Tag Archives: training

Armed with ALL the knowledge; customers are still SCARED!

Today’s customers have access to an abundance of knowledge.

They can get on their computer or smart phone and see what the cost of a New Vehicle is.

They can appraise their own trade.

They can see what the lowest interest rates are.

They can do side by side comparisons with vehicles they are looking at.

They can check for the vehicles safety and reliability.

They can check how much insurance costs will be.

They can pretty much check on ANYTHING and EVERYTHING about the transaction!

Customers CAN, and in most cases DO, come armed with a LOT of knowledge before they enter the showroom floor.

BUT………they are still scared!

What are they scared of?

They are scared that they will still pay too much for the vehicle, not get enough for their trade, pay too high a payment, pay too high of an interest rate and most of all…….they are scared that they bought the wrong vehicle!

You see, even armed with ALL of the knowledge, there will always be some doubt by the customer that they are making the correct decision.

THIS is where YOU, the Sales Professional, can make a difference!

As a Sales Professional, you have to sell the product, the Dealership and YOU!!!!

“YOU”, make the difference in the sales transaction!!

Customers want to deal with someone that is knowledgeable, professional, and courteous…… and most of all……LIKE-ABLE!!!

So how do you get to become, “like-able”??

The formula is rather simple.


Ask questions…….

That’s it……ask questions…and a lot of them!

LISTENING to the customer!!!!

You see the art of building rapport and knowing what a customer REALLY wants is the key to closing more deals!

The best closers do one thing better than everyone else! They ask the MOST questions.

When you ask questions, you get a better perspective of what the customer’s wants and needs are.

You get a better perspective of how they are going to use the vehicle.

You get a better perspective of what they “have to have’ and what they would “like to have”.

You get a better perspective of the information that the customer already has.

This is where, “YOU”, can make the difference!

YOU have to have extensive product knowledge of not just your own product, but the competitions product.

YOU have to have the ability to sell the advantages of your product over the competition.

YOU have to be able to know all of the 3rd party websites that are giving these customers their information! Websites such as, Edmunds, Truecar, NADA, KBB, NHTSA, IIHS, Consumer Reports, TheCarConnection, CarData, CarInfo, DealerNet…..the list goes on and on…..

YOU have to have the confidence and conviction of knowing HOW to overcome your customer’s objections with the correct knowledge and information to help them make the correct decision.

YOU can give the customer confidence that they are making the correct decision by purchasing your product!!!

The NUMBER ONE complaint of all customers in regards to the Sales experience is;

“The Salesperson wasted my time!”

The reason the customer feels that the Salesperson wasted their time was that the Salesperson didn’t listen to the customers wants and needs.

The Salesperson didn’t know their product.

The Salesperson didn’t give a good demonstration.

The Salesperson was not trustworthy.

As a Sales Professional, you have to make the customer feel comfortable and confident about their purchase!

The ONLY way you can make the customer feel this way is by becoming the very best at what you do!

Product knowledge, competitions products, comparisons, selling your products advantages, demonstrating, building value, practicing, drilling rehearsing….and……asking a LOT of questions!

Customers are armed with a lot of knowledge, yet they are still scared!

YOU can make the difference by putting all of the customer’s fears aside and making sure you give them the most professional presentation they will ever see!

If “YOU” can put the customers fears aside…..YOU will make the sale!!!


About the Author: From a Salesperson to a Dealer, I have a vast amount of experience in all areas of the automotive environment.

You can follow me on:

My website:  

Twitter: @jimkristoff

WordPress blogsite:

Blogspot blog:

Automotive Digital



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Posted by on October 13, 2011 in Archive of all blogs


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Go ahead….Embrace FAILURE!

Baseball is America’s game. It provides thrills, strategy, suspense, heroics and athleticism all in one.

As of the writing of this article, (September 22, 2011) the batting average for ALL Major League players stand at .255.

That translates into 255 hits for every 1000 at bats.

The player that has the highest batting average is Adrian Gonzalez of the Boston Red Sox. Mr. Gonzalez is currently hitting .340, or 340 hits for every 1000 at bats.

Adrian Gonzalez is also among the top ten highest paid players in ALL of Major League Baseball with an annual salary of $21 million dollars per season!

So the very best hitter in ALL of Major League Baseball…..FAILS 66% of the time!

Mr. Gonzalez gets paid $21 million dollars a season to fail 66% of the time! The rest of the players in Major League Baseball also make millions failing at an even higher rate!

If the average player hits .255, the average failure rate is 74.5%!!

I find it rather astonishing that these same figures translate directly into closing percentages on an automotive showroom floor!

Failure is part of the game whether you are playing baseball or closing deals on the showroom floor.

In order to succeed in either, you have to embrace failure!

Failure is the opportunity to begin again more intelligently!

When Adrian Gonzalez does NOT get a hit, do you think he sulks and whines about it??


What Mr. Gonzalez does is analyze what just happened at that at bat.

  • He studies video of how the pitcher pitches to him and how he reacts
  • He studies his swing to see if there were flaws
  • He reads charts of what pitches the pitcher throws at certain times
  • He confers with coaches and mentors to help him get better
  • He doesn’t allow himself to get angry or upset
  • He practices, drills and rehearses relentlessly in an effort to get better

Mr. Gonzalez fully understands that he cannot get a hit every time he goes up to bat. He also understands he must embrace the failure and learn from it so the next time he goes to bat he does so with better knowledge and the correct attitude!

So now I ask the sales professionals in the room…..what is your batting average (closing percentage)???

Are you capable of raising your batting average to the highest in the dealership??

What will you do to raise your batting average???

Will you:

  • Study your own product knowledge?
  • Study the competitions product to know what they offer as compared to yours?
  • Practice rapport building?
  • Practice the steps on the road to the sale?
  • Practice overcoming the objection you have a hard time overcoming?
  • Know what your batting average is with all customers, i.e. first time customers, be-back customers, referral customers and repeat customers?
  • Practice your presentation skills?
  • Practice your demonstration drive route and conversation?
  • Choose to have the correct attitude every single day?
  • Not allow yourself to get down on yourself, angry or upset?
  • Allow YOUR coaches to help you get better?
  • Practice, drill and rehearse every single day without fail and no exceptions??

As you can see….failure is part of the game…..EMBRACE IT!

Learn from the failures and know that they are surely going to come!

They say you don’t drown by falling in the water… drown by STAYING in the water!


Don’t wait to get started on raising your batting average!

Only YOU can control your own outcome. Don’t wait for anyone to help you or get you started.


Only YOU know what your strengths and shortcomings are!

Attack your shortcomings like Adrian Gonzalez attacks the baseball!

You will see your batting average rise and your income soar!!!


About the Author: From a Salesperson to a Dealer, I have a vast amount of experience in all areas of the automotive environment.

You can follow me on:

My website:  

Twitter: @jimkristoff

WordPress blogsite:

Blogspot blog:

Automotive Digital



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Posted by on September 22, 2011 in Archive of all blogs


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Solve any problem!

How can you solve ANY problem that you might have???

There is a very simple process…to solving any and all problems…

The process… is basically 4 steps…

And you are going to need to write out your answers…to every step of the process…

So get yourself some paper and a pen…or type it out on your computer…



Write along the top…what your problem or situation is…

Like I said…it can be any kind of problem or situation… either personal or business related…

The first step…is to picture or reason out…AND write this down… the best possible outcome to the situation…

What is the best possible thing that can happen??

Don’t limit your thinking on this!

Go ahead and think of the best possible solution…

Remember…to get… what you have never gotten…you must do… what you have never done…

The greatest danger for most of us…is not that we aim too high and miss it…but that we aim too low…and we reach it…


The second step in the process is…what are we doing now???

What is the present situation?

What are we currently doing about the problem or situation?

Are we doing anything…or nothing??

Write down what you are currently doing…or what is happening with the situation at hand…

It is important to take a look at the difference…between step one and step two…

Step one…what is the best possible solution…and step two…what are we doing now…

Is there a big difference??

There probably is…

Step three….

What are the obstacles that are keeping you from reaching the ultimate solution???

Is it a person?

A process?

A team or a group?

Your boss?

A family member?

Technology…or a lack of it…

Your own laziness…or ego?

What are the obstacles that are standing in your way???

Write them down…and don’t leave any out…

These obstacles are the things that are standing in your way of reaching your ultimate solution…

Identify them…so you can take the necessary steps in overcoming these obstacles…

Now… you have the groundwork to solve the problem or situation…

You can envision what the best possible solution could be…step one….

You have acknowledged what you are doing now…step two…

AND…you have identified what the obstacles are to reaching your ultimate solution…step three…

You are now ready for step four…

Step four iswhen do you want to get started…and…be resilient in your quest to reach the ultimate solution???

(hint: START NOW!!)

You see…processing a problem out…and then trying to reach…what you believe…is the ultimate solution…takes time and effort…

And make no mistake about it…you may not reach the ultimate solution…

But by trying…by reaching…by pursuing…that ultimate solution…you are bound to be far ahead of what you are doing now…

I will leave you with one of my favorite quotes…

This quote is from T.E. Lawrence… from…Seven Pillars of Wisdom…written in 1926…

The quote is this:

All men dream…


But not equally…


Those who dream by night…in the dusty recesses of their minds…wake in the day…to find it was vanity…


But the dreamers of the DAY…are dangerous men…


For they may act their dream with open eyes…and make it possible….

Follow these four steps…with open eyes…and make it happen…

To see a video of this blog, please go to the following link:

Jim Kristoff video – Solve any problem


About the Author: From a Salesperson to a Dealer, I have a vast amount of experience in all areas of the automotive environment.

You can follow me on:

My website:  

Twitter: @jimkristoff

WordPress blogsite:

Blogspot blog:

Automotive Digital



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Posted by on September 9, 2011 in Archive of all blogs


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How low will you go? – Minimum acceptable standards

Does your organization have minimum acceptable standards…for your salespeople and Managers??

Standards… that are the very least amount that is acceptable…and still retain your job?

Now…every good organization has goals and aspirations…

And every good organization… has the statistics on what the benchmark numbers are and what the average numbers are…

But do they have minimum standards…that all employees must adhere to??

Let me give you a couple of examples…

Let’s say you have a Salesperson selling new and pre-owned vehicles…

Nationwide…the average amount of vehicles sold per salesperson ranges from 8 to 10 vehicles per month…

You have given this salesperson all of the training…motivation…and inspiration… you can possibly give them…

But they cannot sell more than 4 vehicles per month??

Why do organizations keep them…if they cannot perform their jobs??

Or what about a service advisor…after all…they are salespeople too…

What if they can’t meet the minimum standards of hours per repair order…or dollars per repair order…

What are the minimum amount of “upsales” that are required over a month’s period of time??

How about your management team??

What are their minimums???

Total sales??

Average gross per sale??

A percentage of increase in business??

And is there minimum acceptable Customer Satisfaction numbers…required for continued employment??

This is why an organization needs to develop…minimum acceptable standards…within the frame of their pay plans…

The minimum standards perform a couple of tasks…

Number one…it clearly states to the person…what the minimum standards are…to remain in your organization…

Number two…with the standards in place…and a constant review of the employee…there will be no surprises when we have to eventually let this person go…

Number three…the standards will not discriminate…between race…religion…or gender…it is simply the minimum amount that is acceptable over a certain period of time…

It plays no favorites… is completely black and white…and easy to understand…

The minimum standards… should be just that…the minimum that is required to remain in your organization…

It provides… just the right amount of pressure to perform…

And are clear and easy to understand…

It is very important to share all of the pertinent numbers with your people…

So that they have an understanding of how the organization has set the minimum standards…to where they are…

The employee needs to see what the industry average numbers are…and what the best of the best are able to do…the benchmark numbers…

Only by sharing and explaining…what your minimum standards are…and how the organization derived those numbers…

Can the employee then know… what the responsibilities…and requirements… of the job are…

These minimums must be reviewed on an ongoing basis…to make sure that they are fair …and timely….

Minimum acceptable Standards…isn’t it time you had them???

To see a video of this blog, please go to the following link:

Jim Kristoff Video – Minimum acceptable standards

About the Author: From a Salesperson to a Dealer, I have a vast amount of experience in all areas of the automotive environment.

You can follow me on:

My website:  

Twitter: @jimkristoff

WordPress blogsite:

Blogspot blog:

Automotive Digital




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Posted by on August 16, 2011 in Archive of all blogs


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Do you know what motivates every individual?

As a leader…do you know what motivates every individual in your organization??

Do you know why each individual comes to work each day…and earns a living working with you??

What are the driving forces behind each individual…that makes them get up every morning…fight the traffic…and come to work for your organization??

I can tell you…if you don’t take the time to see what motivates every individual in your organization…you will not succeed at a high level…

There are several motivations that a human being has…that drives them to do the things they want to do…and it isn’t all money…

Here are a few of the things that motivate people to do… what they do…not in any certain order…

Number one…is a person that wants consistency…

They want the feeling of being certain… that they have a fulfilling job…and that they are stable within it…

This type of person doesn’t like a lot of change in their lives…they feel comfortable in knowing that their lives are the same…pretty much every day…

Number two…is a person that thrives on change…

They love the daily challenge of something new and fresh…

They would get bored with the “same old routine”…day in and day out…

This type of person…lives for the unknown…and needs the constant stimulation… that the unknown provides…

Number three…is a person that needs to feel important…or special…

They always want to feel needed…and play a significant part… in any situation…

They strive to be an important player in your organization…and they want to be recognized for it…

Number four…is a person that needs to feel a closeness or a union with someone or something…

They need to feel loved…and have a connection…in both their business and personal lives…

Without that love…they feel disconnected…and alone…

Number five…is a person that has that insatiable desire to grow…and expand their world…

They want all of the latest technologies…and they want to be able to use them…

They want to acquire…all of the knowledge the world has to offer…and then apply it to expand their capacity in life…

And finally…number six…is a person that wants to be a true leader…

This person wants to contribute to the betterment of society…

They have a sense of service… and focus on helping…giving…and supporting others…

This type of person knows…that it is not about crossing the finish line first…but rather…how many can I take across the finish line with me…

A person can be any or all of these things…

They can have one…two…three…four…five…or a combination of all of these traits…

In order to lead your organization…to its highest level…you…as a leader…need to know what motivates each and every one of your employees…

Knowing what motivates an individual…and then leveraging that motive…will help you maximize that person to their greatest potential…

And then…you will have succeeded in being that true leader…knowing that you have identified what is important to someone…and then helping them fulfill their ambitions on their own level…

To see a video of this blog, please go to the following link:

Jim Kristoff video – Do you know what motivates every individual

About the Author: From a Salesperson to a Dealer, I have a vast amount of experience in all areas of the automotive environment.

You can follow me on:

My website:  

Twitter: @jimkristoff

WordPress blogsite:

Blogspot blog:

Automotive Digital



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Posted by on August 2, 2011 in Archive of all blogs


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How do you Develop Leaders?

How do you develop leaders in your business??

First of all, I think it is important to get EVERYONE to understand….that they are ALL leaders.

This is a tough concept for some people. Maybe they feel like the average employee out there, just doing what they are told and moving forward in life…..

But the fact is…..we are ALL leaders!!

Whether we lead an organization….. or a team of people…… or our families…..and most importantly….we lead ourselves….

We lead ourselves out of bed every morning with the responsibilities of the world in front of us.

We need to provide for ourselves….. before we can provide for our families and then provide for our careers…

There is a survey of people acrossAmericaout there that was performed by the Harr group……

Now in this survey, thousands of people felt that they worked very hard at their jobs, but they worried about their effectiveness…..

The survey revealed this……

Only 14% are accomplishing as much as they believe they could…….14%…….do you think the employees believe they can do more???  Of course….

Only 17% could prepare a plan for the day….17%……….now that leaves 83% with NO plan…..YIKES!!

And rewards of working…. are low……… only 50% feel satisfied and fulfilled with their work…..

So what does this tell us???

There is a clear void to be filled in the leadership gap….

Make no mistake about it……people want to lead and be led……

People want to feel significance in their lives……

So how do you develop this leader inside that we all crave to be???

Well…..leadership development occurs over time….

It is not a one shot program…..

There are no instant 3 day courses that will transform someone into a leader….

It is an every day…..non…stop……journey through personal development…

Let me give you a simple equation….

Knowledge   =   confidence….

When you feel confident with what you do…… and do it to your greatest potential….it is very fulfilling…

Giving a person simple leadership tools such as….

Goal setting…

Having a daily plan……

Practice….drill…and rehearse….

Being process driven….

Holding yourself and others accountable…

Doing everything legally….ethically ….and morally correct…

Setting aside 15 minutes a day to further their own skill set….whether that be motivational…..inspirational….factual…or educational………

The point is….you don’t ever get a “buy in” from people… a matter of fact…I dislike the term….no one “buys in”….you have to SELL them…

You have to sell them on the facts that the only way to get ahead in life and feel fulfilled is to lead yourself to a higher level….

You need to give them all the tools…. The resources….and most of all….you need someone there to mentor them on a daily basis…

That is the job of the head person in charge…you lead from the top….

And if you lead from the top…..the rest falls into place….

To see a video of this blog, please go to the following link:

Jim Kristoff Website – How do you Develop Leaders?

About the Author: From a Salesperson to a Dealer, I have a vast amount of experience in all areas of the automotive environment.

You can follow me on:

My website:  

Twitter: @jimkristoff

WordPress blogsite:

Blogspot blog:

Automotive Digital



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Posted by on August 1, 2011 in Archive of all blogs


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Great Leaders know it is ALL about the people!

Great leaders understand more than anything that it is ALL about the people…..

The people… are the driving force of any organization…..

Don’t believe it???

Go ahead and hire some bad ones and let me know how that works out…..

Seriously though….great leaders understand that they need to build professional relationships with each and every one of the employees….

Now…..I’m not talking about “best friends” kind of relationships….

I am talking about building a professional relationship with each person.

Great leaders find out exactly what motivates each individual…..

Every single person in this world has a different “map” of how they are put together……

People are raised in different parts of the Country….with different parents….who by the way have their own maps….

People are raised in different religions….

in different cultures….

With different friends….

Have different interests….

and most importantly…..

all have different driving forces of why they get up out of bed every morning..

Great leaders have interaction with the people…… every day…..great leaders find out what makes that individual…”tick”

Great leaders understand that by building rapport in a professional relationship…..that leader can then leverage that employee by giving them the proper feedback in a way that will be most receptive to that employee…

Think about it….

Some people love the recognition…

Some people love the challenge …

Some people like the certainty that goes with a particular project….

Some people just want to feel that… they “belong”

Some people want to continually grow….

You see….different motives… and different emotions…. drives all of us in what we do.

While figuring all of this out may seem to be a little difficult to do…..I know one thing…

If you ask a person exactly what they are thinking and how they are feeling….they will tell you…

But you first have to build a culture of honesty…..respect and integrity with that individual….

If you set the expectations clearly….and high enough….

Provide the employee with ALL of the tools and training that is necessary to perform the task….

And THEN…..give straight forward and honest feedback… will earn that individuals respect and trust….

As a leader….it is your job to mentor and train the leaders of tomorrow….

It starts by understanding the employee….understanding what their own individual driving motive is…

And then nurture it and watch it grow….

Your organization will be a better place and you as a leader will be fulfilled…..

To see a video of this blog, please go to the following link:

Jim – Great Leaders know it is ALL about the people

About the Author: From a Salesperson to a Dealer, I have a vast amount of experience in all areas of the automotive environment.

 You can follow me on:

 My website:  

Twitter: @jimkristoff

WordPress blogsite:

Blogspot blog:

Automotive Digital



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Posted by on July 27, 2011 in Archive of all blogs


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