The CPSA is lucky to have many of the top Sales and Leadership experts as guest bloggers and supporters. One such well-known thought leader is Mat Koenig.
Mat Koenig is the CEO of Buscador de Auto and KoningCo. He is an author, Father and public speaker. When he isn’t traveling the country helping the best get better, he spends his time relaxing at home in Kalamazoo, Michigan. Koenig is also the co-founder of the Rockstar Auto Conference with Christopher Speer. Let’s hear from Mat Koenig.
Q: Tell us about yourself; your career path and expertise.
A: I started my sales career selling door to door water conditioning units at 17 years of age. I moved into automotive sales at 18 years old and stayed on the retail side of automotive running through all areas of management and ending my retail career as an Automotive Sales Trainer. In the mid-2000's, I shifted to the vendor side working to help Cars.com grow their brand and teaching their sales team how to work with auto dealers.
After leaving Cars.com, I launched Edmunds.com's direct to dealer program. It had been a smashing success as well, but my passion was to help companies improve their sales and marketing in new and different ways. In 2011, I began working on that dream and launched my company, KonigCo. Since then I've been able to start another company with my friend and business partner Tim Bartholomew called Buscador de Auto. With this company, we provide Spanish language websites and classified listings for auto dealers to use as tools to connect with Hispanic buyers.
Q: You’re quite popular within the sales community, and you write some great content. How long has your blog been going now?
A: This is a great question and in the traditional sense of the word, I would say I haven't been much of a blogger. That said, I've been sharing video content, and written content among my social networks like Twitter, YouTube, and Facebook for more than five years now. I also have written for some great publications like DealerSolutions Magazine and DealerMagazine.
Q: In your experience as a consultant for local car dealerships, how are they utilizing social media as a sales tool? Is it any different from various areas of sales?
A: The best dealers are getting the basics done right. They're making sure to have a Google My Business Page and a Facebook Page, and they focus on sharing content, not just advertisements, with the local community. Social media is just an extension of you, almost like having a place to show the world who you are. The big thing is making sure that if/when they visit your store that the experience lines up with who you've been telling them you are. Social isn't a platform for selling cars; it's more of a platform for "sharing" great information about cars and "oh, by the way, we have some great things if you happen to be in the market to buy..."
Q: Could you explain what text message leads are and its importance in sales?
A: Text messaging is one of the most under-utilized tools we have in the industry today. We have had the best success by using Text messaging as a way to entice customers to make contact. For example, when a person sees an ad that says "Save even more! Text SPANISH to 71441" it may prompt someone to text the code and find out what that special savings offer is. When that happens, they receive a digital coupon and a call from the customer service team at the dealership to make sure they received their coupon. Once that door is open, a dialogue can begin. The best part about this tool is that it gives your business the chance to connect with the consumer by phone and in most cases, before anyone else.
Q: How important are sales incentives to developing a culture of performance?
A: I'm not a fan of using incentives to develop performance because I believe great people always want to perform at their best. That being said, I think that it's ok to offer up incentives to help jump-start a promotion or move particular inventory as long as it's a fun add-on, not the expectation. The best way to develop a culture of performance is to staff your team with competitive professionals who serve people well and have a burning desire to see their name at the top of the board.
Q: Sales is known for having a high churn, do you agree that people leave managers and not companies, and how do you deal with feedback?
A: I really do agree with that statement most of the time. I think the biggest reason we have churn is that we have "managers" instead of LEADERS. People need to learn to lead if they want to stop turnover. Look at some of the most prolific leaders in history: Jesus, Martin Luther King Jr., Steve Jobs, Richard Branson...they had an impact on everyone they touched, but it's because of how they lead. They didn't wait to 'manage' issues, instead, they lead people to a place that was amazing.
Q: How does one figure out the right buyer profile of a product?
A: This is a tough question. I think a lot of people assume there is a particular profile, and if you track your sales you may be able to find patterns, but I believe most people purchase things because of a desire, not a necessity. If people bought out of necessity, we would all be wearing plain t-shirts and sweat pants and most of us would drive scooters or the cheapest car possible. But here we are in Mercedes-Benz wearing watches that cost more than cars. The best thing we can do is promote to all, track information based on who responds, narrow that down and promote to a more to a more targeted audience, and keep repeating this cycle.
Q: What factors go into a winning sales cycle?
A: In my opinion a winning sales cycle looks like this: (6 stages)
1. Care about serving the person in front of you.
2. Listen to their wants needs and desires and ask good questions.
3. Demonstrate your product in a way that highlights how it serves their wants needs and desires.
4. Give them a chance to say yes by writing up a proposal.
5. Handle any concerns as they arise, actively seek out more concerns to handle, then give them more opportunities to say yes.
6. Follow up religiously so you're top of mind when they want to make another purchase.
Ultimately, sales aren't rocket science. It's showing people that we do care about them with our actions.
Q: What’s the best advice you can give to someone just starting off in sales?
A: The best advice is to focus on serving people well. People know if you care about them or about making a quick buck. Also, don't be afraid to let people know that you don't work for free. If you provide a good service, you should be compensated well. Plus, when you make a good living you can afford to take care of people great too!
Mat Koenig is the CEO of Buscador de Auto and KonigCo. He is an author, father, and public speaker.
When he isn't traveling the country helping the best get better, he spends his time relaxing at home in Kalamazoo, Michigan.
He is also the co-founder of the Rockstar Auto Conference with Christopher Speer. Learn more about attending at http://rockstarautoconference.com