In the current retail automotive landscape, I see far too many managers laser-focused on just a few clusters of activity in the showroom. While that is important, there is exponentially more happening outside the showroom that needs to be brought in. Let's examine some of the most valuable opportunities outside the showroom to overcome this short-sighted mindset. When customers are brought in, they have the potential to increase your bottom line drastically.
The prospects that are most likely to buy a car from your store today are the customers that left your showroom yesterday without a sale. There is a massive opportunity around appropriately following up with these prospects and getting them back in. Many salespeople DO NOT follow-up with customers who have visited the showroom, and those who do rarely have an effective game plan or strategy. That's a big leak we need to fix. So why don’t salespeople execute on unsold showroom traffic follow-up calls? Often, I hear the following:
- They don't have confidence in the success of the tactic.
- They are unprepared for what to say.
- They have a lack of understanding of why they are calling.
- They are unprepared with enough information to properly close the sale.
To get the "be back bus" rolling in your dealership, we need to quickly diagnose a client's current objections and overcome the issues to get them back into the showroom a second time.
#1: Why Did They Leave?
Many of your salespeople tell you that clients leave because they're out of time, or because they must talk to their spouse; however, survey research has found that those were real reasons only about 3% of the time. A few actual reasons that clients leave without buying are: they're still shopping around, or they have a price objection. Your salespeople have to be equipped to handle these situations properly. If after your salesperson test drove an F150 with a client yesterday, that client visited the Toyota dealership down the street to test drive a Tundra, who might have the advantage? The last salesperson likely has an edge because he or she could compare the Tundra against your F150. Following up with this client takes power back.
#2: Take Action
The difference between making deals and missing deals is knowing what to say. Therefore, you need to train your salespeople. For training to be effective, your salesperson should be:
- Educated on what to say and why to say it.
- Practicing (or even better, simulating/role-playing) what they've been taught, so they internalize and memorize it.
- Held accountable by management staff to execute to this standard.
Take yesterday’s guest sheets into your morning meeting and role play with your team. They should be able to control the call, connect the dots to get to the real objection, keep the client away from the defensive, properly outline the benefits of doing business with your dealership, and overcome objections to get the customer back into the showroom. They should be convincing and confident. Your salespeople should be prepared and have one more answer right on the tip of their tongues—that is what's going to help you sell more cars.
#3: The Unsold Opportunity
The things that have the most significant impact are some of the most straightforward and obvious things we could do. When you get your team correctly executing on these small things, how many more cars will you sell every month? 15? 25? More?
You all know how many cars you sold last month. I bet it would take less than a minute for you to know how many used and new deals were closed. However, your team might not know how many sales are missing because your salespeople aren't correctly following up on unsold clients. Act on the fact that your biggest monthly expense, as well as an opportunity for growth, might be missed opportunities to do business. Work with your team to get better at this and watch their confidence and car count rise dramatically!
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