Most people don’t include going to a car dealership in their idea of a perfect Saturday afternoon. It may be because the local dealerships are making mistakes in critical areas of the sale. Every dealership has their own way of doing things, but the foundation of skills are the same across the board. Your dealership might be making some of these mistakes when it comes to sales; below are five of the most common mistakes. Check them out then be sure your dealership sales department isn’t making these mistakes, too!
Mistake #1: Ignoring the Customer
It’s obvious that without the customer, there is no sale. Yet, one of the biggest issues reported from customers is that they are ignored. Of course, there is the cursory “hello” when someone walks into a dealership, but many times that customer is forgotten after the “hellos” are exchanged and pointed in the direction of the vehicles. Each customer will be different, some enjoy the time alone to look at vehicles, others would prefer a knowledgeable salesperson in attendance to ask questions. Either way, letting the customer know a salesperson is available and willing to answer any questions will go a long way!
Mistake #2: Profiling the Customer
Any good car salesperson knows that qualifying a customer can mean the difference between effort put towards an eventual purchase and a waste of effort if a customer was merely interested in window shopping. It’s better to focus energy on those prospects who are most likely to make a purchase. However, profiling a customer based on looks, age, gender, or anything else is bad for business. Just because a customer doesn’t look like s/he is looking to buy a car, doesn’t mean Joe Schmo isn’t ready to spend $50K on a new car. A conversation allows for qualifying but a simple assessment without the conversation can turn interested buyers away very quickly.
Mistake #3: Not Knowing the Product
Again, this may seem obvious, but your salespeople should know what they’re talking about, at least in a basic sense. A customer comes to a dealership for answers s/he couldn’t find through research, if the salespeople don’t know the answer to the questions, it’s a waste of time for that customer. Granted, they are not going to know the answer to every single, specific question thrown their way, but simple questions about vehicles in the showroom should be no problem to answer. If they don’t know an answer, let the customer know and go find that information rather than brushing it off with an “I don’t know."
Mistake #4: Downplaying the Customer's Wants
Typically when customers enter the showroom, they’ve got a car or a few in mind. Those cars have the look, features, seats, color, whatever it may be, that the customer is after. It’s important to remember that no matter how trivial a certain aspect of a car may be from a salesperson’s point of view, the customer believes it is important. If there is a vehicle in your showroom that would be a great fit, has most of the criteria a customer is looking for, but missing a few key components, don’t downplay those components just to make that bigger sale. That’s a surefire, quick way to lose customers’ trust. Overcoming objection is a part of car sales every day, but not in a way that discredits the customer’s research, decisions, and gut.
Mistake #5: Little to Know Prospecting
In the car sales business a customer that purchases a car from you typically isn’t in the market for another car for three years or so. If you rely on current customers, they would have to be customers that purchased a vehicle three or more years ago and are back in the market for a new car. The time between purchases is quite extensive in the car industry. Therefore, prospecting is a very important part of the job. Your sales department must always be on the look and trying to contact potential buyers. If they don’t feel that they are strong prospectors, those skills need to be improved; prospecting must always be happening, for the sake of business.
Your sales department may be coming up short in certain areas, but it doesn’t always mean there are big problems. Sometimes it’s due to the time of year and other times it’s due to the salespeople overlooking the basics of sales: acknowledging the customer, taking time to get to know him/her, understanding his/her wants and needs, and fulfilling those wants and needs. If you find that these are the mistakes your dealership’s sales department is making, address them immediately and get back on the track to outstanding sales!
Photo by Joe the Goat Farmer