Published 14 Nov 2019
This article was originally published in the Autofile Magazine - Feb 2019 issue.
10 second summary
Every customer is at your dealership for a reason – and that’s to purchase a motor vehicle from you.
They are not there for fun, to pass their time, or waste your time. They are there to make a purchase from you – whether that be today, tomorrow, or next month. It’s important to remember to respect all of your customers for who they are, and what they are there to do.
Buyers are not liars. Buyers are simply buyers, so ensure you take a proactive, engaged approach with every single customer with the mindset that you can, and will, help them purchase a vehicle from you.
An old Zig-Ziglar saying “Your attitude determines your altitude” is applicable in this case, and that your sales success can be determined by your approach the moment you engage with a prospective customer, and work with them on their journey.
Quite often new sales people start out new in the job with the right optimistic attitude only to be influenced by others, who have been doing it longer, to lower expectations.
For an industry that’s responsible for a serious amount of transactions, it’s highly under-trained with regards to sales and many fall into it as something to do.
This also highlights the opportunity for improvement, especially considering vehicle sales people are dealing with one of the biggest purchases in a customer’s life.
Therefore, training generally evolves on the ground as you deal with clients, and listening and taking tips from peers, which unfortunately is where it can all start to go wrong with perceptions, assumptions and judgement.
That can especially be the case when the reality is, one person’s failure can be another’s success. The same customer on the same vehicle with two different dealerships and sales people can have very different outcomes. If they don’t buy from you, they will purchase elsewhere.
When that customer leaves the dealership never to be seen again, the majority will jump to the conclusion, or excuse, that they weren’t real buyers, just tyrekickers, or that it was all about price and you just couldn’t get down to their level.
There are examples across the many dealerships using the “did not purchase survey” tool component of BuyerScore that are learning these old assumptions are definitely not the case nowadays.
Once you can identify why a customer didn’t purchase from you, you can then begin to make changes in the business, where required, to increase conversion to a sale.
Price is generally featuring as the reason for a lost sale less than 20 per cent of the time. Converting more of what you already get should be the starting point when identifying ways to boost sales.
This becomes first and foremost ahead of spending more money on advertising, which certainly has its place to generate more leads, but you want to ensure you maximise your conversion of those leads to get the best return on investment. This takes a deeper understanding of the customer journey – where they fall off and why.
It’s also important to review your successes and identify variants between the two. In this detail lies key lessons that for many will de-bunk assumptions, which can then influence the way in which you approach clients and your attitude towards them.
The areas where you can have a positive influence over the customer’s journey and process need to be relentlessly refined.
The ones that are outside your control – such as not having the exact right model to meet their requirements – can certainly have actions taken that increase your probability of a sale as you do your best to find them that product.
At the end of the day, whether a customer purchases from you is always going to be a variable outcome. Therefore, it’s critical that all is done along the way following the process, which increases the probability of the outcome resulting in a sale.
I would go as far as saying the average dealership could increase its sales by 10 per cent each month through reviewing and implementing a customer-centric process from the beginning to end. Here are some tips that should help:
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