Sales Goals Are Completely Worthless

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Sales 300 - Advanced Sales Skills | Sales Tips

The way most car dealerships set goals for their salespeople has no merit. 

First of all, many dealership managers do a horrible job of communicating goals!

Dealership management knows how many vehicles need to be sold to generate revenue — Upper management has set both units and gross profit goals for the sales department and the sales managers have sets units goals for the sales people. (This is where things usually fall apart.) How often does the sales manager review those goals with the frontline troops (the salespeople?) Annually? Quarterly? Monthly? Daily? Hourly? Never?

Even worse there is often very little guidance as to how the salespeople are supposed to meet the goals set for them.

Do not set goals for things that are out of your control. 

There is one big goal that every dealership and salesperson sets but has no control over.

How many cars will be sold

The problem with this goal is that you have very little control over how many cars you sell. That’s because you cannot control the behavior of other people.

  • You don’t have control over how many people walk onto your showroom.
  • You don’t have control over how many internet leads come in.
  • You don’t have control over how many people drive through the lot.

What do you have control over?


What are you doing right now to help you sell more cars and generate more gross profit per sale?

What then should goals should be set?




Let us look at each of these.


Your attitude is the way you think and feel about someone or something.

What is your attitude about your job when showroom traffic is slower than you’d prefer?

What is your attitude about the customer who tells you that they are six months away from a purchase that they’ll make from a different dealer closer to home?

What is your attitude when you hit the bogey on Saturday and get the big spiff?

What is your attitude when you’re coming to the end of a bell to bell day, and you didn’t sell anything?

  • You cannot control showroom traffic. 
  • You cannot control the six-month-out customer. 
  • You cannot control your dealership’s hours. 
  • You can control your attitude.

Set a positive attitude goal.  Set a goal that you will look for positivity in any situation.  Set a goal to be cheerful.

You have complete control of your attitude, and you can adjust your attitude to set behavior goals.

Attitude is internal.  It’s the way you see the world around you.  It’s the way you see yourself fitting into the world around you.

Set a goal to have a positive attitude!


Behavior is the way you conduct yourself.

If your internal attitude is pointed in a positive direction, your behavior will follow. 

You’ll look cheerful as you walk around the dealership. 

You’ll look for opportunities to be helpful

You’ll let your positive attitude shine through because you’ll be bright and pleasant to be around.

You’ll help your customer in any way that you can.

People are drawn to positive people.  Customers will see your attitude expressed through your positive behavior.

Set a goal to behave in a way that draws people in and encourages them to get to know you.


Activities are the things you are doing right now to help you get better.

If showroom traffic is down, and a customer hasn’t driven through the lot all afternoon, it’s easy to let your attitude, and therefore your behavior, deteriorate. 

That is why setting activity goals is essential.

I am a huge fan of statistics.  I love seeing patterns and tracking results.  I especially enjoy studying closing percentages for each activity that salespeople do.

Looking at closing percentages gives you the information you need to sell any number of cars per month that you want to.

Here’s what I’m talking about.

  • Orphan owner calls have a closing percentage of around 3.5%.  That means if you made ten orphan owner calls per day, you could expect to sell seven cars this month simply by dialing the phone or sending a text.
  • Repeat and referral customers close at about 47%.  If you’ve been in the car sales business for a year or more, you should already be seeing the benefit of selling to a referral or repeat customer.

If one out of every three customers gives you a quality referral, you could quickly sell an additional three cars per month. 

We have a system to help you remain top-of-mind with your customers, so they’ll be eager to offer referrals to you when you talk with them.

  • The closing ratio for appointments that show is about 51%! If you set three appointments per day, you are on your way to a 30 car month!

What activities can you do over the next half hour to help you get on track to sell 30+ cars this month and earn the kind of money we talk about in our classes?

  • Make two well-scripted orphan owner calls
  • Make two meaningful calls to previous customers (If you don’t have previous customers make four orphan owner calls)
  • Make eye contact with a few service customers; if you feel a connection, stop and chat
  • Write one thank you note to a customer you spoke with on the phone

It’s incredible to think that making just four well-thought-out and intentional phone calls every half hour can launch you up the dealership’s leaderboard!

Set activity goals for your positive attitude!

  • Read or listen to books that encourage a positive attitude.  We have attitude books in our suggested reading section
  • Listen to music that makes you happy
  • Spend time around positive people
    • Avoid negative people
  • Avoid negative TV programs

Set activity goals for your behavior!

  • Say “Thank you!”
  • Do something kind for someone that didn’t ask for help
  • Replace negative words with positive ones
  • Give compliments
  • Smile

You can control your attitude, behavior, and actions! Controlling these will control how many cars you sell.

If your sales manager has assigned a goal of 14 cars for you this month, start thinking about how many calls you will need to make, how many texts you need to send, how many newsletters must go out, how many service drive appraisals you need to ask for and then do more than is necessary.

Figure out what activities are needed to achieve your goal. Then do more than is needed.

Without a great attitude and the accompanying behavior combined with measurable action goals, a sales goal is worthless.

Your success is and always has been up to you.

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