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:

As owner of Strong Automotive Merchandising, a company that increases traffic up to 1,000% for dealerships, Strong lives by the simple concept that your attitude affects your success. Without a positive mind set he would not have been able to grow the company over the last decade from just 10 to over 80 full-time employees. The rapid growth is thanks to his ability to keep the company on the forefront of technology, market changes and an infectious talent to motivate and keep employees striving to fulfill their potential. His beginnings in direct mail gave him the tools and skills to develop incredibly successful marketing plans. From there he moved on to traditional forms of media and has now mastered the dynamic world of digital and social media advertising.

With over 150 dealers to please, Strong takes a hands-on approach and personal attention to detail in all aspects of marketing strategies. His expertise in plan development gives him a keen sense on how to maximize a dealer’s budget and ultimately increase their bottom line. Strong is a passionate speaker in the automotive industry. He has authored two books on creating next day traffic. He graduated from the Executive Education Program at the Harvard Business School. Strong received a B.A. in Communication Studies from the University of Montevallo. He lives with his wife and three children in Homewood, Alabama.