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Subaru puts spotlight on its test drive masters

Subaru UK has held a competition to test the skills of its retailers in turning customers’ test drives into potential sales.

The event has enabled the brand to identify skills requirements within the franchised network and hone its sales training.

Its national test drive competition involved around 75 dealers from all over the UK. Split into five regional heats, each competing sales person took their respective regional Subaru manager for a test drive during which they were rigorously assessed and marked.

The top performer from each region then headed to Subaru UK’s head-quarters where their test drive performances were further assessed by Subaru UK’s sales director Sam Burton.

Burton said: “We take the quality of our dealership experience extremely seriously. After all, the dealer and the test drive is the first point of contact between the customer and Subaru vehicles. Our renowned dealer training and development programme is constantly being revised and adapted to reflect the changing market place in which our colleagues operate, and to help equip dealers to succeed.”

Burton said the competition helps to show the importance of the test drive experience in demonstrating how Subaru’s qualities differ to mainstream brands.

“We have learned that the quality of test drives is generally good, but there is room for further improvement. The dealer attitudes are very positive, but the exercise proved that there is a real thirst for knowledge.”

Metrics are in place to monitor average conversion rate by dealer from enquiry to test drive, and from test drive to sale. A benchmarking system will be introduced for the network by mid-2011.

Burton said the ideal test drive should include a full presentation of the features of the model being demonstrated, and a comprehensive drive which incorporates a variety of road conditions.

The ultimate objective is to demonstrate how rewarding and reassuring Subarus are to drive, while highlighting their inherent active safety features.

The winner was Craige Dyer, a sales specialist at Vale Motors in Wincanton, Somerset. 

Burton added: “Craige sets a superb example for all sales staff.”

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