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Blocking & Tackling… Getting Back to Basics

Anyone who reads this blog should know the following phrase very well:
selling cars like candy bars
There are numerous articles and comments floating around the industry through factory reps, zone managers, dealer principals and publicly traded companies that all hit on the following points: “The door is still swinging, the only detriment is your attitude,” and “We sold cars with 28% interest rates, we sold cars when they would fall apart on delivery, we sold Volvo’s even K Cars,” and my personal favorite, “What the bailout really means is we can change public perception, one customer at a time.” What dealers, general managers and sales managers often forget is what I learned in high school, George W. learned at Yale and Donald Trump learned from making his billions:
number one source
  • When is the last time you instituted “service lane selling”?
  • When is the last time you challenged your sales people to join a “civic organization”?
  • When is the last time you pulled all the lease customers out of your DMS and assigned a set of these customers for each sales associate to call and write a letter about their upcoming lease termination? 
  • Got you on the last one didn’t I!!!

    So the market is shrinking, deal with it – go out and get a bigger piece of the pie. Sure you can “buy” a bigger piece of the pie, which is what an advertising or marketing person loves to hear. But even if you keep your budget the same, GET AGGRESSIVE WITHIN THE 4 WALLS OF YOUR DEALERSHIP. Practice the motto that a friend of mine in the mortgage business preaches… ABC – Always BClosing! (Yes, from a friend still in the mortgage business that just finished his best year ever.)  

    carl sewell customers for lifeIf you don’t take care of your customer someone else will. Carl Sewell inspired everyone with his motto and book “Customers for Life.” If you have reverted to sitting in your dealership, whether import or domestic and using a variation of terms to identify that ‘business sucks’ right now, look back to the very place you can increase your traffic, volume and gross for the least amount of money. GO AFTER YOUR OWNERS. BE AGGRESSIVE.  

    If your finance director can’t pull your maturing leases and give them to you in less than 20 minutes, find another one. There are dealers right now who are “Selling Cars Like Candy Bars” and they are doing it because they have gotten back to the basics. They got back to the tried and true methods of writing things down on a legal pad, (not relying on emails and meeting reminders) they got back to walking the service lane and pulling people out of the clunkers that they were about to sink half a months pay into – just to keep running. They got back to contacting customers the way they did in the 90’s when leasing was so hot and the first massive wave of customers were being contacted about turning in their lease cars.  

    Block out the negatives, focus on the positives and teach your people the way you did it back when you were the one doing it. The wording on your card reads either “president”, “general manager”, “managing partner”, “dealer”, “sales manager” – don’t forget you were the one who figured all this out and worked your way to the top. Get back to what got you there. Focus on selling and you will sell.

    John Paul Strong

    John Paul Strong combines his two decades of automotive marketing experience with a team of more than 150 professionals as owner and CEO of Strong Automotive.

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