Ted Ings’ Playbook: 10 Rules of Success

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By Ted Ings, Executive Director

It is no secret why successful sales consultants are at the top of their game leading the pack at their retailer.

They know how to both find and navigate new sales opportunities making the most out of them. This article, however, gives you the jump start you need with ten simple, actionable rules of success which can be applied to your daily life at the dealer.

Ted Ings’ 10 Rules of Success

Some people say it’s not possible to define success in universal terms, but I dare to disagree. Many of the lessons I learned in the automotive retail industry are applicable across a broad range of situations and are in agreement with scientific explanations I read long after I discovered them in everyday practice.

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Rules of success that I adhere to and will share with you are based on years of hands-on experience, and they are easy to apply no matter what you are selling. Of course, you should not try to copy anyone else’s style, but stealing a few tricks from the veterans might save you a lot of time and allow you to accomplish your goals faster and with fewer bumps on the road.

It won’t take you more than a few minutes to read these ten golden rules, yet you can use them for many years to boost your career and increase your earning. Let’s start with the most basic one:

  1. Fix your attitude

Coming into the dealership with a bad attitude will not enable you to have the right state of mind, which is imperative to be successful. To put it shortly, you need to take your state of mind seriously. Believing in yourself and the OEM you are selling. Staying committed to your monthly objectives, but most importantly keeping realistic objectives. Noting that if your previous months objective - for total sold units - did not come to fruition, ask yourself ‘why?’


Did you follow-up with your customers? Did you offer each one of your customers a VIP experience at the dealership? Did you take the time to go on the demo with each customer pointing out the features on the vehicle? Did you ask for the sale? If one or more of your answers were “no,” then you have to ask yourself the tough question: are you ready to succeed? This will enable to realize just how much a poor attitude can stand in the way.

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Once you get yourself centered, and into the right state of mind you can start the transition period, and look to improve yourself by addressing the actionable items you once said no to -  all of which will lead to a more successful month as you hit your objective. However, remember, the first objective is having the right state of mind. The rest will follow.

2. Pick your battles wisely

You had a bad month. Maybe two bad months. So instead of taking the time to figure out why, you blame the dealer. It must be the lack of new customer visits coming into the store, right? Not so fast, it takes time and dedication to become a seasoned sales consultant. And bouncing from one dealership to another - or trying a new job - does not give you enough time to become a master in all of those dealers or new business ventures.

Those sales consultants who are successful do not take no for an answer, working every possible opportunity given to them. They reflect and evaluate. Understanding how to pivot and learn how to get the sale. And for every one of their customers they sell a vehicle to they take that experience and use it as a learning opportunity. In many cases, the successful sales consultants - who stick with it - find their sweet spot early. But make no mistake, if you bounce from dealer to dealer or try to find a new industry you might spread your time and resources too thin to be proficient anywhere.


  3. Work an extra hour (or three). Do not let a set schedule define you

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This sounds like a given, but yet it has to be repeated. If you want to work 9-5PM daily, then this might not be the right job for you. And even if you already work 12 hours or more a day, but are just punching in then that, too, is just as ineffective. Look at each day as a new opportunity to make a sale happen.

This mindset will push you to stay one hour or so extra than of your competition. In that hour you could pick up an additional sale. This is easier, too, with a leader you will also motivate you to invest the additional effort. All having a positive impact on not just the dealers bottom line, but yours too! That is why you should always work to accomplish a goal not just punching in for the hours.

  4.  Manage your time efficiently

Today’s CRM’s offer extensive work-flow organizers. All of which are designed to assist you - the sales consultant - make the most out of the opportunities at hand. However, if you roll into work late - in a bad mood - and do not start making phone calls until 11 AM then you have already wasted the entire morning before deciding to get started.

The other time waster is the unnecessary goofing off - watching YouTube videos with your co-workers - or playing with your phone scrolling through social media. Instead of wasting those hours on non-productive tasks. Use that time to make the most of your organizer. Calling the customers whom you did not close. Sending them a video or personalized letter, which could have been accomplished in the hour you spent deciding on where to go to lunch at 10 AM in the morning. Especially considering you were due at the dealer at 8 AM but did not show up until after 9 AM. Time is money.


  5.  Do not look for excuses

The weather is terrible, and leads are down, they were not in the market, the list could go on forever. The bottom line is that if you are not in the right state of mind, the excuses can put you in a rut. A rut that hinders you from selling vehicles, which could also affect the sales consultants you are working with. Instead, you have to accept full responsibility for the outcomes you endure. Wherein, if you said the reason the customer did not purchase was that “they were not in the market”, then you have to accept the fact that there could have been a breakdown in the sales process. Taking a minute to trace your steps. Asking yourself if you went on the demo with the customer? Did you ask them for their business? Did they have a trade-in? All of these questions can help eliminate the excuses. Giving you invaluable insight as to which areas of the sales process you need assistance on. But make no mistake, you can always make an excuse, yes. But excuses do not get results. Action, determination, and the right state of mind get results.

  6.  Embrace challenges

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You might be terrible on the phone fumbling through the sales process. Okay, we all have to improve, right? More often than not the sales consultant might say “I am just not good with phones. So I will just wait for a customer visit,” which is not the mindset of the top sales consultants. Instead, they would embrace the phones - taking advantage of every training platform available. Looking at what part of the phone conversation breaks them down. Noting what they need to do to get better results. One of the ways to embrace the challenge is to role play. Whether that is with your co-worker or your family.  Where instead of talking about what is for lunch at 10 AM you are role-playing your last sales call where you were not able to secure the sales appointment or get their contact information. That is embracing the challenge with the right state of mind.

  7.  Think “outside of the box”

If an idea comes to mind, which could be the way you put together a follow-up video, email marketing, social media marketing, letters, to name a few - run with it! The more unique you are in approaching the sale, the better off you will be. Think about, those who are successful in sales leave an impact on the customer. In which the customer - more often than not - remembers not just their name, but will bring them additional business! So instead of thinking an idea is a stupid work with it. That does not say all ideas will come to fruition, but it will help you define who you are and how you approach the sales process.

  8.  Respect your customers

Customer experience (CX) is a defining factor of every successful enterprise. This, however, is especially true in sales. Where you have less than one minute to make that first impression with your customer. Those Sales Consultants that are successful can put their personal feelings and emotions at bay when at work. As if you bring your woes to the store that can and will affect your ability to connect with the customer. That includes body language. Make sure to avoid putting your hands in your pockets or crossing your arms.

The other thing to be mindful of is that your customer has several options. Therefore, their experience has to be more than just getting a low price. Noting, that you cannot treat your customer as a “transaction,” knowing that you might only get a flat rate for selling them a vehicle. Where you have to remember this is most likely the second largest purchase a customer makes in their lifetime. One of the best examples of this is when the customer visits the store an hour before close. Where it could be so tempting just to let them go or try and hurry them out the door. But a successful sales consultant would not be antsy or anxious. Taking their time with the customer assuming the close as they work their way through the sales process. Knowing that customers are not visiting the dealership - spending their free time - to kick tires. The customer is in the market to purchase only visiting less than two dealerships before making the purchase.

  9.  Diversify the risk

If you think that all of your customers will be new visits to the dealership, think again. It is never a good idea - in any business - to put all of your eggs in one basket. The top sales consultants are always diversifying their lead pipeline through digital marketing (social media; email blasts), traditional marketing (mailers; letters), and referrals - as the top sales consultants know that if they can work the lead pipeline from multiple avenues their chances of closing additional deals greatens.

One of the best ways of diversifying the risk (as mentioned in think outside the box) is getting creative. Where instead of looking at a failed approach as a mistake. Look at it as an opportunity to improve and refine your efforts. Understanding that this is how the top sales consultants learn quick, pivot, and move unto the next idea taking their failures as learning experiences.

If you still are scratching your head, its okay - but one of the prime examples of “diversifying the risk” is the lead boom. The boom that provided dealers hundreds of form fill leads back in the early 08 - 12 years. Whereas the other dealers caught onto the digital marketing trends - responsive sites to name one - making the competition got that much harder. So for those top sales consultants who pivoted and moved onto refining the traditional approach to lead pipelines might have gone back to get those referrals! Selling a vehicle to a referral from one of their many happy customers they worked with over the years.

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  10.  Be Persistent – and don’t quit!

Quitting is the easy way out. However, in hindsight, it might be harder just to quit because when we quit - without trying - we cannot learn from our mistakes. So instead of quitting, be patient, but practical. If you see that your current approach is not working or that you do not have enough sales opportunities to hit your objectives you need to step back and ask yourself the following: am I closing enough of the opportunities? How many calls, emails or texts is it taking me to get ahold of the customer? What is the one thing I am doing right when I sell the vehicle?


All of these questions will assist you in refining your approach to the sales process. However, it is also just as important to ask for help or guidance. However, first, make sure to try self-correct - looking for resources and tips online - so that when you do seek guidance, it is with both merit and purpose. Where if you have the right mindset and are willing to learn from your experiences than you, too, will reap the awards of being a top sales consultant.

Now that you know Ted’s 10 Rule of Success, all that’s left is to go out there and prove me right by earning more than before.

Start gradually with those that make the most sense to you, and you will soon realize your financial indicators are trending in the right direction. All of the tips listed in this guide can be combined with other, more specialized instructions that can be found at Ted’s playbook. Make sure to come back to our site to pick up our new content and learn a little bit more about smart business practices can increase customer satisfaction as well as your revenues.