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Guest opinion: How to avoid five common causes of lost car sales

Nick Squire BTC 2015

Dealers looking to train and maintain a high-class sales team need to show a committed approach and a willingness to constantly review performance and processes.

Get it right, however, and the rewards are obvious.

Here’s a look at five common causes of lost sales in the automotive industry – and how they can be avoided.

Failure to manage customer expectations

Ensuring the customer has a realistic expectation throughout is key to achieving satisfaction and ultimately closing a sale.

This means taking the time to understand not only what they are looking for but also what factors will define a realistic outcome.

Budget is usually the main factor here, but there are others to consider too, such as understanding the customers real needs and wants.

If these aren’t considered at an early stage and the customer is given an unrealistic expectation, they’ll ultimately be left disillusioned and dissatisfied with the sales process – an outcome that rarely results in a sale.

Inefficient sales processes

While individual sales staff will have their own styles and approaches, setting up a structured process can help to avoid inefficiencies.

Even monitoring the workload of the sales team is important.

For example, juggling too many enquiries often leads to a lower conversion rate and therefore a structure that helps to allocate leads in an appropriate manner can lead to a major boost in efficiency.

Part exchange appraisal

A common complaint from many customers centres on the part exchange appraisal process.

While dealers must ensure they are not being overly generous with offers it is equally important to provide the customer with an appraisal that they regard as fair.

Key to this is transparency.

With the help of mobile technology and software, for example, it is possible to conduct appraisals around the vehicle that involve the customer.

If this is summarised in a report format, the customer can be provided with the reasoning and evidence behind a valuation.

More often than not, this is a major step in winning the customer’s confidence and ensuring a sale.

Poor follow-up procedures

Imagine your dealership has just hosted a successful event weekend, with lots of interest from potential customers.

You’ve already managed to secure some sales but other customers couldn’t be persuaded to make an on-day decision.

Contacting these customers with a view to retrospectively completing any additional sales may seem like an obvious step, but it’s surprising how often follow-up calls are overlooked.

A follow-up call should always happen for a reason and ideally happen within 48 hours of the customer leaving the showroom. 

If the sales team doesn’t have time to follow-up a substantial amount of calls it may be advisable to outsource this option.

Falling at the last hurdle

There’s nothing more frustrating than falling at the final hurdle. However, closing the deal can often prove a major stumbling block, even for experienced sales professionals.

At this stage, if effort isn’t made to think like the customer and address their queries or concerns, the likelihood of a closed deal is much more unlikely.

However, by offering a transparent approach to the final stages, as well as the willingness to answer and even anticipate the customers concluding questions, a positive outcome is much likelier.

For more information on BTC’s range of sales training programmes click here or speak to a member of the team here.

Author: Nick Squire (pictured), operations manager, BTC  



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