Posted by Heather Brautman on Tue, Oct 08, 2013 @ 02:49 PM
Ever wonder why that dealership down the road is killing it on its quota and you’re just eking along? It’s easy to cast blame – lackadaisical sales staff, inventory you missed out on at auction, a couple straight weekends of bad weather. While all of these may certainly contribute to low sales, they’re not the be-all or end-all. There are several reasons why auto dealers make sales, and none have to do with having the lowest prices.
5. They’ve got strong relationships in the community: Your job isn’t one that fits between the cushy 9-5 hours, so the idea of trying to squeeze in time to make connections in your community may seem impossible. But don’t let go of the idea yet. Can you dedicate one hour a month to attend a happy hour at your local chamber of commerce? They’re usually free, have snacks and drinks, and are populated with the movers and shakers you want to know your name. These types of relationships can lead to...
4. They make referrals easy: Hands down, referrals are one of the best ways to grow your dealership because they require very little expense, effort, investment, or time. In fact, your referral base actually works for you. When you please a customer, that customer has good things to say about you. When one of his friends or family members needs a car, he tells them where to go. And then you have the opportunity to make another sale. The key is to ask for referrals. Product specialists should hand out cards to new buyers with their name, cell phone, email address, and work hours. They should actually ask for referrals, not just hope they land in their laps.
3. They’re available: Bet you never thought you’d have much in common with managers in the restaurant and tourist industries. But like theirs, your business revolves around working around other peoples’ schedules. Sure, you get visitors on the lot during the weekday daytime. But weekends, evenings, and holidays are probably your biggest volume. Who hasn’t called in their active reserve sales staff for an upcoming holiday? The key to grab more sales is to plan for them. Make sure you have solid availability on the floor – including your service and tech stations where applicable – to work around the customer. Be sure you have greeters and people to answer the phones during these busy times, as you want to make sales, not lose car sales.
2. They cater to their customers: It’s not possible to do a super sleuthing background check on every customer who walks in the door, but it can help boost sales if you have a general idea of the persona you’re interacting with, or the biggest segment of the population that visits your dealership. If you notice a string of empty nesters, educate your sales staff on smaller vehicles and inform the public of your ability to accept large vehicle trade-ins. If you see more families browsing your inventory, be sure to train sales people on vehicle safety features such as air bags, pet safety, as well as maximum capacity for each car.
1. They find novel ways to stay engaged: You notice a prospective buyer walking away from a sales person, no keys in hand. What happens next? Does the sales person slump down and slither to his desk? Or does he race to beam his smartphone to the computer, doctor up a photo of the potential customer taken behind the wheel during a test drive, and send the person the picture with a custom, personal note? No one wants to see business walk out the door, but remember – you can still open the door, even when it’s been closed.
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