I came across a book by Max Zanan that had a message that we as car salespeople, sales managers, and general managers should read. Max Zanan, an automotive retail expert with nearly 20 years of experience, recently released ‘Perfect Dealership’ – a car dealer’s guide to surviving the digital age. Product knowledge is only a small part of the book, but the one that I thought was beneficial for my readers.
We all know that the Internet has changed and will continue to change the car business in many ways. In order to keep the car business from changing in ways that we would rather not witness we need to adjust. Not tomorrow and not next month, but today. Max has hit the nail on the head with his book. We need to follow this critical car sales tip before it becomes the last nail in the coffin of the car business as we know it.
When it comes to the Car Sales Professional this excerpt from the book the “Perfect Dealership” about product knowledge really hits home. This not the first time I have heard a similar story from both customers and potential customers that purchased elsewhere. It needs to change, we are professionals and we must treat customers in a professional manner if we are to survive and thrive.
Excerpt from the Perfect Dealership:
Obsessed with Product Knowledge
“Let me preface these remarks with a brief story. I wanted a 4Runner Limited last year and decided I would like ventilated seats. I entered the dealership and began asking about this. Everything I was told was wrong: “They don’t exist,” “I’m not sure; let me check,” “No, they don’t make these,” and so forth. So I got online and did the research myself. As I expected, they do exist in the Limited model. I went back to the dealership, but again I was told that they do not exist.
I bought the car anyway, and guess what—heated seats and ventilated seats are controlled by the same knob. Let this sink in for a minute. The only thing that a salesperson had to do was to sit in the car and make a minimal effort.
Imagine my impression of this dealership and whether I will go back there for repairs. Why the hell do I need this kind of incompetence?
There has to be a good reason to walk onto your sales floor, and ignorance is not that reason. In a Perfect Dealership, your sales staff must know every minute detail about every car and every package available. Thorough product knowledge will always help close more deals. Customers must know that your dealership is the place where they can get the very best information for making their best purchase.
The Internet is here to stay. Information is readily available on any new or used product, no matter how detailed is the information you seek. Consumers are becoming more and more educated because of an increasing number of online sources for researching their next car.
Therefore, it is not uncommon—in fact, it is becoming closer to the norm—for the customer to walk into the showroom and know more about the car than the sales staff or managers. This is unacceptable.
Salespeople should be required to attain certification for each model they sell, and neither salespeople nor sales managers should be allowed on the floor without certification. When was the last time your dealership had a walk-around competition? When this level of training becomes your norm, then you can say management deserves respect.”
Product Knowledge is Just the Beginning
I know some of you smart asses out there are saying its ok, we sold the car. But that's typically not the case. More often than not the customer will go to another dealer. Product knowledge is essential today because all too often the customer knows more than we know. Talk about losing respect, rapport, and trust. This is one of the quickest ways to create a “be-back”. We are better than that.
Later, Fresh Up on the Lot
“The automotive retail industry is under more pressure than ever. Lower margins, stricter regulations, heavy competition, and online disruptors have many managers with their backs against the wall. With the rise of online auto sales, will the average auto dealership even exist in 10 years?” - Max Zanan.
“Perfect Dealership serves as a wake-up call for the automobile industry,” says Zanan. “Unless car dealerships change – and change quickly – they risk falling into the same digital gulf that obliterated the corner video store and travel agencies… The old ways are dead. It’s time to adapt or fade away.”
With Perfect Dealership, Max Zanan has created the industry's first truly comprehensive training manual. If you own or manage an auto dealership, or you’re planning a career in the industry, Perfect Dealership is the indispensable guide for automotive management in a modern world.
“Perfect Dealership is the book the auto industry needs. With every chapter, Max outlines a modern and structured view of how to run and grow a profitable, ethical, and future-facing dealership... Perfect Dealership is a handbook for effective automotive management across all levels and departments. Every dealership owner and the manager needs a copy.” - Peter Zorzy - Director of Operations - Atlantic Auto Group
To learn more, go to http://www.perfectdealership.com/