A big problem facing dealerships is a lack of talented sales people, says Ross Rossano, founder of the Rossano Institute, an automotive sales training firm.

“This problem gets worse every year,” he says. “Dealerships are looking for the ever-elusive ‘sales pro,’ usually without much luck. Dealerships and salespeople need a system for selling cars that helps ordinary sales people achieve extraordinary results.”

Rossano says he's come up with such a system for average Joes who aren't born sales people, but work showroom floors. He's worked 15 years as a salesman, manager and trainer. He's a trainer for AutoNation, the nation's largest dealership chain.

He calls his system “Total Experience Selling.” It's centered on five sales innovations:

  1. Client Profile

    Salespeople are urged to build a profile of customers' needs and wants as soon as they arrive at the dealership. “What other big-ticket item would you not do this for?” he asks.

  2. Common Sense Leasing

    Most salespeople improperly explain the benefits of leasing to customers, he says. “We teach sales people to use a 5-minute story that covers all the basics of leasing's advantages.”

  3. Trade Assessment

    Salespeople appraise a customer's trade-in before the used-car manager does. “It arms the salesperson with powerful negotiating weapons.”

  4. Sequential Negotiating

    It's a series of steps that offers customers lots of options, further discounting not among them.

    “Most salespeople have never been taught how to negotiate, yet we all know how difficult negotiating can be at any level,” says Rossano.

  5. Phone Mastery

    “Ninety percent of all customers who visit a car dealership today never get a call back from a salesperson,” he says. The main reason? “Most car sales people lack training in communicating by phone with either established or prospective customers.”

Adds Rossano, “To be successful in the next 10 years with a dwindling talent pool, dealers will have to figure out what Ray Kroc did so well, run a successful business on the backs of the average Joe.”

He deems it as revolutionary. He's at rossrossano@therossanoinstitute.com.