Friday, May 24, 2013

Sales Is Mashed Potatoes

A mentor of mine used to say:

“A month’s worth of sales is like mashed potatoes. Every day you dig up potatoes; large potatoes, medium potatoes, and small potatoes. At the end of the month, you boil them up and mash them together, and what do you have?”

“A big pot of mashed potatoes!”

That saying has been around for many years. But it is prevalent today, just as it was in 2000 when I first heard it.


I understood what he meant. You have to take all the deals you can get. Despite the size of the gross—they all add up. It is about taking as many deals as you can get (big, medium, or small) because in the end, the more customers you make, the more customers you will be able to retain, and nurture for repeat business.

  • Sales = Potatoes
  • Deals = Potatoes
  • Transactions = Potatoes
  • Customers = Potatoes
  • Prospects = Potatoes
  • Clients = Potatoes
  • Your Product = Potatoes
  • Salesperson = Digger
  • Sales Manager = Digger
  • Employees = Diggers
  • Your Business = Farm
  • Problems = Warts
  • Challenges = Blight

If life is like a box of chocolates, then sales is like a pot of mashed potatoes. Enjoy this pocket guide filled with light anecdotes as it relates sales to mashed potatoes. Use this inspiring philosophy to help motivate yourself and keep focused on achieving success in selling. Whether you are selling cars, real estate, phones, pork and beans, or widgets this philosophy can work for you.


  • Potato Digging Tools
  • Don't Focus On One Potato
  • Don't Judge A Potato By Its Jacket!
  • No Potato Is The Same
  • A Small Potato Is Better Than No Potato
  • Potatoes Lead To Other Potatoes
  • Big Potatoes Get Brown Spots Too
  • A Potato Is Just A Potato
  • Keys To Getting More Potatoes
  • Neglected Potatoes Will Rot
  • Potatoes Remove Warts
  • Potato Blight And Other Factors
  • The One With The Most Potatoes Wins!
  • Don't Become A Lazy Digger

Go get your sack of potatoes and take all the sizes you can get!

Read More Buy The Book:  Sales Is Mashed Potatoes

-- by Tim Northburg LifeWork Elements

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Coffee Sticker Quote #3 - Change

I took another sticker from the coffee shop for my to-go cup. Here is another quote on the anti-spill sticker:

"Be the change you want to see in the world!"

--Mahatma Gandhi

Lately I have been hearing a lot of griping, complaining, whining, winging, moaning, bickering, or dislike in the media for what is happening in the economy and in people's lives lives.

I say stop complaining and do something about it. If you don't like where you are at in life, change something!

You can change your own attitude, view, or position.

Like Ghandi said, "Be the change you want to see in the world!"

-- by Tim Northburg LifeWork Elements

Monday, May 6, 2013

Other Goal Tips



A time frame for completing your goal gives you an absolute beginning and end to the goal. You can modify the goal and extend the time, even if you don’t hit it by the time you set . By not setting a time frame you will most likely keep putting it off.


If you write a goal down that is too unrealistic then you will not work towards it. For example: “I will run for president in the next election.” This is a good goal! However, unless you are a prominent government official it might be a little far-fetched to accomplish. A great goal might be: “I will run for my local city Council for the next election, then run for State Senator in two years and then in eight years I will run for President.” This goal gives a clear short, intermediate and long-term plan with a time frame. Your goal for President may be high but you are also shooting for the steps in-between.


A stretch goal is one that stretches past the realm of current possibility. Here is an example of a goal: “I will find a Literary Agent and a publisher for my 387 page Fantasy Fiction by the end of June this year.” Here is a stretch goal: “I will attract the sight of a major motion picture company and get a 3.5 million dollar movie contract by August this year.” The first goal is a possibility. The second goal stretches the imagination—might be possible if the first happens and the book is outstanding.


Look at your goals daily—out of sight out of mind! Keep them in ‘Top of mind awareness’ to that your consciousness is consistently striving towards those goals. It keeps you motivated. When you are working towards your goals it is uncanny how things just pop up. You might meet that contact you needed to get that job, or bump into someone who knows that agent that is looking for a good fantasy novel. If all you do is wish to win the lottery but never buy a ticket—how do you expect to win?


Track the goals you accomplish. Cross them off your list as you hit them. You will be surprised at the end of the year how many of them you will have crossed off. I have been doing this for over twelve years and every time I am amazed at how many goals I have crossed off at the end of the year.


Give yourself some praise when you hit a goal. For the small goals I give myself a bottle of wine. The larger goals I give myself a music CD or a DVD. Reward yourself for doing a good job. It keeps the motivation going to hit the other goals.


Things change. If you have new motivations, dreams, desires, hopes and wishes write down new goals. The New Year is not the only time to set goals.

Happy goal setting! You can reach what you desire. Lay it out in front of yourself and go for it!


-- by Tim Northburg LifeWork Elements

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Coffee Sticker Quote #2 - Rainbow

I received another snippet of inspiration from this quote on the sticker I got from the coffee shop. I really enjoy reading these when I get them.

"A rainbow is often found behind the clouds!"


That is so true! When it rains, it pours. And then, as the clouds disappear and the sun comes out, a rainbow appears. The brilliant coloring is evidence that all that was chaos; wind, turbulence, and wet a moment ago, is gone. That is like life. When things seem at their worse, it eventually clears, and the rainbow comes out.

Have a great day! 


-- by Tim Northburg LifeWork Elements

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Automotive Sales Training Book For Intermediate Car Salespeople

Fundamentals and Techniques of Automotive Retail Sales

“Read these brochures and watch this video. Then go and get them and, SELL! SELL! SELL!”

You just started your first day at your local automotive dealership. When you arrive for your first day of work your boss comes up to you, leads you into a small room and hands you a pile of brochures and a video tape and leaves you there all day to study. When you are done he walks you over to a desk and says, go sell. Imagine if that was all the training you received. Many dealerships do this.

That was my first day in sales at the dealership when I started selling back in January 1996. Previously I had worked in the insurance and investment field for two years. Prior to starting in insurance and investments I had to study for a state regulated and federally regulated test to receive my Life, Accident, Health License and my Series 6 Investment License. I spent months learning the material to be able to help clients with their insurance and investment choices. It was a big deal.

Now, as I started a new career I questioned myself as to whether a day of watching a short video on how to sell and studying brochures for a few hours would be the right training for me to go out there and SELL! SELL! SELL! I was in sales and all I really had going for me was my outgoing personality and my desire to make some money.

After a few weeks selling, I found that automotive sales was trial and error. Each day I had to learn from my mistakes. I quickly learned what not to say and do. I also watched what the veteran sales people did and said with their customers and applied that in my sales approach. I also learned from my managers, who yelled at me when I let a customer go without asking them “What is it going to take to earn your business?”

With little training I did pretty well for myself. I was selling on average eight cars per month, but I needed more. I felt I was lacking something to take me to the next level. After three months I moved to another dealership. There it was the same story. I was handed some brochures but this time I was given a packet that briefly outlined a four step sales process. I remember the steps were; Qualify, Present, Demo, Close.

Now imagine yourself going into the dealership for your first day of work and you are placed in a two week training session. In that session you learn more than just how to sell cars. In that two week training session you learn the needs based sales approach to selling cars. You learn to take care of your customers and provide excellent customer service so that they would repeat purchase and refer everyone they know to you. You learn how to understand the wants and needs of your customers, and present the right vehicle based on those needs. You learn how to close like a professional while making the customer feel like it was their idea to buy. You learn how to follow your lost opportunities so that they would eventually come back and buy from you rather than the competition.

Why is it that people would rather go to the dentist and have a root canal with no Novocain than go shopping for a vehicle?

It is because of the lack of professionalism displayed by the dealership sales people.

But, is it really their fault?


As I learned each dealership has its own approach. Some dealerships have deeper pockets and have devised their own advanced training programs. They are “on the ball” when it comes to training. Others just don’t have the resources for a training program and have “dropped the ball” when it comes to training their sales staff.

As I mentioned in my preface, “…automotive dealerships have a 76% turnover rate compared to the 12% of the private sector.”

It is very appalling that a major profession that supports world economies does not have any formal training program for its professionals. There are no classes at major universities for an Automotive Sales or an Automotive Management degree.

Manufacturers offer some paid training courses but for the most part they leave it to the individual dealerships or automotive group to train their sales force.

As a manager and coach for a top 20 automotive retailer, Tim Northburg knows what it takes to be successful. Drawing on his experience of over fifteen years in sales and management, he has devised 11 essential elements to comprise this training guide book for sales consultants who want to take it to the next level. Automotive Sales 101 takes a sales consultant step-by-step through the important elements of the automotive retail business.


  • The Meet and Greet
  • The Interview
  • The Presentation
  • The Demonstration
  • The Write-up
  • Negotiations
  • Objections
  • The Close
  • Financial Services
  • The Delivery
  • Follow-Up

If you are new to the business this book will help you learn the basic skills and techniques that will rapidly increase your ability to become successful right away in automotive sales. If you are a veteran, this book will help you sharpen your skills.

The information, skills, word tracts and techniques offered in this book has stood the test of time. Many of these principles have been used for years and are tried and true. Other principles have been adapted and updated for today’s buyer.

Use this book to learn the steps to a sale and effectively discover a customer’s wants and needs, select and present the right vehicle with authority, demonstrate the vehicle with enthusiasm, use an effective trial close, ask for the sale, negotiate effectively and close more deals by overcoming your customer’s objections. If you are starting off in Automotive Sales and want to learn the trade Automotive Sales 101 is the book for you!

Buy The Book On Amazon

Automotive Sales 101
Fundamentals and Techniques of Automotive Retail Sales

"Automotive Sales 101" is a follow-up guidebook to "Automotive Sales Playbook": that builds upon techniques previously introduced in "Automotive Sales Playbook." This automotive sales book is a complete training guidebook that teaches intermediate fundamentals and techniques of Automotive Retail Sales. This book is aimed at those professionals who have some experience in the business or those veterans who want to learn additional needs based selling skills. So, increase your knowledge and increase your sales!

About The Author:
Tim Northburg started his automotive career in 1996 selling at a Saturn retail facility where he learned highly valuable customer service and needs based selling skills. In 1998 he gained international experience while managing a Rover, MG, MINI Cooper dealership in Chester, England. Since 2000, he has moved into upper management where he currently trains, motivates and leads his highly successful team of sales professionals. He has three years experience running the Business Development Center where he learned valuable customer follow-up, incoming phone call, prospecting, and owner retention techniques and skills. He spent six years as a Used Car Manager /Desk Manager and is fully trained in Finance, Marketing and Public Relations. In 2010 he became a Sales Manager and E-Commerce Director at a highly successful Honda, GMC, Buick Dealership. Tim Northburg’s commitment and dedication to the business, and the sales people he leads, is evident in this complete training guidebook. He shares the knowledge gained, throughout his career, because he wants others to succeed like he has.

-- by Tim Northburg LifeWork Elements

Friday, May 3, 2013

A Goal Setting Exercise


Use a blank piece of paper, list out your goals in each area below. Start every one with positive, “I WILL . . .” statements. Be as specific as you can and list out a time frame for the completion of it.

1. Personal Growth (Knowledge):

2. Health (Fitness):

3. Financial Stability):

4. Career (Work Environment):

5. Social Life (Friends, Fun or Recreation):

6. Relationships (Significant Other or Romance):

7. Belief (Higher Power or Self):

8. Family (Relatives or Associative Family):


-- by Tim Northburg LifeWork Elements

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Danke, Merci, Graces, Ta, Arigato, Thanks!

Almost every language on the planet
has a way to say Thanks. 
(Here are just a few)


In fact there are many other ways
to say thank you as well;

Great job!
Nice work!
I'm proud of you!
Way to go!
You are incredible!
Kudos to you!
Awesome job!
Exceptional performance
I like the way you did that!
You're amazing!

As a manager I try to go out of my way and give thanks to my employees. Sometimes it is easy to forget and you go a while without pointing out the "good jobs," and focus on the "slip ups" or mistakes made. This is especially easy to do in a sales managerial role when you are paid to critique, train, and coach your team to get better at demonstrating the product, asking for the sale, or closing. Sometimes, I know I get a little focused in on what they did wrong. I forget to look at the whole picture and look at what they did right too.

The easiest and most cost-effective bonus any company or manager can give is a compliment. You get more out of a "Remarkable job" than you do out of a monetary bonus. Granted, money is a chief motivator for some, but money usually wears off. Having a consistent, genuine, positive moral around the office or sales area goes a lot further.

Compliment your employees. Say thanks more often. Give "High 5's" and "knuckle bumps" when your employees do a good job, even if it is the slightest of things. You will see your employees respond in a positive way and they will be more productive!


-- by Tim Northburg LifeWork Elements