Every dealer wants to see their sales improve without having to spend more money on generating new leads, and that means making the most of every customer experience that comes through the doors. Here to tell us why every salesperson should treat every Up like a qualified buyer is Steve Stauning, Founder and President of Steve Stauning, Inc. and author of Assumptive Selling: The Complete Guide to Selling More Vehicles for More Money to Today’s Connected Consumer.
Steve’s latest book, Assumptive Selling, is all about treating every ‘Up’ as a qualified buyer, whether they are on the phone or in the showroom. Years ago, customers were still seeking pricing information by coming to the lot, making phone calls, and emailing the sales department. Today, they have all the information ahead of time via the internet, and they come to the dealership prepared to buy what they have researched.
It’s also important for a salesperson to treat each customer that walks in like a capable buyer because if you assume the sale, you will get fewer if any, objections. Non-capable buyers with low credit scores will usually self-identify as such, and be ok with the three-to-five- hour long process of going through their needs analysis.
However, if their credit score is high, they’ve already done that research to determine what they qualify for. They really only show up for the test drive, but if it takes the salesperson an hour to go through their normal pitch just to get to the test drive, then chances are you’ll lose that customer. They are expecting a shortened process and if your salesperson can deliver on that, then they should expect to see, higher closing percentages, higher grosses, and a higher CSI.
Steve reminds us though, that implementing this process boils down to not only training, but training with enforcement and the managers are ultimately the ones that need to enforce the training. A bad process that is strictly followed is better than no process simply because you can do many things to improve a bad process.
So, what should sales staff focus on as we moved from 2018 to 2019? Treat everyone like a qualified buyer until they stop you. Steve explains:
“When you treat everyone like a qualified buyer, as if they’re here to buy today, you can get your managers to make that early meet and greet, and we find that you can double your write up percentage when your managers meet with the consumer before the demo drive.”
Dealers might also want to consider a fixed based salary with a unit bonus for new talent who might not be able to afford a commission based structure. Steve is a fan of any pay plan that drives the right activities from employees for the dealership. Today’s consumer knows what they want, and are less likely to be flipped for a more expensive vehicle. So, and fixed based salary could be beneficial for all.