“If a Fiat 500 customer is looking to move into a bigger vehicle, this brand can’t meet their needs, but having been our customer for some time, they will feel confident we will give them the service they want and will be comfortable in considering suitable vehicles elsewhere in our brand portfolio.”
So, how is this level of care achieved?
Constant attention to detail, hard graft and industry-beating rewards, summarises Cohen.
The motivation starts for new staff at an induction, held every six to eight weeks, meeting group directors in the boardroom – “you can’t beat making sure fresh recruits understand the Glyn Hopkin way” – and then through continuous performance monitoring and pressure to do better.
Ongoing training is provided to new staff for six months, through in-house and manufacturer programmes, with Skillnet providing service and aftersales courses.
In 2012, the group employed an in-house sales trainer, Chris Jennings. Every salesperson will have a three-day course with Jennings.
Positive feedback from new starters led to the decision to begin using him to look at the poor performers, irrespective of the amount of time they have been with the company, through regular assessments.
“He’ll look at product presentation, for example,” Cohen said. “To try and understand why someone who has been in the trade for five years, say, but they’re struggling to meet the performance level. It might be they need guidance on closing.”
Cohen admits the group’s brand portfolio is a cause of why there is underperformance among the sales team.
“We represent great brands, but they’re not like Audi and Land Rover, with people queuing up to buy them. So we need highly motivated sales people that won’t let this obstacle get in the way.”
To aid in the selling and motivation, Glyn Hopkin has put considerable emphasis on product knowledge. Cohen believes that if customers truly entered showrooms knowing exactly what they want, as many suggest, non-automotive retailers such as Tesco, would be able to sell cars without the expertise that franchised dealers offer.
“Customers do not say ‘I know exactly what I want’, but they do know more about the make and model and the sort of spec they want. So, sales staff must know everything about a car in order to sell the benefits.”
Concentrating on product knowledge
Before key models in each brand launch, Glyn Hopkin carries out internal product knowledge assessments. These are in addition to those provided by manufacturer and include a five-point ‘walkaround’ presentation by every salesperson on the aspects every customer should be made aware of. The assessment takes place over three days and is a follow-on, in more detail, to basic product awareness insight Jennings gives new recruits.