Tag Archives: car business

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Don’t let Brand Loyalty Kill your Odds of Closing a Sale

Brand Recognition

family1920sSome would say, I come by may know-it-all nature, love of all things related to office stationary and appreciation for marketing and advertising quite honestly. Growing up, I was surrounded by award winning advertising and stacks of books and papers on marketing from the industry leaders of the 70s and 80s. They say that brand recognition begins as early as age 2… Well, I call shenanigans on this statistic. As young as 12-18 months, I have watched my siblings and my own children display preference for certain characters and branding. From the Teletubbies to Elmo and from certain bottles of shampoo to the forks and plates they like best.

Brand Loyalty

What makes both children and adults loyal to a certain brand? Some of the time, I believe it’s simply personal preference. We make a conscious decision based on our personal tastes, and what appeals to us, both as children and adults. This could be something like the body lines of a new model, vehicle specifications, trim and features or a signature color available from only one manufacture.

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Other times, and most often, our loyalties are influenced by those around us. Parents, siblings, family members we look up to, such as aunts, uncles and grandparent who influence a lot of our early preferences. Mostly by direct exposure to certain brands or their own tastes, but also by their behavior and philosophies. I guarantee, someone in your family has said “I will never buy a <Major Car Maker Here>.”

Think about the car makers which you have a poor opinion of personally. Now ask yourself why you feel that way. Was it because your Dad said he thought they were garbage when you were 9, and you have felt the same way ever since?

Brand Perception

Many moons ago, I decided I would never own a certain make of vehicle. The general consensus amongst my friends and family was that they were junk and unreliable. I have owned several vehicles from their competitors over the years. They were all adequate, but somehow lacking in one way or another practically. I once had a rental that was made by the manufacture, who I despised, and I realized… man, this is a really nice SUV. But still, I never bought a vehicle from them in the decade following the experience. I still believed that overall, this brand was not for me. And I have driven an SUV from their major competitor for the past 6 years now.

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As my family grew, we set out to find an SUV which would better accommodate all of the people (and Car Seats, *groan*) which I was now required to shuttle around from place to place. We looked at foreign and domestic, pick up trucks and SUVs, crossovers and (*groan*) mini vans. Nothing seemed to fit the bill.

Then, I saw an SUV driving down the road that I really liked… Low and behold, it was from the car maker I had written off decades before. Long story short-ish, we bought one. We even went a couple of model years older than my current 10-year-old SUV, and I am still extremely pleased with my new-to-me SUV.

Change Facilitates Change

Michigan_&_Griswold_circa_1920My entire perception of this Brand is changing. Because my Vehicle Needs changed and I was forced to explore outside of my comfort zone. As a sales person, you shouldn’t be afraid to present your prospects with an alternative solution to meet their needs. They may tell you they won’t consider a certain make or model, but if you ask what needs they are trying to fill with their new vehicle, instead of what they think they want to buy, you may be more successful at selling them.

It’s a widely known fact, that over 50% of car buyers leave the lot with a vehicle which was NOT the make and model they submitted in their initial lead as their vehicle of interest. And over 40% of internet lead submissions come from prospects who haven’t even settled whether they want a new or preowned vehicle, let alone the make and model.

Influence

oldcar3You have more influence over the type, make and model of vehicle that you sell, than you may think. Avoid pre-qualifying your customers based on what they say they want, and focus instead on what they actually need. Then match vehicles in your existing inventory to those needs. You may surprise yourself with how often your recommendations are heard. Instead of pigeon holing leads by provider, view each lead, as an opportunity to sell your prospective customer the “Right” vehicle, regardless of source.

P.S. What Brands are you most loyal to, and how did they earn that honor?

What Kind of Salesperson are You?

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In sales (as with most careers) you are a product of your environment. There are so many factors that go into a salesperson. Personality is an important factor. Are you likable? Not everyone is. People may like to speak to you but can you speak to them? Can you push their hot buttons? Can you make someone feel something about your product?

We all learn from our surroundings. We are a product of our environment. I owe a lot of my success in the car business to the people I have kept near me along the way. I surrounded myself with people that could teach me something. I wanted to learn, to grow, to thrive, and to make money. Not everyone in this business feels the same way.

However, I feel you learn by example and here are just a few sales personalities who I have run into along the way:

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The Top Dog -

First and foremost is the top dog, the big shot. Regardless of how he gets there, he never loses. He is the producer that everyone is gunning for. He has the top numbers every month. He speaks to no one. He works his own numbers, writes his own deals, and usually has more pull than any of the managers in the building. This is the one you can learn from, if he lets you. Most people in the dealership have nothing nice to say about him and he could care less. He is focused and it shows in his numbers.

Mr. Sunshine -

Then, there is that happy-go-lucky person. The one that seems to always have a rainbow shoved somewhere. You can never piss him off, no matter how hard you try. He is usually just average, not bad numbers but not great. He is likely stuck in the middle somewhere and perfectly content to be there. He will happily help you with anything you ask him to do. He won’t go out of his way but will help when asked. This also is the person that the top producer will lean on as he won’t screw him over.

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Old School Pro -

The next one is the former great. That one figure who has been with the dealership since before the rebuild. He has surpassed most of the managers in the store in time in with the dealership. He used to be the top dog but changes in the business have left those days in the past. He had the most sales with the happiest customers and the best gross averages. Time has gone by and he isn’t so great anymore but the place keeps him around because he has few to no issues and his customers are loyal and thrilled. This is the one that will sit and talk all day long about the past. You might learn something if you can stand to listen to him long enough.

Capt. Blamer -

What dealership doesn’t have that negative salesman? This person blames everyone else for his failures, lost leads, missed opps and never accepts blame personally for anything. He has a terrible attitude and usually sells very few cars. When asked about his sales, the reason they’re so poor is because the manager didn’t T/O him when asked. It could be that the numbers sucked or the customer was stupid or “not in the market”. Either way, it is never his fault. This person is usually good for a pathetic laugh every now and then. Mostly, you will just want to keep your distance.

The Probie -

Who doesn’t love the newbie, green pea? Of course, we all know there is a ton of turnover in the car business. There are usually a few of these people running around. Some may be good for helping dig a car out of the snow and others you just want to run over with that car. Most won’t be in the business long and will move on to other endeavors, usually chased away by the blamer. Beware, however, sometimes you will find they become the next top dog.

When entering the car business (or any business), the important thing to remember is you are a product of your environment. Who would you rather be? The top dog or the blamer. When in the dealership, surround yourself with the best. Guarantee yourself a spot at the top.

Can you think of an individual who fits each personality type above from your store? How have you navigated your place within your dealership to ensure your success?