Lets face it, the world of the hospitality salesperson is not what it used to be. Glad handing folks in the parking lot is nothing like it once was. It’s no longer enough. It’s no longer adequate. It’s no longer effective. In the future some salespeople will be replaced and others will become more valuable. There will be fewer, but more sophisticated and technologically supported sales staff that drive the dealers bottom line.
Successful salespeople of the future will understand innately the perspective of both the seller and the buyer. Sales actions and approaches will be driven not only by how the salesperson wants to sell but equally by how the buyer wants to buy. Without this fundamental shift in philosophy, a value add is not possible for the in-person salesperson. Without a value add, there is no value. Without value, there is no need - for the salesperson.
Classic referral marketing and long term relationship building practices will become the necessary norm instead of the exception like they are today. These issues may sound familiar but make no mistake about it, effective marketing by the salesperson for the employer will become the most basic value add a salesperson can bring to the organization, and the customer.
The biggest problem with today’s traditional approach is cost. Salespeople are the biggest expense in the sales channel and must be strategically focused and economically leveraged. Because not all customers perceive an in-person sales process as a value ad, not all deals can be expected to share the expense associated with staff. It’s an easy formula. The more complex the sales transaction, the more necessary and valuable the salesperson.
Most people in the biz would claim that the car buying process today is different than the car buying process of yesterday. Many blame this idea for their lack of success. The fact is, the process hasn’t changed much. Dealers still attempt to control the process, customers still attempt to control the process, both parties are still left unhappy with the outcomes in many cases.
Today there are multiple ways for a customer to research and find products but still basically one way to buy the car - go to the store. Most salespeople understand this much, but, they fail to realize that although the customer has many choices available to them (to try to control the process), so does the salesperson. The successful salesperson of the future will realize quickly the giant advantage they stand to gain over their competitors by taking advantage of alternative marketing. The internet, telemarketing, grass-roots campaigns aimed at current customers, guerilla (not the blow up one on the roof) marketing strategies that reach potential customers at the street level, and other FREE approaches will be necessary, not optional, not glamorous.
Once universal sales tactics that were widely accepted are no longer valid in many cases. Just what are basic sales principles these days anyway? There may still only be one way to buy a new car today (going to the dealer), but, there are countless sales situations that never occurred in the past. It’s obvious then that a canned sales approach isn’t going to cut it.
Because customers don’t need salespeople to find basic information about their next new car anymore and because most dealers make it a habit to advertise rock-bottom prices, and because the “invoice” cost of any new vehicle is readily available, salespeople may think they are quickly becoming unnecessary. Ones that don’t ad value are exactly that, unnecessary, expensive, a waste of money. Consider this: Unlocking cars each morning and blowing up balloons and occasionally slapping some stickers on cars has never been the objective of a salesperson. If you find yourself only doing that each day, and nothing more (how many ups do you get?), you should concentrate hard on marketing, promoting, creating lasting relationships. It just may be the difference between having a career, or needing a job in the very near future.
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