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Leadership or Self-serve?

In the face of a mountain of research on the modern automotive shopper, no one is going to deny that shopping patterns have changed:
• Buyers research online and self-serve themselves farther than ever towards a buying decision - before they contact or visit us
• Buyers have a wealth of information and shopping tools at their disposal - even on their phone
• Buyers are visiting fewer dealerships before making a purchase
So what does this mean for "sales process"? Does this mean that sales consultants are less important? Are we moving to a fully self-serve purchase experience? We don't think so - at least not yet!
We do see many sales consultants thinking and acting like the customer no longer needs our leadership to make a buying decision. A passive approach guarantees two things: the customer is less confident making a decision and you sell fewer vehicles.
It is true that some sales processes are outdated and no longer serve the needs of the buyer or seller but a few things have not changed:
• The best sales process always matched the informational and experiential decision-making needs of the customer to the things we do for them
• The best sales process figures out what the customer already knows versus what they still need to learn
• The best sales process focuses on the specific vehicle features and capabilities that matter most to the individual customer
• The best sales process matches the speed of the process to the speed of the customer
• The best sales process makes its first job understanding the customer
• The best sales process meets the customer where they are on their decision-making journey and validates their vehicle selection.
The fact remains that for most people a vehicle purchase is a big deal. Most are not comfortable purchasing without experiencing. It's a lot of money and they do benefit from professional help to feel comfortable making a purchase decision. Even if they do spend 11.5 hours in online research to come to a vehicle selection, they still feel more comfortable saying yes if a professional confirms that the vehicle is a great match to their needs.
So for the modern shopper, the question really isn't: "is leadership in the sales process relevant"? The question is: "is my leadership customer-centric enough?"
Note to Sales Managers: if you need meeting materials on this topic or any other see our Sales Meeting Express.