There is a plague spreading among car dealerships. I call this affliction “deal’itis.” In the last month, I have been in many dealerships working side by side with managers and salespeople. I began to quickly notice the results of this sickness. Those results are things such as lower sales, low closing ratios, low gross profits and low customer satisfaction.
Just like a good doctor should do, I began to look for the symptoms of this sickness and what could be causing this illness. With a complete diagnosis, I knew it would be much easier to hone in on a possible cure.
In my quest for a diagnosis, I noticed a whole new breed of managers. This new breed of managers did not have any commonality in age, experience or anything other than some bad habits. These bad habits had created a wrongful mindset that now had manifested into a full-blown misguided belief system that caused and perpetuated the sickness. The bad habits and belief system formed very bad cases of deal’itis.
Here is what I witnessed: salespeople buying into a fear-based, scarcity mentality and then inflicting willing managers with the same. I witnessed salespeople who had worked leads from organic sources, third-party sources or just plain walk-ins. These leads were worked through e-mail, phone or in person and, because of a lack of training, process and proper understanding, had morphed into deals worked with potential customers as victims. You see, deals are based upon numbers, and numbers alone do not take into consideration hearts and minds. These deals are not emotional, flexible and rarely contain value or salesmanship.
Deals are worked to the bottom of profit potential quickly, and the goal becomes to see who can give things away the fastest. Little is done to establish what the customers keywords are that describe what they truly desire and what would be their HFG — Hope for Gain. Little to nothing is done to establish an apple-to-oranges selling process that gives customers possible alternatives and ideas that might satisfy their greed, dreams or anything else. Salesmanship is jettisoned and salespeople quickly resemble a lower form of McDonald’s order takers.
Deals are not offered an emotional presentation based upon a real show. Deals are not given test drives, let alone 20-mile test drives to establish rapport, where the leverage of persuasion is used utilizing the skill of reciprocation/obligation. Deals are not given three options of vehicles, packages or new-to-used comparisons. Deals are directed to their trade-ins first to create a better rapport, deeper understanding, investigation and role reversal. There is no time for that today. Deals must be sold and done.
Get ready for the truth: Deals are as fictitious as fairy dust. Deals do not exist. They never have and they never will. People still buy from people, and very few just buy deals alone. If you are a manager and you allow salespeople to skip all forms of selling, excitement, persuasion, masterful presentations, demo drives and anything that involves skill and talent, then shame on you. Stop being great at dealer track and start being great at leading your team to be salespeople, not “deal workers.”
Sell the car and help the people, instead of trying to sell deals. It does not work. This affliction is not about new school or old school, but really about no school. Managers: Change your faulty belief system. Retrain yourself and retrain your team. This is not happening to you; you are allowing this to happen. Get out from behind your desk. You are not chained there. You are and should always be the top salesperson. Greet the customers in the front of the deal and not the end when you are working deals.
The late, great blues guitarist Luther Allison said it best, “Leave the ego, love the people, play the music.” Take a cue from Mr. Allison and put a little music into your selling soul.
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