Best practices salespeople must focus on as the auto industry evolves

Salespeople at auto dealerships across the country are being urged to brush up on their skills, as ‘easy’ sales from the past few years may have left them rusty. Today on CBT Now, Jen Suzuki, President of eDealer Solutions, acclaimed sales trainer, and NADA Dealer Academy guest instructor discusses the modern auto sales techniques dealerships must have as the industry changes.

Managers report that the most significant issue they face is a lack of basic sales skills among their employees. In a market with low inventory and high demand, it was easy to sell whatever was available. However, this has led to a decline in skills like connecting with customers, building relationships, and asking the right questions.

As a result, dealerships are now focused on retraining their salespeople to provide a better customer experience. This includes returning to basics and teaching the importance of customer service and communication.

customer communicationMore: How (and why) car dealers should prioritize customer communication

Start by creating training initiatives from the executive level down. Form a plan of action with managers to mentor and coach their teams. Focus on a few topics at first, so your employees don’t get overwhelmed.

One area sales teams can focus on, is using videos instead of emails or phone calls. Video correspondence can help salespeople build relationships with customers and make it easier to find the right vehicle for them.

Dealers should also prioritize entering customer data into the system as soon as possible. This will help to create a more complete picture of the customer and their needs.

Suzuki says that people are taking longer to make big purchase decisions these days. And they often wait to buy until they have weighed all their options. This can create challenges for businesses, who may need to adjust their processes to accommodate.

Customers may also be more likely to shop around for multiple offers before making a decision, so dealerships need to be competitive. Even if customers are willing to pay more than the asking price, they may be swayed by a better offer from another dealership.

It’s crucial for salespeople to build strong relationships with customers, which increases the chances that they will choose your dealership over others. Creating processes to handle multiple customer scenarios can help you stay ahead of the competition.

In terms of waitlists for new vehicles, Suzuki said, “We have a lot of customers on waitlists, but we aren’t seeing follow-up, and a lot of things unfold when you don’t get follow-up. What should be the first step of action shouldn’t be to just put them on a list. Let’s show them what we already have to offer that may also fit their needs. Let’s show them certified pre-owns. Yes, we can put them on the list, but we can also try to make a sale today. Once they are on the list, the risk of them falling out, going to another branch, not getting any communication over the next 3,6,9,12 months, and now our CSI is compromised. Now our gross is compromised.”

Suzuki has teamed up with CADA to offer training workshops for service and sales at the end of October. This is an excellent opportunity for Colorado dealers to learn more best practices and improve their operations. Colorado dealers can find more information at

Did you enjoy this interview with Jen Suzuki? Please share your thoughts, comments, or questions regarding this topic by connecting with us at

Be sure to follow us on Facebook, LinkedIn, and TikTok to stay up to date.

While you’re here, don’t forget to subscribe to our email newsletter for all the latest auto industry news from CBT News.