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Sales Driver

Out With the Old

August 10, 2010

The summer selling season is here, and what better time than now to introduce some fresh perspective on the marketplace. The question is, are you ready? Is your dealership ready? Even before the recession took hold of our industry, the Internet was changing the game for auto dealers. I’m sure you’ve seen the stat from J.D. Power and Associates: Eighty percent of car shoppers do research online before they ever enter a dealership. There are some other stats to consider as well.

According to CNW Research, Internet prospects in 2009 generated an average gross profit of $754 — the lowest figure for any customer type. And that’s for the customers who bought cars, as the average closing ratio for Internet prospects was a woeful 18.1 percent in the first quarter of last year.

I blame these numbers on a difficult-to-break connection between the fundamentals of successful selling and the ideas that are considered “old school.” The meet-and-greet and test drive are considered indispensable tools of the sales process. Then there are the old-school word-tracks and catchphrases, such as “Come on down,” and “Help me help you.” The problem with lines like that is the way we need to communicate with customers has changed.

As I touched on earlier, the Internet is forcing this change. Easy access to more dealers and more information will continue to raise customers’ level of education. The challenge we face is that many salespeople and managers do not invest their time to understand the type of information their customers are exposed to. The ability to provide third-party credibility has become a key element to increasing closing ratios and maintaining favorable gross profit.

Let’s look at four key areas that, if improved, will help you meet the particular challenges of the new-school customer.

1. Expand Your Online Education

Invest whatever time you can in poring over the latest third-party data on the cars you sell. Start with Edmunds.com and KBB.com. Also check out newer sites like TrueCar.com. These three and many others wield a great deal of power with today’s consumer, so it’s important to be able to “talk the talk” with this new-school customer.

2. Get More Training

Seek out training that improves your communication. Training is not the act of learning something one time; training is conditioning. LeBron James has known how to shoot a basketball for a long time, but the conditioning and repetition of doing it is what made him great. So, your challenge will be to expose yourself to new information and start to replace some of the old-school word-tracks and techniques with new ones.

3. Step Outside of Your Box

Work on modeling your prospects. This basically means mirroring their tone and body language. It also means listening for ways to make a connection. It’s highly likely that you’re doing a great job selling to customers with whom you connect on a personal level. The disconnect between dealer and customer typically occurs when there is a personality mismatch. When that happens, it’s easy to go from conversational to confrontational.

4. Reevaluate Your Methods

A quick, easy, but powerful way to evaluate your sales methods is to simply write down what you’re doing now and why you do it that way. Once you’ve done that, ask yourself if there is a better way. Yes, a breakthrough can be that simple to attain.

Your mission is to master the ability to achieve incremental sales. Think about the impact four to seven extra deals per salesperson per month would have on your store’s income and business profitability? So, get started, get ready, and let the summer selling season begin. I plan to be with you along your journey and I look forward to helping you increase your results — no matter what your job title is.

Cory Mosley is principal of Mosley Training LLC, a nationally recognized training provider focused on new school techniques, products and services. E-mail him at cory.mosley@bobit.com.

Comments

  1. 1. Jesse Pappas [ August 10, 2010 @ 05:20PM ]

    Cory,

    Thanks for the insight on how the finance world is changing. I think you made a good point siting credibility will be key in dealers earning a good profit. Good credibility will help customers decide what products to purchase. After market product sales will be the place where dealers earn additional revenue. This will be even more true with many finance companies paying flats and not traditional reserves.

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Author Bio

Cory Mosley

Dealer Consultant

Cory is a sales training specialist who brings a new-school approach to automotive retailing. Get his monthly take on the opportunities and challenges impacting today’s front-end departments right here at www.fi-magazine.com.

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