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Welcome to NCM's Up to Speed Blog

Stop "Unselling" Your Customers!

Joe Basil
Written By: Joe Basil
Posted on October 13, 2015

How many used car deals have you “unsold” lately?

Yes, exactly: unsold. Take a look at your used car closing ratio. Chances are it’s between 25 and 35% … maybe even 50%. That means you aren’t closing half—even up to 75%—of your opportunities. So, what happened to the customers who came in for a specific used car and left without buying?

I have a guess: They got “unsold” at your dealership.

Sales decisions are faster than ever

Remember the old days? Back when we had showroom traffic logs on hand-written sheets and phone messages on pink slips? I kept our entire used-car inventory on a sheet in my pocket! And customers would visit four or more dealerships, on average, before closing a deal. They’d visit to collect information on availability, pricing, and selection. It’s during those times that we’d take a car on trade, put a price on it, and employ “let’s see what happens.” Well, those days are long gone!

In today’s used car world, customers are making slightly more than one dealership visit before purchasing. Instead of coming into the showroom, the internet gives them a portal for instant access to all of their pre-purchase research on model availability, pricing, dealership reputation, and geographic proximity. The majority of used-car customers come into our showrooms knowing what cars we have and what our prices are. Typically, they’ve already selected the car or truck they want to purchase. With so many customers submitting web leads, hitting the “call now” button or just showing up on the lot informed and ready to purchase, we should be closing 100% of our used-car traffic.

Why aren’t you closing more leads?

As Dave Anderson has frequently points out, we have total control over two differentiating factors in our dealerships: our people and our customer experience. Based on the fact that most customers come into our showroom with a vehicle selected, there’s clearly some disconnect between these two factors that causes customers to become “unsold.”

Inspect what we expect

When disconnects happen, it’s a good time to inspect what we expect! It’s time to audit your customer experience. Shop your own store online, on the phone, listen to the phone calls, and mystery shop in the showroom.

Consider whether or not you have the right people in the right position. Do your employees express your dealership culture and values to each customer, every time?

Take a look at the customer handling process. Is it a one-size-fits-all approach, or do you adapt to the customer’s purchasing preferences? Customers should have an experience that earns you rave reviews in reputation management. If that’s not happening, ask yourself if your salespeople are trained properly on how to deliver an outstanding customer experience. Spot check, too, to see if they can even describe it accurately.

Sure, the sales process has changed. But thanks to the internet, many people come onto the lot informed and ready to purchase—meaning we have more opportunities than ever to close more deals. Take advantage of this new reality by making sure your staff and customer handling process is up to the task.

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