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That't Just The Way It Is...

That's just the way it is...

One of the most frustrating things for people like us working in automotive training and dealer staff development is the inertia we encounter with long held beliefs. Many dealer principals and staff in our industry are resistant to or have an inability to accept change. 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 belief is 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. 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 sales team 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 more than 30% of Facebook users are aged 35+. 1 in 13 people on earth are on Facebook and 50% are daily users. Now when someone is thinking about buying a particular car they might post a question to their network about what they think about the brand, dealership, or vehicle. It can be like word-of-mouth on steroids! Are you part of that conversation?

An internet lead can wait a couple of hours 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.

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 generating and responding 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 first meet them now, they are closer than ever before to the final decision. Are you treating them like an uninformed buyer?

None of this research is particularly difficult to find and use. We need to retire some of our persistent and outdated beliefs. No matter if you have been in the business 2 months or 20 years, becoming a student of our industry pays in higher performance.