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Ron Henson

Ron Henson Director, Dealership Strategy & Development

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What are your competitors saying about you?

Here is an interesting question; What are your competitors saying about your dealership to potential customers?

Herbert Hoover was quoted as saying, "Competition is not only the basis of protection to the consumer, but is the incentive to progress."

So here's the challenge.  Whether you are a Dealer, a GM, a Sales Manager or a Sales Consultant, take the time to walk into your competitive facing dealerships and mystery shop them.  Find out what they do well and what areas need improvement.  Pay attention to things like:

* Initial Greeting

* First Impression

* What questions are asked to discover your needs

* Product Knowledge

* Professionalism of the Demonstration

* Pushiness

* And finally, and perhaps the most important, ask them why you should buy from them and why they work at that dealership rather than the one down the street. (Your dealership!)

This exercise will be beneficial regardless of the answers you get or how well the "other guys" perform during your experience.  If the sales consultant does an outstanding job and really performs at a level rarely seen at your dealership, HIRE THEM IMMEDIATELY!  If they decline, use the experience as a launch pad to make your people better.

If the sales consultant doesn't perform so well during your experience and you can't imagine why anyone ever buys from this clown, use that

 

 as a launch pad to tell your staff how good they are and point out where the competition struggles.  Turn their weaknesses into your strengths and the consumers will notice.

Half of the battle is just showing up.  Show up in your competitors showrooms and you'll be amazed at the wealth of valuable information you will obtain that can help you improve your dealership.

That's my 2 cents for the day.  Move some metal!

Lindsey Auguste
"Turn their weaknesses into your strengths and the consumers will notice." Brilliant, Ron!
Ron Henson
Thanks Lindsey!
Joe Webb
When Shaun Raines and I were traveling around the nation on behalf of Chrysler Group LLC, I would always ask the assembled group of dealer owners, operators and managers a simple question in the morning. "What separates your dealership from your competitors?" (Or "why choose you over the next one down the street?") The greater majority of their answers involved the phrase "well, it's because of the customer service we provide." I have a quintessential problem with this so I would follow up with, "Do you hug your customers?" or "Are your handshakes warmer and more friendly?" You hit the nail on the head, Ron. The same antiquated "road to the sale" is on display at almost every dealership and few have a means of standing out above the crowd. It comes down to the professionalism and knowledge of the people, but I know very few dealers who would tell you their sales team really blows any other sales team out of the water. Too many are too similar. It is important for dealers to start recognizing that they're being compared to the dealership down the street AND they are doing very little to separate themselves. What is being said about you, as a dealership, cannot be controlled, but the brand messages you deliver to the public can have a profound impact of how others view you in the first place.
Ron Henson
Great points Joe! I think it would be fantastic is Dealers and GM's went out to their competitors and actually experienced the process. Many stores pay companies to mystery shop their own stores but to have them get down in the trenches and really strive for improvement would build major value. Their teams would be blown away as well! Can you imagine a DP getting up in sales meeting and reporting the findings that he had from from shopping the guy down the street! Thanks for your comments Joe.

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