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Sales Tips for the Automotive Industry

Strategy Execution Achievement

Every sales manager has goals. They are usually imposed on us from external sources like the manufacturer, our dealer principal, or general manager. These goals are highly visible, the data is readily available, and we are held responsible if we either hit them or not. Examples of these goals might be monthly sales volume or departmental gross profit.
 

Leadership or Self-serve?

In the face of a mountain of research on the modern automotive shopper, no one is going to deny that shopping patterns have changed:
 
• Buyers research online and self-serve themselves farther than ever towards a buying decision - before they contact or visit us
• Buyers have a wealth of information and shopping tools at their disposal - even on their phone
• Buyers are visiting fewer dealerships before making a purchase
 

Good Times Make Bad Habits

Who turned off the tap? We see in many markets a dramatic reduction in walk-in traffic. In some cases this is just a continuation of the pattern of highly researched shoppers who are shortening the list of brands or dealerships they will visit to 1-2. Other dealerships are in markets heavily impacted by economic shifts in the resource sector. Whatever the cause, salespeople suffer when traffic declines unless they have an effective and proactive strategy to create opportunities.

Building Trust in the Trade Value

One of the most common objections that occurs in the automotive buying process has always been: "I'm not happy with what you're giving me for my trade-in." This one is almost automatic with some customers as soon as the figures are presented.
 
We spend a lot of time training and coaching salespeople on how to resolve this objection.
 

Selling cars or selling printing?

We get a lot of questions from dealerships who are starting to experience declining effectiveness with their direct marketing for invitation sales, behind the wall sales, or private sale events. When you dig into it a bit you soon find the answer. These events rely on their "specialness" or exclusivity. We see many dealerships market to the same list of customers 5 or 6 times a year.

The sale starts with the receptionist - will it start it well?

We occasionally run training programs to bring receptionists into the sales process. We usually have a class that has 80-90% of attendees with no idea of how sales works or how the receptionist role can positively impact sales results.
 
It's no wonder. New receptionists get technical training on how the phone system works but not so much on how their role fits with the sales department. Then management, administration, accounting, and the service department stack more and more little clerical jobs on the receptionist - well because they're just sitting there anyway.

Layers and Layers

No matter how much customer buying behavior changes we still at some point have conversations with most people who buy from us. Many will seem resistant or distant when we first engage them. You might call these initial responses a stall. Something like "we're just looking" or "not much time - not buying today". They give a stall that makes it seem that they want to stop before we even get started.As a sales professional, it is helpful to think about the layers of communication beyond the "words" of what they say.

Give yourself a pay raise

You can give yourself a raise any day by increasing your effort or building your sales skills. Work harder and/or get better at what you do. It’s just math. If you plan to be in the business the next 3-5-12+ years, you can also give yourself a raise in pay by causing your client base to shorten their trade cycle.