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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.
Many dealer principals and sales staff in our industry are resistant to or have an inability to accept change. Truck stuck in mudYes change can be difficult and often changes in external factors like technology or consumer behavior make for uncomfortable changes to the way we approach the business. These changes can be happening with markets, customer expectations, or technology. Too often it takes a radical loss of volume, profitability, or client retention before a dealership hurts bad enough to make needed changes.

What is really wacky is when the resistance to change is supported by an outdated belief retained despite ample research and evidence to the contrary. Do any of these self-limiting beliefs persist with you or your sales team?

It's not worth spending time and effort with a prospect until you know they are serious.

We can't even count the number of studies that have shown that shoppers are just as much looking for a salesperson they like and can trust as they are the vehicle.
We know now that today's average shopper is only visiting 1-2 dealerships. Wait to see if they are serious?! Just the fact that they showed up now means they are serious and your dealership or brand may be the only one on their short-list.
Why does this attitude persist? Retail sales can be a grind. People are guarded before they open up and trust. Their initial resistance (I don't know, like, or trust you... yet) manifests itself in stalls and excuses that make it seem they are not serious. Salespeople get untrained and don't recognize that this is the time to step up service not wait and see.

People focus on price because that's the only thing that matters.
42% say customer service is equally important as price. The fact is each major buying decision is influenced by a dozen factors in addition to price.
Price will always be part of the decision but if the lowest price was the only thing that mattered, we would all be driving 1987 Skodas.

Internet shoppers are not happy unless they get a no gross, next to invoice deal.

One of the biggest experiments with internet access to information and a transparent sales process was the Toyota Canada Access program.
Contrary to many dealership fears, average grosses actually increased! Today we routinely see proactive dealerships with a dedicated internet staff getting higher average grosses than the traditional floor team - in the same dealership!

Follow-up calls are a waste of time because they won't buy again for 5-7 years.
This attitude continues to give us brain damage. In the US market the average household has 2.2 vehicles and 25% of households have 3 or more vehicles.
Countries like Canada and New Zealand are very similar with 1.5+ vehicles per household and a substantial percentage of households with 3 or more vehicles.
So sure, they won't be replacing that one you just sold them but how about that next one in their household or their friends, neighbors, or co-workers. Is it just that making 10 phone calls a day is way too much work?

Social media will never help sell a car.
People's behaviors are changing and evolving so quickly in this area. It used to be just your teenager on social media but now almost 50% of Facebook users are aged 35+. A billion and a half people on earth are on Facebook. There is lots of talk about brands, dealerships, or vehicles. Are you part of that conversation? Maybe we’re not selling a car on Facebook but social media is about network, sphere of influence and relationships. People buy from people they like. If you’re building your personal network and people know what you do you’re on the right track.

An internet lead can wait an hour until I have spare time.
If you wait to respond, the statistics say you might as well not even bother. Studies have compared a 5 minute response with a 30 minute response.
You are 100x more likely to make voice contact in 5 minutes and 21x more likely to engage the prospect in a sales process compared to a 30 minute response.
How long would a customer wait on your lot if no one helped them? No different on your cyber lot. If your response is measured in hours, they have already moved on. It really doesn't matter if customers have unrealistic expectations on speed of response or that it will be too hard for us. We've now seen a reversal in hard leads back to more incoming phone calls. A key driver of this trend is the greater use of mobile devices for shopping.
It's just way easier to click to dial than fill out a request form on the small screen.

Internet leads are typically weak and a waste of my time.

Whether you think they are gold or garbage, you're right. It's not the leads that are weak; it is typically the dealership process in responding and converting to higher forms of communication that is weak. The research says that the average new car shopper spends 11.4 hours doing on-line research before they contact the dealership. When we are first contacted now, they are closer than ever before to the final decision. Are you still treating them like an uninformed buyer?

Expectations have changed. We need to retire some of our persistent and outdated beliefs. We can either change to meet those expectations or prepare to lose the sale to the next dealer that does.