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From: Jared Hamilton
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Bryan Armstrong

Bryan Armstrong e-Commerce Director

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Let the Games begin

We all have them, the inevitable “lost” customer. Whether it is the dreaded “bought elsewhere” or even more horrifying “purchased same Brand, different Dealer”, much can be learned from taking the time to get to know WHERE and WHY your potential Customer chose to not do business with you. That’s right, I said YOU. If you’re not taking it personal, you should.

Today I want to touch briefly on just one of the myriad of reasons I’ve uncovered this last week in attempting to contact all customers who gave us the opportunity, but ultimately met their needs elsewhere. GAMES!

 

Most of you know I’m not talking Parker Bros. here. I mean back and forth, 3-card Monty, hide the profit, pack the payment, under-allow the trade, less than full disclosure, it’s still the 80’s, my customer can’t do math time wasters.

I’ll put myself out there with an example. I spoke with a customer who said they bought at my nearest and most heated competitor because they asked to see the invoice on the car and were told they needed to have a signed commitment to buy with a credit app first. When they declined and said they had already gotten a number (from Edmunds) and just wanted to verify that the offer they were willing to tender was on a similar priced vehicle as the one they had booked out, the answer came back that it was new in stock and the invoice was not yet in the book. They then told the salesman what they were prepared to offer and he told them it couldn’t be done. So they went up the street, found the car they liked, were shown the invoice, made their offer of approximately 2% OVER and bought their New Car.

Today’s customer is more educated and often times that objection or question they ask is nothing more than a test to see if YOU are the place they want to do business with.

Transparency has to become more than a catch phrase in today’s daily Sales Process. Either live it or don’t, either way if all are not embracing the same culture, you are destined to fail.

Is it easier for your sales force to get a “best price” off your website than from the desk? Do your customers walking in know more about your product than your so-called consultants? Does your “Brick and Mortar” operation mirror your on-line presence?

It may be time to take a poll of your own and find those extra deals per Month.

Jim Bell
This is a great reminder for all of us Bryan. I don't understand why some dealers have different pricing policies for an 'internet customer' vs. A walk in customer. With almost 70% consulting the web before they walk on the lot, almost all of your customers are internet dealers. You have to be careful if you don't have the same pricing on the lot as online. It can get you in trouble and bite ya where the sun don't shine if your not careful.
Hunter Swift
Jim, I agree. When friends ask me to help them with the purchase of a new vehicle my advice is always to call the dealerhsip and ask for the internet manager and ask for their best price vs walking into a dealership because I know this has always landed me the best price.
Bryan Armstrong
Thanks Jim and Hunter for your comments. I have just seen at too many Dealerships there is always the (at least) one Desk guy who brags about his per car over CSI, integrity or Best Practices. When are we going to drive out the Dinosaurs with their under-sized brains or do we just hope they don't continue to tarnish our COLLECTIVE Reputation and perpetuate a stereotype?
Kevin Bookbinder
Adding to your thought I think that the Internet department mistakenly found its home in the old fleet office at dealerships around the country. I know it did for me as my first gig in the business was a Fleet and Internet Manager...... This move created an expectation of deeper discounts using the fleet mentality of selling more for less. I think this is the root cause of the disconnect between the floor salesman and the internet salesman. I know many dealers struggle with the process of letting the internet dominate the retail environment, to me this is fools errand as the change is impossible. The real question to you Bryan (and Jim, Hunter, Jared et al) is this; How does a dealer transition there internet operations back into their retail model? The sooner the collective drops the fleet mentality in their internet departments the sooner the entire sales department will find harmony again-
Hunter Swift
With almost all customers originating from the internet I think that the dealerships roles need to be changed into a hybrid sales/internet role.

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