I don't know how many sales and management related magazines, newsletters, and e-zines you subscribe to but if you are a sales professional I'm betting it is 4 or more. If you are not a student of your own industry how can you hope to be perceived as an expert or trusted advisor? Right?
Sales Tips for the Automotive Industry
Increase satisfaction by lowering expectations! Many dealerships have an unofficial in-house training program designed to pass along the vast experience and knowledge of the veteran salespeople to the new recruits. This highly effective mentoring program is called “the huddle.” Here, unselfish veterans pass along the keys to success – sales strategies and work habits that have made them solid 6-8 units per month producers, year in and year out for decades. The best part for the dealership is that this training is absolutely free!
No matter how much customer buying behavior changes we still at some point have conversations with most people who buy from us. Many will seem resistant or distant when we first engage them. You might call these initial responses a stall. Something like "we're just looking" or "not much time - not buying today".
Ask most salespeople: "what makes a good delivery for the customer?" and most will churn out the types of things that are on your delivery or collection checklist:
Are you still treating walk-in traffic as "shoppers"? You know, nice people looking to get some information at your dealership and a bunch of others.
They'll spend some time then go home and think it over trying to decide which car, salesperson, and dealership they like the best.
You'll do a good job so you have a 20-25% chance of getting their business.
Right? Wrong. Give your watch a tap - its stuck in 1999.
Who turned off the tap? We are hearing from many markets about a dramatic reduction in walk-in traffic.
In some cases this is just a continuation of the pattern of highly researched shoppers who are shortening the list of brands or dealerships they will visit to 1-2.
Other dealerships are in markets heavily impacted by economic shifts in the resource sector.
Whatever the cause, salespeople suffer when traffic declines unless they have an effective and proactive strategy to create opportunities.
We get a lot of questions from dealerships who are starting to experience declining effectiveness with their direct marketing for invitation sales, behind the wall sales, or private sale events. When you dig into it a bit you soon find the answer. These events rely on their "specialness" or exclusivity. We see many dealerships market to the same list of customers 6 times a year.
In the face of a mountain of research on the modern automotive shopper, no one is going to deny that shopping patterns have changed:
One of the most frustrating things for people like us working in automotive training and dealer staff development is the resistance to change we encounter.
When you study the most successful sales organizations they share common characteristics. What do they do?
They have a structured sales process that is coached and reinforced consistently. They understand that there is a process involved in helping a customer from “Hello” to “Thank you for your business” - that few sales will happen
by chance or clever marketing, but most rely on a helping them work through the decisions they need to make in order to feel comfortable saying “yes”.