Know & Don’t Know

October 28, 2014 / Automotive Strategy, Sales /

Today is historic. For the first time ever, an impartial panel is going to present a college football poll. No one knows for sure how it will jibe with public opinion, which is in truth, my opinion.

My parallel point – and much more crucial to adding business to your ledger – until customers declare their position for buying or leasing, no personal opinion from anyone at the dealership is needed until specifically asked. The buy or lease debate can be as heated as two fans arguing over whose team is the best in the nation.

I read an interesting report from Edmonds.com discussing two very unique tools in a salesperson’s presentation to perspective customers on zero percent financing and leasing. The appeal of zero percent is what Edmonds refers to as “buy-and-hold shoppers” while leasing finds favor because of “an economical, non-committal and no-hassle approach” in vehicle ownership. The bottom line was that while zero percent is a significant savings on average of over $3500, the impact of zero percent has waned in recent years while leasing continues upward.

As a dealer or manager, train your people to find out what they don’t know before telling customers what they do know. To make that customer feel like they are winning may require a compromise of your personal opinion but in the end it is best for both parties. I have found those who listen well, communicate professionally, and lead their shopper to becoming a trusting customer are usually in the offices with the number one salesperson of the month plaques on the wall.


About the author

John Paul Strong: For someone who spends an average of 135 days outside of the office meeting with clients, John Paul Strong remains the driving force behind his Birmingham-based advertising agency, Strong Automotive Merchandising. Strong began his career as a fresh-faced account executive at Martin Advertising. Learning much, but never satisfied, he convinced his father to partner with him in reopening their own advertising agency in 2004, catering exclusively to the automotive industry. The company started strong but humble. The original roster of 10 employees and eight clients has exploded today, growing to 100 full-time employees and more than 220 automotive dealers. And it hasn’t gone without notice. Along the way, Strong Automotive Merchandising has been recognized as a perennial winner in Birmingham’s Best Places to Work contest and as a Top 20 Agency among Google’s National Ad Partners. Yet, Strong still finds time to share what he’s learned along the way. As an avid writer, he has published two books in the Next Day Traffic series, along with more than 1,000 automotive-focused blog posts. He is also a member of the Texas Auto Writers Association, and his success has been recognized in the Birmingham Business Journal’s 2013 “Top 40 Under 40” feature and the 2017 CEO Awards. The foundation for Strong’s career began at the University of Montevallo where he earned a bachelor’s degree in communication studies and advanced public speaking. Always staying ahead of the competition, Strong later went on to study in Harvard Business School’s Executive Education Program. Amid all of his endeavors, Strong always makes time for what matters most – his family. He is a proud husband to Amy, and father to Lilly Grace, Anne Charlotte, Hudson, and Ford.