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Jared Hamilton
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Mark Tewart

Mark Tewart President

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The Death of the Traditional Dealership: Part 8

Surveys continually show that people dislike buying a vehicle. Although the numbers have gotten better over the years, people still dislike the car-buying experience. The key word here is “experience.” Everything you do is sales and selling. Every person in the dealership is in sales. Everything the customer sees is selling. What message is the customer receiving?


Selling today is not about feature-benefit selling alone. Any dealership that is being trained primarily on feature-benefit sales approaches is boring their customers to death and practicing “me-too” sales approaches.


Imagine a good old-fashioned water slide. I like to call these “slippery-slides.” When you get on a slippery-slide, you start at the top and you effortlessly slide down with nothing to obstruct your destination. In traditional selling, we teach a road-to-the-sale process that is akin to making a customer go through an obstacle course. Have you ever seen a person at the end of an obstacle course? That person is tired, drained and spent. Do your customers feel the same way?


Here are some points to observe in your dealership:


Do your customers experience an easy, simple and pleasing first impression and perception?


Website - Receptionist - Inventory Merchandising - Salesperson Greeting - Process


Websites — The best Websites aren’t often the prettiest or have the most bells and whistles, but are simple and easy, catch a customer’s attention and invite, engage and create a call to action. What is the “TOT?” What is “The One Thing” you want your customers to do who visit your site?


Your Website sells.


Receptionist — Has your receptionist ever been trained? Do you ever pay attention to how he/she greets customers on the phone or in person? Most dealers would be shocked if they took the time to “look under the covers.”


Your receptionist sells.


Inventory/Merchandising — Go across the street from your dealership and look back. Get in your car and drive by your dealership from every angle possible. Look through the eyes of the customer. What do you see? Where is the natural sight line of your customers in relation to your dealership? What message are you conveying and are you inviting and engaging your customer? When your customer pulls on the lot, do you have clearly marked directions? Do you have clearly marked and easy access to parking? Is your inventory clean, grouped and aligned in a way that it displays absolute fanaticism and perfectionism towards creating a “wow” experience for the customer? Is your lot clean, painted and policed on a regular basis?


Your inventory and the merchandising of your inventory sell.


Salespeople and Managers — Do your salespeople greet customers? If so, how do they do it? Yesterday, I walked into 12 different dealerships and the greeting at all but one of those dealerships was either non-existent or horrific. How does your dealership recover from a bad greeting? Many dealerships are spending a ton of time and money on Internet leads but not a minute or a dime on what to do when you get them. Yesterday, I experienced not being greeted at many dealerships. I experienced greetings from salespeople and managers who would not get out of their chair to greet me. I experienced many unexcited, non-smiling greetings that would make any customer feel uninvited and uneasy. I also experienced group greetings by managers and salespeople congregating in groups who stared at me but did not greet me. I wonder how your customers are being greeted? I am beginning to believe that all managers’ chairs should be removed from showrooms.


Your salespeople and managers sell with everything they do or don’t do.


Process — What do your customers hate about your process and why? Do your customers hate your negotiation process? If so, it is easy to fix. Train on how to negotiate without the customer feeling the negatives of negotiation or eliminate most or all of negotiation. Do your customers hate your F&I process? What do they hate and why? Remove the things they dislike or just proactively change the perception of the process. Perception becomes reality for a customer.


Your process sells.


Everything and everybody associated with your dealership sells. The question is, how well?


For a free Special Report “Ten Things Every Dealer Must Do to Be Successful This Year” e-mail me at the address below with the phrase “Ten Things” in the subject line.

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