One of the most common terms that are thrown about in the car business is “Cherry Picking”. In other words taking customers that look like they want to buy a car now and passing on those that look like they are just looking, or have bad credit, or any number of other reasons.
The reasons and conditions for cherry picking and choosing or passing on potential customers is different for every salesperson, but the result is the same. That result is limited opportunities and limited opportunities usually mean fewer sales and less commission.
Cherry Picking Equals Average
I learned early on in my car sales career that cherry picking is very common among average salespeople. I even did it myself for a while until I realized that I was missing out on sales. Sure I had my share of can’t buyers and not buying today or just looking. I felt that I doing nothing more than wasting my time with some customers. But every now and then I sold those customers a car and sometimes I made a very nice commission.
When I quit cherry picking and started taking every customer I could get in front of my sales and ultimately my commissions increased. When I could get the can’t buyers approved because of poor credit the gross was typically substantial. When I could sell a just looking customer they didn't have quotes or an arm full of research which yielded a nice commission. The not buying today customer was typically a nice sale too. Because once again they didn't think were ready and I gave them the information they needed rather than a competitor.
It became very clear to me that cherry picking was creating average car salespeople. Floor traffic is decreasing because of the Internet and that’s another reason why cherry picking will do nothing more than decrease your commissions.
Next time you pass on a customer think about it, even if the salesperson that took the customer that you passed up didn't sell them a car you might have been the one that could have made the sale. Remember when two people meet, one gets sold. So will you sell a car or will the customer sell you on why they are not buying today?
A Cherry Picking Experiment
When I started realizing that cherry picking was cutting into my income I decided to do an experiment. I made a commitment to myself to take every up I could get regardless of their appearance for an entire month. There were plenty of times that I felt that I was wasting my time with some of these customers.
However, I stuck it out all month and talked to as many customers as possible even when I believed they were not buying a car. There was no question that I was spinning my wheels with some of these customers, but I sold a few of them.
When the month was over and all the numbers were in I realized a few things. 1. My income had increased approximately 17%. 2. My average units were up by 4 cars. 3. My days flew by, even on those long days.
That was enough for me to leave cherry picking behind. My days and weeks flew by because I was always busy and I had little time to stand around listening to others complain about traffic, grosses or whatever else.
I challenge you to do the same cherry picking experiment and I am sure you see similar results. What it comes down to it, it's how we spend our time at the dealership. You can't make any money standing around complaining. I haven't come across a dealership yet that will pay you for bitching and moaning. You're at the dealership anyway so you might as well make the best of that time.
Later, Fresh Up on the Lot