When I was last on the "front lines" in automotive retail, I was fortunate to be a Sales Manager for a Dealer Group that was implementing radical changes to its sales process, marketing, merchandising and customer experience. We adopted VAuto as our merchandising and appraisal tool. We went to a "best price first" concept and we revised the Sales Person compensation plan to reward unit levels and CSI. I will outline the experience from the guest walking into the store to the point of sale and see if there is anything you might consider for your Store that is of value.
When a guest walked into one of our Stores they were greeted by a Sales Professional with our "concept" and it went precisely like this...
"Welcome to ABC Motors my name is Joe and you are?"
"John is this your first visit to an ABC Motors Store?"
yes or no.
"Great! A couple of things you should know.
One...All of our vehicles are marked with our best price first. Anyone can see them at anytime INCLUDING our competition.
Two...I am paid on the number of vehicles that I sell NOT what I sell each vehicle for, no commission, its part of our ABC Motors promises. Does that make sense?"
Yes or no.
"Great follow me."
Ideally the Sales Rep and our Guest would then sit down together and the Rep would go into greater detail on our concept utilizing a flip chart. This was the signal for a Sales Manager to come introduce themselves. Thank the Guest for coming in and explaining that we will be meeting again shortly to evaluate their trade and or discuss payment methods etc.
When there was a trade, I am switching to first person here, My responsability was to get the keys from our Guest and invite them to ride with me so that I could have a greater perspective of their vehicle and its value. No exceptions. The guest rides with me each and every time. Once we got back we would sit down together at the desk. I would turn the computer screen so that they could see it and I would begin to evaluate their vehicle in the Vauto appraisal screen. They saw everything I was doing. I explained everything I was considering. Scarcity or abundance. What vehicles just like theirs are selling for in our market. The recon expense I figured it was going to take to retail their vehicle. Everything. No luxury of sitting back and flipping thru black book or stacks of auction sheets. Live appraisals and every one of them was an "offer of purchase." Thats right. We will buy the trade vehicle wether you buy your next one from us or not. The guest received a voucher immediately for an offer of purchase good for five days or three hundred miles. INVENTORY ACQUISITION!!
Once that was decided it was time to look at cash difference, out the door numbers and if necessary payments both retail and lease each and every time. We had interest rate boards on easels positioned through out the showroom for rate discussion on the spot. Tell me where you believe your credit score to be and that is the corresponding rate based on new or used. Year of the vehicle determined the term. It was all on the board. Full transparency. Settle on numbers. Out comes the customer statement. Lets make sure your credit score is exactly what you indicated if so carry on if not here are the new payment ranges based on your actual score and the interest rate you qualify for.
The Sales Rep packages the deal and someone from the Business Office introduces themselves to the Guest within five minutes of their commitment to take delivery. Lets them know they will prepare the neccessary paperwork and will be out to have them come to the business office in just a bit.
The Sales rep is back from taking the vehicle to detail and goes over books and warranty info while the business office loads the deal. Once the Guest is finished in the business office they join the Sales Rep at their new vehicle where they have an opportunity to be video'd with their new vehicle and posted to our Facebook page. Purely up to the comfort of each guest with this part. They should sign a release for the video posting approval.
Items of note:
All of our vehicles were clearly marked with our best price stickers. Market adjustments were made daily if needed. We called them sticker parties. We held firm on our best prices and no negotiation ever. Once we became proficient at informing our Guests of how we arrived at our best prices we experienced minimal objection. Not necessarily delivered each and every time at the initial visit however. With our concept as easy and transparent as it was for the guest the real ace up our sleeve was having someone say "I have to go shop just to make sure to be certain." Now go to a negotiation store and experience four hours of getting to the best price compared to your experience you just had with us.
We installed a "rescue totem" in the center of the showroom that the Sales reps used when faced with and adversarial guest. The Sales Rep would sense issues and walk the guest to the totem and go over the "promises" of our concept. That was our cue as Sales Managers to walk over and introduce ourselves. Take the temperature and give the Rep some assist in moving the opportunity along. See a Sales Rep at the Totem with a guest and you best get over there...again no exceptions.
I credit the GM of my particular store in this group for being steadfast and disciplined in the execution of our Sales and Merchandising concept. I will forever regard him as the most progressive inspirational resolute and fun to work with Boss that I may ever have the priviledge of working with.
Sell well ~