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Sales Tips for the Automotive Industry

Success Leaves Clues

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”. 

When is the best time to give yourself a pay raise?

How about now?

You can give yourself a raise any day by increasing your effort or building your sales skills. Work harder and/or get better at what you do. It’s just math. If you plan to be in the business the next 3-5-12+ years, you can also give yourself a raise in pay by causing your client base to shorten their trade cycle. We have all heard the disappointing statistics about the age of the typical vehicle on the road.
“The average length of ownership in Canada is somewhere in the nine-year range” -Dennis DesRosiers (Canadian Auto World - April 2014)

They don't need a demo drive boss... They know the car!

We talk a lot about how the new normal is well informed shoppers who have "self-served" themselves far into the decision process. They have done enough online research to narrow their selection and their short list may only have 1-2 vehicles of interest. This is great - if you are on the short list! If you are on the short list don’t blow it by shortcutting what they need next.

It's a simple business or is it?

We had a request from a freelance writer who was putting an article together for an auto industry publication. The writer sent a list of 13 or so questions; one of which had us chuckling around the water cooler. It was a simple question with not so simple an answer:

"With all the online research a potential customer can now do on their own now, how do you see this changing the way dealerships sell cars to customers?"

You know what they say about assumptions

Don't believe everything you read. Just because the average customer now spends 11.5 hours of online research some bloggers and "industry experts" claim that the role of the salesperson is diminished or even unnecessary. Don't you believe it! It's true that buyers today have more easy access information than ever before. Does that mean they know it all and understand it all when they make a vehicle selection? Are they 100% confident that their selection is the very best match to their needs?

Are you afraid of the math? Maybe you should be...

A common measure used in financial statement analysis is advertising per new vehicle retailed. Slightly more difficult to get is the advertising per opportunity which is the advertising investment divided by the traffic count. Sales managers sometimes used this figure negatively to badger salespeople into taking each opportunity seriously. The abusive sales manager rants: "it costs me $257 everytime I bring a prospect in and you blow it!"

Is your sales process haunted by the ghost of Christmas past?

A recurring theme we have seen all year long is the speed of change in buyer behavior. Almost everyone now does their research online and spends upwards of 11 hours on the activity. Customers visit fewer dealerships in person than ever - their short list is very short! The high quality shopping tools available online mean that a shopper can research, match vehicle features to their needs, review prices, and obtain finance options.

The sale starts with the receptionist - will it start it well?

We occasionally run training programs to bring receptionists into the sales process. We usually have a class that has 80-90% of attendees with no idea of how sales works or how the receptionist role can positively impact sales results.
It's no wonder. New receptionists get technical training on how the phone system works but not so much on how their role fits with the sales department. Then management, administration, accounting, and the service department stack more and more little clerical jobs on the receptionist - well because they're just sitting there anyway.