There has been lots of talk about changing your car salesman process to something more transparent or customer friendly. Car buyers today want the car buying experience to be easier and less stressful. Didn’t they want us to do that ten or twenty years ago? So why should we start selling cars the way they want today?
Should we change the car salesman process because of the Internet? Is it because of Facebook or Twitter? Is it because of the abundance of customer reviews found on the Internet? What has changed about buying a car?
I talk to customers all the time that buy cars from car salesmen and dealerships that use basically the same car salesman process that they have been using for years and years. Most of them are vey happy with their experience and give the dealership and the car salesman favorable reviews. A very small percentage of those customers feel that there is room for improvement and one out a hundred or so have complaints. Basically the ratio of happy customers versus less than happy customers is practically the same as it has been for decades.
Does that mean that we should change the car salesman process to accommodate a tiny percentage of people that typically complain about everything and make Yelp.com reviews a pain in our ass? Are you really thinking about changing your proven sales process in order to make the habitual complainer happy? You know that won’t happen because they will always complain no matter what you do or no matter how cheaply they buy their car. It’s just human nature, someone will always complain if your serve enough customers.
Change the Car Salesman Process or the Car Salesman
If you talk to enough customers that both buy cars and don’t buy cars from your dealership you will quickly realize a few things. One of them is that the car salesman process is not the deciding factor in the overall satisfaction of the customer. It’s typically the car salesman and their ability to connect with the customer. Connecting with the customer encompasses a whole host of skills, abilities and talents.
A successful car salesman understands that they can use the same car salesman process with every customer and still control and change the experience for each and every customer. The car salesman has the power to make their customer feel what they need to feel and overcome their anxiety. Earn their trust, build rapport, make a friend and earn their business.
Rather than change the car salesman process that you use at your dealership maybe you need to take a closer look at yourself and your sales staff. Maybe you need to change the car salesman. A professional car salesman can do a meet and greet with the customer and perform all of the steps of the process and create another happy customer practically every time they sell a car. If they are working with an Internet customer that has an online quote they can follow the process and honor their price quote.
Should we change the car salesman process to shortcut the steps of the sale? Should we skip the walk-around, the test drive and closing the sale? Should we have customers visit the dealership to buy a car and skip presenting all the ways that the dealership and car salesman can make a profit? Should we stop trying to switch cars, upgrade customers and sell accessories? Should we stop trying to get a bump or close the deal? Should we stop asking customers questions to make sure they are selecting a vehicle to fit their wants and needs?
What kind of car salesman process do you want? Does that mean there should be an express lane (1 car, no options or accessories), cash and carry, bring your own bag like the cut-rate grocery store? If that’s how you want to change the process then you better start replacing your car sales staff with grocery clerks.
This is the car business so pull up your big boy pants or big girl pants/skirt and think about what you saying. I am not saying that every dealership has the best sales process in place, but if they have been selling cars for years that way and making money they are doing something right. Sure every car salesman process could use a little tweaking, but the big difference is the car salesman.
Whether you are a car salesman, sales manager, GM or dealer principal you need to understand that the professional car salesman is what makes the difference. Help yourself (car salesmen); your car salesmen can become better at what they do (managers). Provide more and better car sales training, mentoring, coaching, support and fair compensation. The car salesman is the first person the potential car buyer meets when they visit the car dealership.
Dealerships spend lots of money on advertising, buildings, facilities, and amenities to attract and please their customers. Why not make an investment in the sales staff and make them the car salesmen that create car buyers, service customers and repeat customers. Forget about changing your proven car salesman process (maybe tweak it if needed) and help the car sale staff become the best they can be.
Later, Fresh Up on the Lot
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