Consumers are drowning with information online in their car buying journey. Learn what’s distracting your visitors, how to engage them and proven tactics to keep their attention. Download Storyboard
A problem is on the blackboard. A class full of professionals are attesting to the principles necessary to garner the solution. Auto Retail Future is at stake.
A series devoted to highlighting the mathematical aspects of our careers and industry, 'Mathematics is a True Science' delves into the value of formulating winning equations for automotive sales in this segment.
Almost every consumer enters a dealership armed with tons of information and options. They are committed to an automotive purchase, but have no definitive integers in place to determine what they will buy from whom, where, and when. They come with aplenty, but all of it is in need of order. Organized thoughts are the result they hope to gain via the assistance of a professional automotive retail consultant.
It is you who must isolate each of these variables and assign them value. As a part of our professional duty, we must identify through communicating and listening to the true desires and the impulses which triggered the purchase, exactly which automobile will fit the consumer's needs perfectly. In my experience, this is an integer of 7. Yes, it seems a phenomenally large amount of cars for the client to be considering, but it is my number not without reason.
Ask a consumer about one car the entire time you are communicating with them, and you simply are not consulting. A model line up offers leverage to the experienced automotive retail professional. It affords the best deal closers an opportunity to get plenty of the "no's" consumers are sure to come armed with out of the way. Featuring vehicles plays to the strength of the consultant and to the weakness or impulse of the consumer. Converting the first integer in equations for sales success for automotive retail professionals into 1 from 7 is the most worthwhile training investment a dealership can make for its team.
Without belaboring the point, I ask that you imagine the possibility of selling only one single year, make, model of the same nameplate automobile across all dealer points. What if there were no options? What if every automotive consumer bought one Yugo or another, but had no choice in the matter of which symbol embellished their rides?
Clearly, this would simplify the first variable in our equation for success, but later you will understand why it would complicate the matter of sales success greatly. Most consumers have decided upon a nameplate before they meet an auto retail consultant.
So, thus far, our equation for automotive retail sales success is as such: (7-6)-x-y-z=Success!
Automotive retail is one of the few industries without fully dedicated online transactions. When buying books, electronics, clothing, and any manner of other staples today, consumers have the option of never contemplating from whom they are purchasing. Because cars do not drive out of computer screens into bedrooms, living rooms, or garages when consumers swipe to check out of their online shopping carts, the engagement with a consultant is a must. For the sake of those who contest, even the transportation guy can be assigned the consultant designation if he bequeaths the responsibility of delivering the automobile and it's books, keys and paper work to the consumer.
How do you harness the power to have a customer decide they will buy from you? How do you become the who in the equation for automotive retail sales success?
Dharmesh Shah, in his recent article "How to Harness the Power of Numbers" reveals when making angel investments "I either like the founders, or I don't..." This is a man who invests a great deal more in businesses than consumers do in automobiles. And, he offers simply that he buys from whom he likes. So, the old adage stands true. Customers buy from who they like. Internet tools may help potential car buyers like you, but few professionals have the capacity to leverage their online identities into sales production. The key to the second integer for the equation for automotive retail sales success is to not be 'disliked'. It is an easy proposition for a focused professional to constrain comments, ideas, and opinions which may redirect the purchase intent from the product to the person. And, as long as this is accomplished, our equation now reads as thus:
Another important fact of identity is, you are the company you keep. That's right! Your professional capacity is often a measure of the company you represent. For the sake of some brevity, making your dealership the solution for where a consumer will buy can be made easy.
Automotively speaking, there are many opportunities to brand your business inside the dealership. Relationship building strategists such as Dr. Stephen R. Covey suggest having a customer know you through simple staging of your office space using family photos, games, and honors. I concur in almost all instances - except if you do not have the capacity to multi-task or focus on moving quickly through the car deal if these items are present. Then, you should simply work from as bare an office space as possible. Like staging promotes relationship building with customers, a bare office implies your intent to stick strictly to the business of deal making.
If a consumer is at your desk, then where they will buy is the same as who they will buy from. Do nothing to switch the emphasis of the consumer from what they came to buy to where they are buying, and your equation for automotive retail sales success looks like this:
All the variables are almost decided. The ideal solution is 0. As a sales professional, you want absolutely zero "no's" left at the close of the deal. A favorite saying of mine is "they are only saying 'no' because you don't know enough to help them say 'yes'."
True consulting professionals in every realm - except maybe automotive retail - are compensated greatly for their time. As pivotal a part of the equation as any for automotive retail success is the ability to harness the when of the transaction.
Time is divine. Remember, after the presentation of the model line up, most of the auto retailing process is boring and unsensational for both consultant and consumer. Leverage this to your advantage by asking the customer "when was the last time you knew this much about 7 different cars you might buy?"
Refresh their memories about the most valuable aspect of their experience with you. Time seems to go at a faster than usual pace when fun is being had. Triggering the consumer's memory is a great way evoke the senses of sight, touch, smell, and sound again. Remember, these are the impulses which compel them to buy. So, showing 7 differnet cars has it's payoff in the end - just as I promised.
"To be considerate of your time Mr. and Mrs. Customer, if you don't oppose, I would like to get your paper work expedited while you fuel your new car." How many of you are considering the value of a second test drive to confirm the sale. Assuming the sale is the chutzpah champion professionals wield at the close in automotive retail. This is the "no need to waste time, let's get this over with" (not to be said to the customer, of course) portion of the deal. Consumers almost always are appreciative of folks who are respectful of their time. Speaking of time, if you have appropriately placed all the other integers into the equation for automotive retail sales success, then you are done.
There is no reason not to make the sale when using this consultative approach to solve the equation for automotive retail sales success.