Life inside the dealership is an experience only those who have been there can appreciate. Whether you are in sales or service, each department carries its own unique challenges. Let’s face it, the job is monotonous. And, after every successful month, you get the pleasure of starting from zero once again. So, what can you do to be successful?

Most would agree that the answer lies in your people skills, technique and ability to adopt a mindset that stops you from falling into a “move ’em in, move ’em out” mentality. In our heart of hearts, we know the greatest rewards come as a result of staying fresh, nimble and creative. But there is one item I’d like to add to that list: presentation.

Whether you’re online, on the phone or interacting with a customer face-to-face, presentation is the key to convincing them to take that next step. Let’s look at some ways you can improve your presentation in those three areas:

1. Online: The name of the game here is getting the customer to take action. We in the business tend to refer to that as “conversion.” The goal, of course, is to get them to submit a lead, call the store or walk into the showroom. To increase your chances of a conversion, make sure you have multiple touch points on your Website that promote engagement.

Four low-cost, high-return features you can add to your Website are a chat feature, interactive credit applications, video and appraisal tools. You must also consider optimizing your site for Web-enabled mobile devices as their popularity continues to increase.

2. On the Phone: According to a survey conducted by Richmond, Va.-based Communication Briefings, 82 percent of respondents said their opinion about a company is influenced “a lot” by how a representative answers the phone.

This should serve notice not only to the receptionist at your dealership, but also to those sales and service professionals who take customer calls. Just remember the four “Cs” to a strong over-the-phone presentation: confidence, competence, credibility and congruence.

3. In the Showroom: The ultimate opportunity to get a deal done is when the customer is in your house (i.e., the showroom). Obviously, I don’t need to rewrite the road to the sale; however, I would like to share two things I would love to see return on a massive scale to the car business:

■ The Vehicle Walk-Around: When was the last time you gave a customer a thorough walk-around? In my last search to replace my personal vehicle, I visited five dealerships franchised by five different OEMs. Only one gave me a walk-around. No coincidence, the individual who gave me the walk-around turned out to be the No. 1 salesperson at that dealership. In fact, he outsold the next best salesperson by five cars every month.

■ Listening to Gain a Tactical Advantage: Have you ever heard about the “psychology of sales”? It refers to our ability to influence the outcome we desire by winning the sale. As Ben Affleck’s character in the movie “Boiler Room” said, “A sale is made on every call you make. Either you sell the client some stock or he sells you a reason he can’t.”

My point here is simple: There is useful information to be gained that will assist you in your efforts to get the customer to take action. You won’t find it on the guest sheet or through the so-called “qualifying interview.” Process is important, but don’t sacrifice or suppress your natural abilities of observation in the name of procedure.

Regardless of what dealership you work for, most every manufacturer makes a pretty good product. Which one is best can be based on facts or simple perception. My question to you is, how sad is it to never have the opportunity to present a great product because we can’t get a customer to take the next step online, in the showroom or on the phone?

Let me leave you with this: Lots of people like steak, right? But let’s say I offer you a steak, season and grill it to perfection. However, instead of serving it to you on a plate, I take the lid off my garbage can, flip it over and plop your steak on it? Doesn’t sound so appetizing anymore, does it? Presentation counts, so make sure you aren’t serving up your great products on a trash-can lid.

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Comment by Jim Kristoff on September 6, 2011 at 2:03pm

Great Blog Cory!


In every conversation....someone is buying and someone is selling....

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