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From: Jared Hamilton
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Bryan Armstrong

Bryan Armstrong e-Commerce Director

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First Class or Coach?

 

As I travel, I use a variety of airlines depending more on their ease of use and adaptability to my schedule than on the fares offered, which are usually quite competitive across the board. However, whenever possible, I choose Delta. The reason is simple, I receive perks. Nothing to great, I have yet to redeem any sky miles for a free ticket or avail myself of the club benefits, but I enjoy being recognized as a loyal customer and fast tracked to the front of the line. These simple things often get me to spend more when faced with nearly equal products.

                To draw an obvious but worthwhile comparison, are your appointments to your Sales Department any different? Whether it be an in-bound fresh phone up or a lease-end call, almost all phone scripts are designed to sell value in the processes we offer. Some even go as far as to coach at the end of the call to say “If something comes up and you’re running late give me a call and if something happens on my end I’ll return the same courtesy”. So why is it in my travels and in visiting various Dealerships that so much effort is spent on getting the customer in but very little expended on keeping the promises made or implied that were made to get them there.

                These are a few of what I would suggest to be best practices to improve show and closing ratios.

1. Always have a manager call and thank the customer for setting aside the time and ensure the info given by your salesperson was correct and easy to follow directions were given.

2. Communicate-Have a meeting every morning and at shift change and make sure every manager and salesperson knows who has an appointment coming in, at what time, and what they are coming in for. This will do two things:

                A) Glorify those who are actually getting appointments and bring those appointments to their remembrance

                B) Ensure that whoever greets the customer can say “Oh yes, you’re on the VIP list ______ is expecting you!” Plus if that salesperson does happen to be tied up, you will not have lost the goodwill so tenaciously established in the appointment setting process.

3. Reception-A manager, preferably the one who confirmed the appt, should greet the guest and thank them for coming in and reassure them that the process will be pain free and straight-forward.

                These are three simple steps, but look at the benefits:

  • Salespeople will want to talk about and be ready for their appointments.
  • Those that don’t have them will begin to feel the importance placed by everyone in the Dealership on your process
  • The “Skate factor” definitely diminishes!

 

Customers feel they walked into a synergistic environment where everyone is aligned to ensure their satisfaction and they don’t have to re-explain themselves;

 

 and if perchance a manager does have to close a deal or go in on a turn, they are a known entity who is there to facilitate customer satisfaction not to hammer them into submission.

Appointments handled correctly can close 70% of the time. Handled the wrong way, they will be the unknown reason you never hear from the customer again.

Rob Fontano
Great stuff Bryan. Dealers know and understand the importance of appointments, but few have set processes in place for setting, confirming and receiving appointments. I think it is important to remember that the appointment is not of as great a convenience and benefit to the sales person as it is to the customer. We should set appointments with this in mind and convey to the customer that we know that they are busy and we want to make the best use of their time. Our BDC sets all appointments with our General Manager. We explain that he would like to personally assist them. If he is not available, a sales or finance manager must meet each appointment before they are introduced to a sales person. We can take that opportunity to review the customer’s goals for the visit and make sure that they are upped in the CRM. Remember the last thing a customer wants to do is start all over again after arriving at the dealership. They already spent what they believe to be a sufficient amount of time researching and communicating with your dealership online. Be prepared for every appointment, your professionalism will be appreciated and rewarded.
Bryan Armstrong
Thanks Rob. Wow,that is great to get that kind of buy-in from a G.M. and the rest of upper management as well. It's amzing that in this day and age that there are still those that their job is to "manage" and not LEAD.
Jim Bell
Good stuff Bryan...one more thing to add to the 'VIP' treatment. I have some salesguys that will pull the car of interest up to the front of the showroom with a "Reserved for Mr. and Mrs. _______." It definately makes the customer feel special when they see their vehicle of choice pulled up with their name on it.
Bryan Armstrong
Jim- That's STRONG! Thanks for sharing.

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