Thank You Dealer Elite Members
First of all I would like to thank Dealer Elite Members and others for taking the time to View my last Blog Post, I appreciate it. I was advised at had been viewed over 700 times so far, my sincere thanks to everyone.......
Now we all know the automotive industry needs to move into the 22st century as quickly as possible. Some of you may ask why, when some of the tactics still work.
Well let me give you some examples from real customers and some recent entrants into automotive retail.
Part of the problem is that most Car Dealership are very shortsighted. They tend to look at what happening today, this week and best case this month. Part of the reason is how the staff is paid and how automotive companies currently drive sales and incentives for dealerships and customers.
Let me give you an example from two customers I spoke to last week. These examples really shine light on the real problem from a customer point of view, from and dealership point of view and from a retention, reputation and business growth point of view as well.
The customer was looking at a specific new car and the salesperson first of all did not have a car available to drive for the customer. This was not a huge problem, but what happened next was. The customer was told these cars were rare, put down a deposit and then a week later took delivery of the car without driving it. First of all the customer did not have an opportunity to upgrade or move to a car that worked for her and secondly when she was unhappy the problem was never dealt with so she is not only never going to buy another vehicle from that dealer or brand she can now cause a great deal of harm using social and other online media.
Now I know you are going to tell me that there are always 10% to 20% of people why are "Cry Babies" in this industry and I agree with you. The only problem is as an industry we miss opportunities to turn these problems into opportunities every day. This customer may have upgraded to a more expensive car, we may have been able to upgrade the features on this car that were the problem and we would have turned a problem customer into a raving fan who would help the dealership grow and be retained as a service customer as well.
Step One: You need to start listening to the customer and actually hearing what they have to say. Companies that do this well not only generate more revenue they generate more happy customers that are repeat customers as well. If you look for ways things can't happen you will never solve the problem.
Step Two: Take a closer look at how you pay your staff. Staff that has no incentive to think long-term and managers that thing the same way won't do what needs to be done.
Step Three: Look at great examples in other retail chains that work. Stores Like Starbucks, Tiffany's, Apple, Nordstorm's etc. Hotels, resorts, your favorite store ect.
Start thinking of how you can solve this problem because the cost of attracting new customers is very high and there is more and more competition every day.
Retaining more customers helps your service department and your business long term as well. Great service, proactive thinking and caring about customers needs to happen in Service, Parts, Sales and customer follow up and follow through as well.
Used Car Sales:
I have heard many examples in this area as I am sure all of us have. Every year in every city in the world local news channels traget used car lots and catch them on tape lying and misleading customers. My view on this one is very simple there is the correct way to sell used cars and then there is the way some salespeople sell used cars.
I spoke to a cab driver the other day that was looking for a quality used van for his family. He went to a large local car dealership that sells new and used vehicles and felt that was the best place to start. He looked at two used vehicles, one with high mileage that did not meet his needs and one with low mileage that met most of his needs. He of course had questions about features, history, condition and of course lastly pricing.
He was looking for a loaded vehicle and was told the vehicle he was buying was a top model. He then drove the vehicle, bought it and took it home. After he got home and did some research he figured out that the salesperson had lied to him and it was not a loaded model. He has since contacted the dealership, salesperson and the local media in order to get this resolved. He is now looking at speaking to a local lawyer and the local dealership association to get the issue resolved.
The problem is very simple; the salesperson felt that if he told the customer the truth about the vehicle he might not buy the vehicle. Of course he may have bought it, but the salesperson assumed it was in his, not the customers best interest to deliver the car. This is another example of shortsighted behavior that happens every day at car dealerships.
I believe and always have that telling the customer the truth and giving them all the information will not only sell more cars it will make you more money and have happier customers as well. Of course you will loose some deals, but the customer will still leave happy and probably refer you customers if you ask.
If you lie to customers, don't disclose or hide material facts or information about a vehicle you not only risk loosing the car deal, you will more than likely create heat and problems for yourself, the dealership and of course the customer as well. Simply put Honesty and integrity is the only way to sell and grow your business and create lots of happy customers that are loyal and will refer you more business.
The solution is very simple, empower and train your sales and management team to do the right thing. Giving customers all the information will not only make it easier to do your job it will also make it virtually impossible for customers to mistrust your sales team. It will also create less heat, more happy customers and more profit for the dealership as well.
Enforcing ethics and honesty in the car business will also improve the quality of you sales and management team it will also build your dealerships brand, reputation and differentiate you from every other dealership in the market as well. Customers will pay more for great service, professional staff and will be loyal to your dealership and refer customers as well.
Too many dealerships spend too much time worrying about how customers view them because they know that some of their staff are simply put not telling their customers the truth. Start building a better business and don't tolerate staff that mistreats and lies to your customers.
I would love comments, feedback and ideas. I know the industry needs to solve these problems in order to begin the move to the 21st century and eliminate the past perception of customers and the media for good.
Lets improve the industry together and demand better from our staff and SELL CARS the RIGHT WAY!
Proactive Dealer Solutions