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When I meet dealers and stress the importance of follow-up, most will tell me that they are working very hard to make sure every customer is followed up on. The reality, proven by studens sent on shopping trips, is that less than 10% of sales people even ask for a phone number.

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Comment by John Fuhrman on June 28, 2011 at 9:16am

Gillon,

 

Thanks for the comments.  Very insightful.  With our sales training program, we spend an entire day on phone, Internet, and social media for building new relationships.  The key is and always will be, the contact after the contact.  Since the majority of people DO NOT buy on the first visit, reconnecting is critical.  You have to be even better than you were the first time.

Comment by Mr. Natural on June 28, 2011 at 8:13am

Nice delivery John...Well observed, and as you well know, we've been watching it for the last how many years?

Let's not even talk about how the phone ups are being handled. At most dealerships these days, if the customer can wait long enough on hold for a salesman to get there-which is often unlikely-the dealership representative on the phone assures his manager that this prospect truly has no reason to come into the dealership, therefore, no phone number is needed.

 

For a while, I listened to all recorded incoming sales calls at our little group...Oh my God...Even the most talented professionals when face to face, were so bad on the phone it was beyond comprehension. It was like more often than not, having to take a phone up is an inconvenience. And trust me, I work for a very strong, professional group.

 

If I could take all incoming sales calls, and run the internet dept as well, I'd do it, but I just can't. I can't even make all the calls I need to make, without having to do the salespersons job as well. Our stores are a phenomena, but phone skills...Phhht!!!   2% conversion of incoming calls.

 

But wait, you weren't talking about taking calls, you were talking about getting information so a salesperson could follow-up later. "Follow-up??? That's where a prospect drives onto the lot, and I follow the up until he rolls down his window...Right?"  Follow the up!! Right?

 

I had always heard that car salespeople were lazy. That is is so much easier to look through the glass of the showroom-qualify from your desk-and go out to greet the customer who drove onto the lot with the intention of buying a car.  Am I right, or am I right?

 

As Internet Director, my office has windows that look out into the showroom. What a revealing view. A couple things are plainly evident. 1) Nobody is using the phone. Wait, I mean nobody is on a dealership phone. They're on the phone alright...texting their friends. Hmmmm! 2) These people are just not being very pro-active. Sometimes I see some spurts of pro-activity, but not a real trend in that direction. Are they really lazy? Or did they miss something in training? Or better question, were they given any training in profitable use of time?

 

My guess is that these people got great "Road/Steps to the sale" training, and some fantastic walk around pointers. But there wasn't a class on building rapport on the fly, or on gathering information on the basics-other that what color?, how many doors?, and when can you make it in with your husband? Someone told me once that I need to inspect what I expect. Here in our world, it's all effort equals results, and persistence overcomes resistance...But who's fault is it we didn't use much effort training persistently?

 

In the days when I was a salesman, I came to work, and when I was not in front of a customer on the lot, I put myself in front of one on the phone. I came to work to work. I would not have chosen to spend 63 hours a week at a dealership, I have always had other things I would rather be doing-but as long as I had to be there, I thought I'd make the best of it. I still think that today.

 

Give a man a fish, and he'll eat the best part of it, and throw the rest to the cat. Show a man how to live off a fish for a week, and you'll have some pretty good Shushi!  Yes, to the extent that we see fault in others, often that same fault exists to an even greater degree within ourselves. That's a tough one to swallow. Dave Anderson talked about it here.  You'll never change the basic fundamental attitude of another person...But what you can do is help them to understand and see clearly. Don't set blame, set the example./body>

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