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John Fuhrman

John Fuhrman National Sales Manager

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What a year we've had. There were ups and downs, but I'm so looking forward to next year. I had the privilege of working with enough dealers to see an even bigger need for training in 2012. But, my challenge is not that I see it, but getting dealers to see it as well. As many in my industry know, the most common objection to training of any kind is that the dealer has it handled. They just don't see a need. In my opinion, many of them just don't see!

For example: Follow-up. There isn't a manager or a dealer who would admit to ignoring follow-up as a way to increase sales and profitability. In fact, most of them would tell you that it is an important part of their every day process. If you went into these stores and told them that your training also included follow-up training, they would show you the door. They have it handled. Why pay an expert for something they already do. Or do they?

Lots of articles on this site quote figures. Some from NADA, some from google, and some are clutched from the air. I prefer to use figures that I have actually participated in. I find them more realistic and believable. They are also easier to prove when a dealer questions my data. So, I'll use facts and figures from the training I've done this year. This is all about follow-up and if you don't feel this is important, you give up the right to compain about low profits and volume.

The last few months of this year, we had the privilege of training in a number of regions. This is important becuase I want to eliminate the excuse of, "My market is different." It's also more scientific becuase we called on all franchises in New York City, South Carolina, Pennsylvania, Wisconson, Florida, Minnesota, Missouri, Massachucetts, New Jersey, North Carolina and more. Over 150 students were sent shopping and we filed the results of all of them. The data is on video. You can watch the proof.

I will venture to guess that all of these dealers have a process for follow-up and they believe with all their hearts that they are doing it right. Well, I don't really know for sure what the statistics are for follow-up on a national basis and I can't say how each dealer logs in or tracks their customers, but here is the reality of what 150 shoppers found in every region we trained in.

  • 60 were greeted within 2 minutes of arrival
  • 45 waited 5-11 minutes for a greeting
  • 30 waited 11-30 minutes for a greeting
  • 9 waited over 30 minutes
  • 6 were never waited on.

Now, before you pound your chest that you're greeting them on time and therefore doing it right, continue with me.

  • 45 were asked what they wanted to spend within 5 minute sof arrival.
  • 20 were asked how their credit was before they were even asked into the showroom.
  • 90 were NEVER asked questions about what they might be interested in.
  • 30 were invited into the showroom.

How can you sell cars when 120 out of 150 were never even asked to come into the showroom. (The salesperson probably convinced the manager that it wasn't really a customer they were talking to.) But, the scary part is still to come.

How can you possibly follow up when:

  • 101 were never even asked their last name.
  • 20 were offered a sales person's business card.
  • 7 were asked for their contact information.
  • 23 were never introduced to the sales person they were speaking with.

My point is not to argue over whether you're system is better than my system. I prove to each and every one of my trainees that they are competing against people who are not programed for success. Follow up is not just part of their job. It is a critical element of success. If your training programs seem like just part of their required duty, good luck in 2012. But, even if you have one of the oldest systems in the industry, if you treat it and your people like they are both critical for success, the results will match your commitment.



John Fuhrman is the Senior National Trainer for Carolina Automotive Resource Services, a unit of The Dealer Resource Group. Our Trainers are ready to work for you and develop a sales team you can be proud of. Email us by Wednesday and we're in your dealership on Monday ready to interview. John's ten books have reached 1.5 million readers and he has trained sales professionals around the world. When your dealership needs amazing results hiring new people, visit ATTENTION DEALERS: VISIT OUR WEB SITE AND REGISTER TO KEEP UP ON MONTHLY TRAINING SAVING SPECIALS. Our trainers are ready to show you our "WOW!" factor. (c)2012 by John Fuhrman - Permission to reprint this post in its entirety, including contact information, is hereby granted. 

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