CDK's purchase of Auto/Mate may create a major disruption in the dealer management system (DMS) industry. Here is our take. DOWNLOAD
There are seven steps to make immediate change. These steps can be used to quickly increase sales by a more significant amount than you have ever experienced.
Step 1: Change the Environment
The military uses boot camp. Baseball has spring training. Football has training camp. The easiest way to bring about rapid change is to change environment. When you change environment, you change behavior. People tend to hold onto limiting beliefs and behaviors as long as they stay in their normal environment.
Regular training sessions should be done outside of the dealership environment. It is easier to create a sense of team and discuss goals and ideas and get input if you are outside of your normal environment. It’s also important to eliminate distractions to supercharge the learning that takes place in the new environment — no cell phones, no interruptions.
Step 2: Change Appearances
First appearances greatly influence the decision-making process of people. Change the appearance of your dealership and your people and it can make a huge difference. Walk across the street from your dealership and look back. Ask yourself, what do your customers see? Drive by your dealership at different angles of view and ask the same question. Small changes can make give your customers much greater curb appeal and catch the attention of others. When your customers pull into your dealership, what do they see? Your vehicles should create a sensation of “WOW” for your customers. Make your dealership clean, visually appealing and easy to navigate. Confusion breeds indecision.
What do your employees look like? People buy from people they feel most comfortable with in appearance, beliefs and values. As a rule of thumb, your salespeople should be dressed slightly above your customers. This will allow your customers to be comfortable and respect your employees at the same time.
Step 3: Get Incremental Buy-in From Your Customers
To sell, you must get out of your own way. Often, salespeople are the biggest hindrance in creating a sale. You must first create trust with your customers. To create trust, you must have a mindset of TLC – Think Like a Customer. You must release the mentality of a salesperson to slow the process and bring incremental buy-in from your customer. It is not a mistake that the symbol for questions is shaped like a hook. The right questions asked correctly are the hooks that make the sale come together. Questions should be asked in incremental order so as not to scare the customer. Sequential questioning will establish a fluid process of discovery for the customer. This will create rapport and establish feelings of reciprocation and obligation from the customer. Most salespeople violate the customers trust by asking financial data questions too quickly. This also interrupts the natural pace of communications and creates apprehension in the customer. Remember that selling is like tuning in a radio dial to the right frequency. You must take your time and listen.
Step 4: Facts Tell, Stories Sell
People need to combine verbal, visual and emotional evidence. All this can be accomplished with “similar situation” stories. People don’t buy vehicles; they buy emotional solutions to problems that they can see in their mind’s eye and feel in their hearts. Features are like the scenes of the movie. Benefits are the underlining storyline and stories are the emotions that tie everything together. Personalize everything you do with true and relatable stories and visualizations.
Step 5: Be Unforgettable
What is your “WOW” factor? Have an SDP – Specific Defining Proposition. You must make your claim of why you, your dealership and your product are the best for the customer. Don’t be shy about differentiating from your competitors. Make the largest truthful claims possible. Create the brand of your dealership. What makes you, your employees and your dealership stand out and become remarkable? What will your customers not forget about their experience with your people, process, product or market position?
Step 6: Use Testimonial Selling
When someone else toots your horn, it will be heard twice as far and twice as long. Customer testimonials and evidence of trust are a massive sales builder and marketing tool. Utilize the people who like and trust you to convince others. Letters, videos, audio testimonials, pictures and direct testimonials create the strongest form of social acceptance available.
Step 7 - Dance With the One You Came With
Your best source of success for now and the future are the customers who like you, trust you and have done business with you. Before you spend one dollar on advertising for new customers, determine your process and actions in maintaining your current customers and how they can provide you more customers.
These seven steps are universal and undeniable. If followed, they will provide you with increased sales and profits. If you would like what I call the “8th Wonder of the World” step, e-mail me at email@example.com with “8th Wonder” in the subject line.