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Since my last blog was about logging prospects via a "Master Log”, it's now time to talk about what to do with the log once you've got it. Traveling the country I've seen the problem over and over again. Management often doesn’t think they have a problem. I hear "That doesn't happen here" all the time. Most sales people and some sales managers know EXACTLY what to tell their bosses to make them go away. After all, sales people and some sales managers "know" who can buy a car and who can't and they "know" if the prospect they talked to yesterday could have bought a vehicle, they would have sold them one yesterday. So why follow up with them today?
First let's look at the reasons why your staff thinks people didn't buy a vehicle from them: 1. They are too buried in their current vehicle. 2. They don't have enough down payment. 3. They couldn't afford the monthly payment on the vehicle. 4. You didn't have the specific vehicle they were looking for. 5. They were just looking. Granted some people are too buried in their trade and some people are credit challenged. Those are the examples that your staff will want to talk about.
The successful dealerships look at those same reasons with what I call a "mirrored" perspective:
1. They are too buried in their current vehicle. That's true based on the vehicle YOU showed them. 2. They don't have enough down payment. That's true too, based on the vehicle YOU showed them.
3. They couldn't afford the monthly payment. Based on the vehicle YOU showed them this may be true, as everyone has a budget.
4. You didn't have the specific vehicle they were looking for. Some people do come to your store with a specific vehicle in mind. YOUR common response to "I want a CD player, white exterior and grey leather" is usually something along the lines of: "That's a number 4, we don't have one, but we'll find one for you". I've seen some salespeople even tell them what dealership they found it at! If your order taker would have applied some salesmanship, they could have asked " If I found white one and it had a CD player and I could save you $2,000 but the interior was brown, would you want a lower payment or grey interior?". Here's a great test, the next time your salesman gives you that reason for losing an up, ask him what part of the "package" was the deal killer. If we knocked off $2,000 did they really have to have a CD player or was it the grey interior that killed the deal? More than half the time YOUR salesperson/sales manager will say "What?" 5. People "look" at cars on the Internet! Most people don't have time to just go looking for a vehicle with no intention to purchase a vehicle either now or in the near future. Sure, people do tell your staff that they are just looking. What your staff doesn't understand is they are just looking FOR A VEHICLE TO BUY! The art of actually selling a vehicle has been lost for years. Often the consumer knows more about the vehicle on your lot and what other makes/ models compete with that vehicle then your staff does. So what do managers do? They ask the wrong questions and don't inspect what they expect.
They ask “did you call yesterday's prospects back?”. The answer might be yes. They should ask “did you talk to yesterday's prospects?”. The answer will be no. I've actually tested this at several dealerships. Test it in your store! If you get the right answer more than 50% of the time then you're doing GREAT!
The second question must be “what did you talk to them about?”. The answer will be something like: "about the same vehicle they were looking at yesterday. Can they come up with $5,000 down? Can they now afford $700.00 a month?". The answer should be "about that vehicle and the back up plan to BRING THEM BACK IN THE STORE AND SHOW THEM ANOTHER VEHICLE!".
After you do this a few times, most of your salespeople/sales managers will change their answers. Again, generally speaking, people will tell you what you want to hear to make you go away. Then what do you do? YOU pick up the phone and do a test call. Tell the prospect that you’re the manager and your calling to make sure that when your salesperson called today, they were courteous and helpful and offered them an additional $200.00 if them could come back in. You will quickly find out if they called or not.
I'm assuming that most of the people who read this are actually "in" the industry and, at this point, literally saying to themselves that this WILL NEVER HAPPEN. If you're one of them, YOU'RE CORRECT. So what do the successful dealerships do about it? They have a third party do their follow up. People will tell a third party more than they'll ever tell you. You'll start understanding your customers’ perception of their visit. That is the perception you want to base your decisions on. Some deals don't happen; not because the prospect didn't like the salesperson (after all, we try to hire nice people), they don't happen because they didn't "click" with the salesperson. You'll never know that if you depend on your staff to follow up. You'll never know that they went to a competitor and got $200.00 more for their trade, you'll never know if they got a reality check and now understand they can't get a $50,000 vehicle for $199.00 a month. Why won't you know? YOUR STAFF thinks people don't buy vehicles because: They are too buried in their current vehicle, They don't have enough down payment, They couldn't afford the monthly payment on the vehicle, You didn't have the specific vehicle they were looking for or They were just looking. Looking in the mirror is not easy for a salesperson a manager or a store. Once you have a third party providing real information to you there is still a lot of work to do. It will be very difficult to react to your prospects perception. Your instincts will tell you to ask the salesperson what happened before you call that prospect back…which means you really don't want to see what's in the mirror.
~ Steve Dozier, Sales Director @ DMEautomotive
Steve Dozier brings 15 years of experience in the automotive industry to DMEautomotive. Before joining Full Circle Solution and DMEautomotive, he held upper level management positions in the retail industry. Steve also owned a consulting company that specialized in CRM and direct mail, which brought in $2 Million in Sales for approximately 5 years. While serving as a consultant Steve was consistently recruited by the top 3 CRM firms of that time.
Since starting with DMEautomotive Steve has held a managerial position overseeing the Dealer-to-Dealer team. He is responsible for the entire telephony sales department.
Steve is married with two children and enjoys scuba diving and boating in his free time.