Franchised dealers need to radically change their approach to selling in order to survive, is the stark warning from automotive sales training company TALENTStream’s John Gardiner.
The modern day dealer needs to adopt sales techniques akin to the High Street retailer and allow customers to ‘browse’ the product at their leisure rather than pounce on them as soon as they enter the dealership.
As director of learning and personal development, Gardiner argues the current approach, based on the traditional ‘seven principles of selling’ are dead and if dealers do not react, customers will continue to vote with their feet and showrooms will remain empty.
The ‘browsing’ approach to sales will be explored further at AM’s Hit for Six conference which takes place at the Quadrangle Conference Centre, Oxford, on November 13. The new conference explores six fundamental areas - new cars, used cars, aftersales, F&I, the digital arena and profit and brings together experts and dealer case studies to enable delegates to gain valuable insight and tangible solutions under one roof in one day.
With figures from dealer case studies, Gardiner, whose automotive experience includes working as an area manager for Honda, aims to show how a more relaxed sales technique has a dramatic increase on results.
One dealer group who adopted this leisurely approach to selling, which TALENTStream calls ‘Momentum’, saw sales increase by 37% in just 12 weeks.
Gardiner said: "We undertake extensive research around the science of shopping and buying preferences. We look at what the customer wants from a buying experience and they don’t want to sit at someone’s desk and talk about finance plans. It’s not on the customer’s agenda; they want to fall in love with the product and if they are allowed to do that, they are prepared to pay for it."
As soon as a prospect walks into the showroom, a prospect is removed from the product and taken to a desk where they are subjected to a vast array of questions including ‘are you buying today?’; ‘how are you funding your vehicle?’; ‘do you have a part-exchange?;’ and ‘do know about service plans?’.
Gardiner said: "We can only sell the finance if we sell the car and we forget that we are selling the car. We are selling all these other products but all we are doing is putting the cart before the horse.
"Compare that to the experience of someone who is buying a shirt on the High Street – the experience is very different.
“When a prospective client comes into the showroom, don’t march him or her off to your desk, let them look at the car first, allow them to engage with the product. We have found the sales process then gains momentum, it is speeded up because clients do not feel they are under any pressure.”
Other benefits of a relaxed approach to sales include the length of time to ‘sell’ the car diminishes, the reduced pressure results in a higher customer loyalty and dealers’ CSI scores increase dramatically.
More information and details of how to book are available at www.hitforsixconference.com