Hello Dealer Elite Members,
As always, I have been spending a great deal of time at automotive dealerships. What I have determined is that customers are still visiting dealerships but the closing ratio is declining every day. I will give you an example of why, and just so you know it's not only car dealerships that have this problem.
Here is an example from a GM dealership I was at last week
I had taken a phone call as part of the BDC process at the dealership and set a VIP appointment with the Manager at the dealership. The customer was looking at a used car and had an older version of the same vehicle he was looking to trade in or replace. This dealership has a BDC process so the salesperson was in the loop and he had the car ready for the customer.
The customer arrived for the appointment and met the Sales manger and then went out with the salesperson to take a look at the car which he had ready to go, he even took the time to give it a wash. The customer then asked a few quick questions, because he was testing the salesperson since he was buying a used car.
Here is how the conversation went
Customer: Do you have the service history on this vehicle?
Salesperson: Great question, we have pulled the information from our internal system and would be happy to go over it and provide copies if needed.
Customer: Do you have the owners' manual that came with the car?
Salesperson: It did not come with the car, due to the fact it was a trade in vehicle.
(That is a "Great question, I have spoken to the Used Car Manager and he has ordered one for the car. It should be here in a few days)
Customer: Do you have the floor mats that came with the car?
Salesperson: I am sorry, the mats did not come with the car, as I said it was a trade in.
(Another great question, do to the weather in this part of North America they were worn out, so we have ordered a replacement set of mats for the vehicle. I have also looked into a "all-Weather" set of mats and would be happy to go over the details with you after the test drive.)
Customer: This car is not as nice as I thought, I am out of here.....
Salesman: I am sorry it does not work for you.....
(I am sorry to hear that the vehicle does not meet your standards. Are their other similar vehicles you are looking at as well?
The next step for a salesperson thinking outside of the box!
Customer: Yes there are.
Salesman: Well since you are here at the dealership, why don't we do this to save you some time?
I would be happy to have my manager professionally appraise your vehicle and why he is doing that why don't we at least take this one for a drive. At least that way you can compare it to the others you are considering. We would also be happy to provide some numbers so you can make an informed decision, fair enough?
Customer: Sounds great to me.....
(This could of course result in a sale but worst case you have a shot at follow up and follow through)
Fact: Most customers' today shop at least 3 to 5 dealers before buying a new or used car
Fact: Most customers spend at least 45 minutes researching vehicles online before they visit a dealership
Fact: There are about 1,500 models on the market today, so expecting a customer will buy the first one he or she looks at is not realistic.
Fact: Customers will pay more for service, price does not sell cars.
Fact: 15-20% of customers buy the first time they visit your dealership.
Fact: 80%-to 85% of customers will buy within the next few days to as long as 120 days from now.
If you provide outstanding service, help customers find the right car and follow them up with a process and a game plan you will sell more cars.
If you treat them like second class customers, insult them and don't provide "gold-Star" service they will buy but not from you.
I hope this helps everyone, and I would love some feedback and comments of course.
Proactive Dealer Solutions
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Office 1 877 452 2753