales team right now. Your manufacturers and customers, their coworkers and the media are all feeding the culture of your sales team. Sometimes what they feed them — by way of information, training or incentives — aligns with what your dealership wants, but sometimes, it doesn’t.
With all those different people feeding into the culture of your sales team, the onus is on you, the sales manager, to deliver more than they do. Feed your sales team, promote the culture that you want to promote and be active in doing that.
What should you feed your sales team in order to develop the culture that you want?
- Information – the data and financials on their sales and the company
- Affirmation – a pat on the back when they do things the right way
- Training – on the product, soft skills, etc.
- Incentives – bonuses, trips and gifts
- Process – teamwork and communication
It is also important to feed them your unique selling proposition on a regular basis. Your sales team should understand why your customers should buy from your dealership instead of your competitors.
You’ve got to feed them all of those things – more than once. Preach it like Charles Spurgeon preached the gospel. Charles Spurgeon was a famous Baptist preacher back in the 1800s. One day after his sermon, one of the people in his congregation asked, “Dr. Spurgeon, why do you preach the same gospel message every single Sunday?” He said, “Because one day, I believe that you’ll hear it.” Sometimes information goes in one ear and out the other if we don’t hear it more than once.
Another illustration of that comes from astrophysicist, Brian Keating, the author of a book called, Losing the Nobel Prize. Keating says, “People think I’m really smart, but I still have to sing the alphabet song to know which letter comes after Q.” If somebody as smart as Brian forgets what letter comes next, then it’s not surprising that we often need things repeated to us for it to become a part of what we do every day. We must remember the three Rs: Repeat and reinforce for results.
The last piece of advice that I’ll give you is to map out your feedings for your sales team. Find some way to write down what information you’re going to deliver, when you’re going to deliver it and how. If you plan out those ideas ahead of time, you'll be more likely to follow through.
How will the right one win if you don’t feed it?
Watch the full presentation here.
More information on the ‘Dealership Minds Summit 360-degree Sales: Actionable Strategies for the Farm Equipment Dealer’ will be available in the October/November 2019 Farm Equipment magazine.