Not so long ago people knew little about the vehicles they were driving other than how to put in the gas and keep the oil level topped up. Ask them about their brake fluid level and they would just look at you. Not so now! People are getting savvier about cars and car sales employees are more frequently coming across customers that know more about cars than they do!
Car sales staff in the past had to dress well, look the part and build a rapport with a prospective customer. They would talk to the prospect, get to know what they were looking for in their vehicle and assessing their technical knowledge of cars. It would take the average automobile salesperson anything up to 45 minutes to show them round a vehicle – explaining its benefits, how it is better most others for their needs and answering all of the many different questions they would be asked. If certain options were requested, then perhaps you would show the client another more suited to their needs.
By the time that the sales staff and customer sat down at the table, the former would have a good understanding of the customers need, and the customer would have confidence in the knowledge of the salesman – or woman. Many women are entering the field of car sales and are doing very well. Not just because they are natural salespersons, but also because they offer an alternative to what some people regard as aggressive male salesmen.
Auto Sales Training in the Past
In the past, all members of the cars sales staff were trained by others on the job – others who had a good knowledge of automobiles, how they work, the differences between makes and models and how to sell them. Unfortunately, today’s salesmen no longer get such training, and will spend maybe 10 minutes or less showing the customer the car before asking them to sign the forms.
In many cases the customer knows more about the car than the salesman. Sales staff members have taken on the mantle of order clerks, whose job it is simply to ask the customer what vehicle they want and then hand over the forms for signing. They know little about negotiation and in many cases are not authorized to negotiate price or ‘extras’ in order to secure the deal.
They will ask the customer to commit to a financial agreement without providing them with all the information they need. There will have been insufficient discussion, either with regard to the suitability of the vehicle for their needs, or with reference to the alternative repayment methods available to them.
Importance of Relationship in Selling Cars
Relationships are another aspect of selling cars that are ignored today. In the old days, sales staff would keep in touch with their customers a few times each year, checking if the vehicle is running OK and basically keeping in touch, This would build up a relationship that would result in the customer coming back when family members needed a car, or even when they needed another vehicle themselves.
Training has now taken a back seat to quantity selling. Many auto dealers and used car lots are putting the emphasis on selling more vehicles and ignoring staff training. The problem they will ultimately come across is one that business has always faced when training has taken a back seat: disgruntled clients and an ultimate drop in sales that is very hard to recover.
Never Ignore Training
If you focus all your money on advertising and promotions, then sure, you will sell more to begin with, but that lack of professionalism and training could result in zero return business. That includes zero referrals to your dealership from corporate clients for the same reason.
Never ignore training! No matter what type of business you have, it is essential that your front-line sales staff is as well trained as your technical staff and management. There is a great deal of need in the auto sales industry for training, and your company will benefit from that if you are in any way involved in new or used car sales or selling automobiles and vehicles of any kind.