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Hunter Swift

Hunter Swift Manager of Market Development

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Knowledgeable Customers

Do your customers know more about the cars you sell than your salespeople?

A couple of months ago, a friend of mine was in the market for a new car. He, like the majority of new car buyers, began his shopping experience online. He knew six months ago that his lease was ending and that he was in need of a new car. My friend looked at current models and then began to look at new model releases. He was interested in a car that was coming out about the same time he was going to be returning his lease. The next couple of months he was looking at spy photos, reading reviews, watching YouTube videos and he even went to the auto show to see the car in person.

Knowing that I am also into cars, my friend would forward things to me that he would find every once in a while about the vehicle, like “check out this…” or “did you know that…” I could see that he was really excited about the car.

The time had come when the new models began to arrive at dealerships. My friend called and asked me if I would look at the car with him. The car was everything he thought it would be. We were surprised though at how little the sales rep knew about the car he was selling. It was almost comical, but in the back of my mind I was thinking about how sad it was.

The demo and walk through, in my opinion, is the most important part of the sales cycle. The salesperson didn’t know anything that added value. Some may say that it is best when you have customers who are already sold and excited about the car, but this sales person lost credibility. When my friend had a question he didn’t ask the salesperson anything because he knew that the salesperson would not have the ability to answer.

In the end, my friend went to another dealership and got a salesperson that owned an older model and who was very knowledgeable in the new model. The salesperson even suggested things that he could do to customize the vehicle.

This experience has me thinking:

  • Who is responsible for training your sales staff on the vehicles they sell, themselves, management or the manufacturer?


  • What are you doing to ensure that your salespeople know the products they sell?


  • Do your salespeople get excited for the cars that come to your dealership as much as your customers do?


  • Do your salespeople see themselves as sales professional responsible to create as much value for the customer as possible?


Dealerships can spend tons of money on marketing, technology, and inventory but success often ultimately depends on the salespeople.  Training salespeople is crucial. Product knowledge is an important part. Knowing the vehicles they sell is just one part of it, they should also know the competition they are selling against.

What are your thoughts?



Hunter Swift is the Business Analyst at DealerSocket and specializes in Automotive/Dealership processes that help dealerships become more effective by maximizing their opportunity to improve all aspects of the sales cycle, including: driving traffic, marketing, proper sales, and demonstration techniques. He also specializes in helping dealerships increase their customer satisfaction, reduce their web-lead response times and to improve accountability. Follow Me: @HunterSwift



Stephen Brown
I have often wondered the same thing. I am going to be training 3 green peas very soon, and I was thinking of having them be in the customers position on a demo ride with an experienced salesperson on each of the models. If the salesperson who sold your friend the car took the first one on a test drive and did a 6 position, I think that it would be the quickest way to learn the most important info about the car. What I've found, is that the real product knowledge advantage is to be had with intimate knowledge. It takes effort and time to really get to know a car, but what is the quickest way to get there with a newbie?
Stacy Mueller
That's a good suggestion, Stephen. You don't necessarily want to throw them in the deep end, but some working knowledge of a vehicle is definitely necessary to not appear like the salesman Hunter described. Perhaps during downtime, it would be beneficial for salespeople to browse sites with car news like Auto Blog just so they are on top of the same news potential customers might be seeing as well.
Hunter Swift
Stacy, That what I am thinking. Besides AutoBlog, have you checked out and the upcoming Setting up Google Alert might be good too.
Stacy Mueller
I have seen Jalopnik, yes. They are relatively timely with their news- I think I've seen them update with news before AutoBlog even. And Google Alerts is great as well. It would be useful if you had only 1 or 2 opportunities a day to really be checking for news since Google Alerts would just compile everything for you.
Adam Thrasher
Carscoop is a great blog as well. I get emails from them on a daily basis and it takes 5 seconds to see if any of the latest articles have anything I want to look at. If there is an article that pertains to us, I'll send the link to our salespeople so they can add it to their evidence manuals.

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