Monthly Archives: March 2014

Salesmen vs. The Internet

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Let’s face it… The internet has affected the way consumers shop so greatly that we have had to come up with a totally different approach to selling and customer service in general. Now, not only do we have to educate our customers on the product, but sometimes we have to correct information they may have read online or reviews they may have read in forums and manufacturer websites. We expect that customers who walk onto our lots, casually on a Sunday afternoon, already have some idea of what they are looking to buy and that they are in fact there to buy after hours of online research.

Some customers are content to purchase a vehicle based on the information they have read alone. Or maybe they are just so in love with the vehicle’s styling, or the celebrity who appears in the commercial (Durango anyone?), that they don’t even want to take a test drive. In these cases your job is easy… You don’t even have to spend time walking the customer around the lot showing them their options, let alone detail the specs on each automobile on your lot.  It’s easy to do these things after a while. You become lazy and assume the customer knows what they are looking for and you start clerking deals instead of making sales.

Customer Service is King

Take the time to show each customer that there are other options available. Do your due diligence as a sales person to make certain that the vehicle they have chosen is in fact the one that will best suit their needs. Build rapport and trust by asking those questions we all know we should ask and qualify your customers. If your customer has children and is looking at a smaller cross over or SUV ask them if they have their car seats with them and let them try to fit them in the back seat. You can’t very well do that online… and nothing is more annoying that little feet kicking the back of your headrest. You may need to show that customer a vehicle with more interior space and for that, they will thank you.

Test Drive, Test Drive, Test Drive

No online review can let a customer FEEL what it’s like to take a hard left in that shiny new midlife crisis on wheels. Getting the customer into the vehicle and on the road is essential. If they love it… They will love you. And that is the gateway to referral business. True customer loyalty is a mixture of two things: How much they adore you and their satisfaction with the product you sold them. Miss on either of those two points and you probably shouldn’t bother to give them those 5 business cards when you send them on their way in their new car.

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The Warm and Fuzzies

Has your web browser ever asked you how you are feeling today? My guess is not. Online shoppers can’t really get that glow of satisfaction from shopping or buying online.  If they are in your store it’s because they want a PERSON to help them along their car buying journey. This is your chance to become a rock star. Five Minute friendships are probably one of my most favorite things about sales. You’re a person, act like one. Find commonalities between yourself and your customer. Do they have a pet or children or a hobby you can relate to? Break down that wall that the customer puts up the second they step foot on your asphalt and humanize yourself.

Don’t let the interweb dumb down your process. You can still make a difference and be a top notch sales person… It’s all about the thrill of the close. But there’s not much thrill if you are just taking orders and filling out paperwork. Treat every customer like a new challenge and set goals for yourself each day. You may not sell everyone you talk to but I promise you’ll feel a greater sense of accomplishment if you invest yourself in your work… and having someone come in asking for you is a pretty awesome reward.

Do you know your Work-Flow?

A key feature to all Customer Relationship Management systems is the work-flow process.  If your CRM doesn’t provide useful work-flow options, all it really is, is an expensive Rolodex.  The CRM work-flow is the transmission and your sales professionals or BDC are the engine – in theory.  Often when I go out to revisit a current iMagicLab Dealer Partner, one of the central problems in many dealerships is that upper management is not familiar with the work-flow process that is currently in place in their store.  They know that their staff is supposed to do “work” and clean up their work plans, but they don’t know what’s going on step by step – just that the CRM isn’t “working” well.

To the sales staff, a CRM is synonymous with big-brother and extra work.  Sadly, and far too often, that extra work goes into how to cheat the CRM and give the appearance that more has been accomplished throughout the day than what really has. So you have managers that feign enforcement on something they know little about and you have sales representatives that feel like they’re forced to cheat the system to avoid punishment from on high.

Very efficient, Right? Yeah, not so much…  The solution?

Start by investigating your work-flow process within your CRM system.  If your CRM came with a default plan, learn it, and find ways to customize it to better match the needs of your clientele and your store.  Don’t know how to do that?  Then follow the universal maxim “less is more.”  START OVER and trim your processes down to the point where they can be managed.  Strip out all auto-responders, reduce your scheduled calls by 80% and watch.  At the end of the day a made follow-up is always better than 10 unmade ones.  Once you feel you’re on top of the process, then you can add on to it.

So ask yourself these questions:  Do I know my workflow?  Do I know if it’s efficient?  If not, how can I monitor / manage its efficiency?  What changes should I make to increase efficiency

Need help?  Reach out to your Store’s dedicated iMagicLab account Representative via the InstaHelp button on the top right corner of your MyDay. They can assist your management team with analyzing your process and making changes that better suit your store, staff, clientele and locale.