Has your dealership ever experienced the following scenario?
A prospect walks into your dealership and leaves without buying a car. The Manager asks the salesperson why and they respond that the prospect couldn’t afford the car they wanted or he didn’t have the car the prospect wanted. A third party conducts a follow-up interview with the prospect and a completely different version of the interaction is revealed.
Sound familiar? The question now becomes: What should your dealership do with those third party follow-ups to improve sales?
I've studied this situation throughout dealerships across the country. Here’s what I found. The biggest difference between stores that increased sales and those that didn’t is what they did with the third party follow-up information.
I found that unsuccessful dealerships had the tendency to ask their staff for an explanation of the prospect’s survey and feedback before they called the prospect back. Salespeople and Managers tend to get extremely defensive when they learn that a prospect does not have the same perception of their visit as they do. I’ve personally witnessed them call the prospect “crazy”. They will make excuses...like, the prospect couldn't afford the monthly payment. If you go to your staff first, you’ve essentially tainted the effectiveness of the third party follow-up and, in all likelihood, you will not be able to effectively sell to that opportunity.
On the contrary, successful dealerships approach the third party follow-up as an entirely new opportunity. Since the prospect won’t come back to look at the very car they didn’t buy yesterday, the successful dealership has a plan to re-car the prospect. They use the information presented in the third party follow-up to get a better understanding of the prospect’s needs and determine a way to meet those needs by recommending other vehicles on the lot. They get excited about showing the prospect the vehicle that would fit their needs; stating that they “just got it" or that the staff last night was unaware of it. Additionally, if needed, they apologize for any poor service the prospect perceived to be unacceptable, offer a test drive the prospect perceived they were not offered, and express the desire to present an offer the prospect perceived they didn’t previously receive. Again, all of the dealership’s actions are based on the prospect’s perceptions that were ascertained by the third party follow-up.
At the end of the day, ask yourself one question: Who do we sell to…Our staff? Or our customers and prospects?
Why get your staff's opinion of what happened when you have your prospect’s opinion of what happened? The very minute you get an "update” from your staff… the very minute you go to the salesman or the manager to "better understand what happened” is the very minute you taint your view of the prospect. To be successful, you must use the information from a third party follow-up without consulting your staff, as they will affect your perspective and strategy to “re-car” the prospect.
During the first opportunity your dealership had with this prospect your staff probably reacted to “what are you looking for” and allowed the prospect to control what vehicle you showed them. But now, thanks to the third party follow-up, you are in control. You know the prospect’s personal vehicle needs and their down payment and monthly payment budgets. You know your inventory. This time you can control which vehicle you show the prospect and you know what your profit margins will be when they purchase the vehicle.
Following a third party follow-up, make sure you implement two processes:
(1) Have a different manager and salesperson tackle this opportunity
(2) Have a “re-car” plan - Work the numbers on two separate vehicles that you know will fit the prospect’s personal and financial needs and will generate you sufficient gross profits before you call them back.
~ 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.
The blog is accessible via: http://automotivedirectmarketing.blogspot.com/