What happened to the basics??...Seriously.

Sean Welsh
I currently work as a digital consultant in the industry, but worked on the sales side for 15 yrs prior to that. Recently (and I can't for the life of me understand why) my wife wanted to go shop for a car in person. I figured it would be a good chance for me to see how the other half lives and get some insight on the current level of salesmanship in the industry. I knew how I sold cars a few years back, but have had the experience that today's salespeople don't value the basics the way I was taught growing up in the late 90's car industry. i visited 4 dealerships and my experience left me disheartened. I received no interviews, no walkarounds, and no building report, no TO's, etc. Here's my question, what happened to the basics? If today's customer is vastly more educated than before, wouldn't the basics be even more valuable today than 10 years ago? We all buy the car for the same price, and the only thing that can set you apart now is good old fashion salesmanship, but I found none of that in my experience. Does anyone else see the disconnect in their experience? #backtobasics
Vincent R
I know exactly what you mean. When I was in the market for a car, the sales people were so bad I ended up buying the car from an auction. But it wasn't just them, the dealership played a part too in trying to sell me a car. I also went around pretending to buy a car when I first started selling and there was only one guy that I really would have bought a car from out of the five or so that I talked to. On the other hand it's kind of encouraging because I know I can do better than the 90% of salespeople that I've met.
Daniel Wilkins
I see it a lot, but I also see the difference in consumers. I've worked in retail most of my life and consumers use to go to a retail store to learn and experience the new product. Since then, the internet has came along and gives the consumer all the power in the world. I know we have all seen countless articles on how to buy cars and how all car salesmen are "vampires". Unfortunately, I think this has weakened the product knowledge and process use quite a bit. I'm not sure if you can put all the blame on today's salesmen, or if it should be split with over "knowledgeable" buyers.
Dustin Lyons
My thoughts are that part of the basics are doing things like focusing on value, interviewing the customer, presenting the vehicle based on the customers preferences (hot buttons), a great demo drive, and not discussing price on the lot etc... However today we are in an internet world, and with the internet, for some reason dealerships have completely thrown out the "basics". We start with price and even offer to calculate payments for the customer right there on our website before the customer has even seen the car or had the chance to talk to one of our rapport building sales professionals. The first point of contact with customers is now online rather than on the lot and if you aren't doing some kind of value and rapport building online then you are perpetuating the idea that price is the only thing people care about when shopping online and this is one of the main factors that is driving away the true sales professional and making way for the guy who doesn't really care because he is going to make a mini anyway, so why put much effort into it. Almost every single online marketing effort goes into the car itself or the price, rather than the dealership and the salesperson. Customers are coming in with aggressive internet pricing, true car prices, costco prices etc... and there is no gross to be made on most of those deals so you end up with lackluster performance from the sales guys. Dealerships should focus on building value, trust, and rapport online which is now the first point of contact with customers and you will start to see more value driven customers rather than price shoppers, and you will see the true sales professional who is focused on delivering a fantastic car buying experience exell and rise up.
Lauren Moses
This honestly makes me wonder with everything being so digital and everyone having all of their vehicles online, if a dealership were to minimize what they have online, would it make a difference for them. I know that an online presence is a must in today's times. But say if a dealership were to have no pictures but stock photos posted on their vehicles online, would a customer be more likely to call in to find out about the vehicle. If it did then it would give the sales people more of a chance on the phone to get them in for an appointment to see the vehicle. May be something that I might just have to try.
Dustin Lyons
I think that we are now in a culture where doing that would probably have the opposite effect. It's not necessarily a bad thing to have pictures, and videos, and prices etc... of the cars online because this is a great convenience for the customer, and I think a customer doesn't find what they are looking for online at your site they will simply go on to the next one, however it would be very beneficial to do more things to build value and a relationship with customers while they are shopping online so that they come in for the experience that a true professional will give them.

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