We'd be lying if we said we didn't enjoy the time when cars flew off the lot faster than we could restock our inventory. But as that excitement hit the road, have we asked ourselves, "Are we ready to sell again?" Let's be real, over the past three years, we could easily overcome objections and even achieve record levels of profit. But did we actually stick to a sales process during this frenzy? The truth is NO, most of us didn’t.
Considering that customer response times have declined in the last three years, chances are our sales process suffered a similar fate. And while we've always struggled with consistency in our sales approach, it’s even more crucial to follow one in the weeks and months ahead. Customers have more choices again. So, for those of us whose heads have been stuck in the sand counting dollars, it’s high time we put a plan into action and execute.
The good news is that it doesn't have to be complicated. It's time to get back to the basics - or as they say - focus on the core aspects of a sales process… You know, manage your managables. Let's remember that customer buying behavior has changed in the last three years. However, one thing remains true: customers expect their questions to be answered. And more importantly, they expect to know what comes next when they step into the dealership. It's safe to say that customers don't visit the dealership just for fun today; they're there to buy a car.
But make no mistake, as customers have more options, their patience for dealing with a lack of a sales process will wear thin. Do we really want to miss out on sales opportunities simply because we don’t have a structured approach? Or, worse yet, we aren’t inspecting what we expect and the one we have still isn’t being followed? Instead, let's focus on ensuring our Sales Consultants and BD Agents understand the phone and web processes. These are, after all, the ways to communicate with your store. Unless you’re still receiving faxes saying “sales opportunity” and the customer is “accepting offers” which I used to HATE! They need to grasp the various options customers have when making inquiries via the phone and the web. This way, when your Sales Consultants or BD Agents interact with customers whether online, on the phone, or in person, there’s consistency.
A smooth process on the phone, online, and in-store will make a significant difference in the overall customer experience. And a positive experience - thanks to your dealership following a solid sales process - means more cars sold and better customer satisfaction scores. It sounds simple, right? But the hard truth is that, more often than not, each of your Sales Consultants and Sales Managers tends to have their own processes. This only makes it more challenging to effectively manage the gaps in their approaches. None of us are perfect, and we all have room to improve. So why make it harder on ourselves by juggling multiple sales processes simultaneously? Instead, let's focus on one unified sales process, a “store” sales process. This way, regardless of who's working with a customer, as a Sales Manager, you can easily step in or assist your Sales Consultants without causing unnecessary disruptions for your customers and confusion for your team.
To get started, take a minute and sign-up for two no-charge Dealership Mystery Shops! We could all use a tune-up as we strive for a new normal. That means following a consistent sales process!