A dealer the other day said it best… “John Paul the problem we are having is the same problem most dealerships are having… our people are lazy, they are unenergetic, lethargic, overweight and now they are underpaid.” This dealer went on to give examples, frustrating examples of his salespeople not using the phone, or doing proper follow-up – he didn’t even kid himself that his people could become good prospectors and work diligently for referrals. In such a trying time everyone is “venting” or “searching” for the magic pill, silver bullet or prefect plan to bring their dealership all the traffic in the world without spending any money.
My comment to everyone looking for these things… Get Real – if you cut your spending in ½, then expect and forecast for ½ the traffic. You will not be chastised for cutting your spending but accept the fact that you can’t blame your advertisers for delivering less traffic when you deliver less money. If you are going to make these changes you better have a plan in place and a sales&Internet staff that will not “take a shortcut.”
It was mind blowing to sit in a very profitable, very well respected Mercedes dealership and see a salesperson in the sales managers office who didn’t want to write a deal sheet and enter the customer into the CRM tool because he knew the car the customer was trading was going to be brutalized by the current book value. You do not want to even write the customer up and appraise the car because you “think” the customer is not going to be happy with the number. HELLO – it’s a Mercedes, the customer is either educated or plays in the NFL (which this customer did) and they probably know what the car is worth. The sheer laziness of this operation made me sit their and wonder, does the owner know this is going on… what type of business is run and monitored to run in such a bad manner???
If you have people taking shortcuts, I would advise to fire them today. If this is how they perform when the market is down what makes you think they will perform for you when the market is up. Easy answer, they won’t.
I do not blame the dealer for confessing the fact that his salespeople can’t be counted on to make phone calls. But I will blame him if we have the same conversation in January. Shortcuts are the reason that a lot of your sales staff enters into automotive sales anyway. It is a quick way that they can make more money then they expected to in a shorter amount of time. The problem is, that behavior pattern follows them and when times are tough – the amount of money your dealership will make or lose in a month is dependent on how hard your sales people will work for you.
Do not allow shortcuts. Admit when your people make shortcuts. And don’t be caught taking shortcuts yourself because “the speed of the boss is the speed of the gang.”
John Paul Strong
John Paul Strong combines his two decades of automotive marketing experience with a team of more than 140 professionals as owner and CEO of Strong Automotive.