How To Solve Dealership Turnover & Staffing Issues Forever (PART 11)
TRANSCRIPT: Now let’s talk about human processes, like this one, the road to the sale. This is a road to the sale that a dealer I worked with a few years actually had and I think they’re still having in place today. With human processes, the CRM can still track all the steps of the process, just not so much dictate the next step because in this process, the road to the sale, we’re in front of the prospect the entire time, so we don’t have a CRM that pops up and says, “Do the feature presentation now.” So we have to know these steps. A human is managing the steps. After the steps have been taken, we want the human to go in to the CRM and show that those steps have been made. For internet sales, the human process takes over after we get that reconnection. I’ve sent out the emails. I’m making my day seven phone call. The customer answers.
Now the human process takes over, not a CRM process. Again, we’re going to track these in the CRM. We’re going to make sure that people mark off the steps in the CRM and that they actually made the steps, but it’s going to be driven largely by humans. Is this a great process, this old fashion road to the sale? Notice I said old fashioned. Is the old fashioned road to the sale great? Is it easy to understand and explain? I’m going to say, you know, yeah. This was pretty close to what we had in ’85. We didn’t have F&I back then. Is it easy to understand and explain? Yeah, it is. It is. Is it intuitive? Does it make sense? I’m going to say not today. I’m going to say it did when it was written.
When this process was written it made sense. It doesn’t make sense today. Your customer has already done their needs analysis. They’ve already done their vehicle selection. They’ve already done their feature presentation. They’re just looking for someone to sell them a car. 77% of new car buyers bought the car they came in on. The reason people chose your dealership, there’s three reasons that people buy. One is value, two is relevancy and three is authenticity. Value says the vehicle that you have for sale is the price that they’re willing to pay. That’s value. They see value in your price. Relevancy. “Yep, that minivan fits me. Yep, I need an SUV. Yep, that’s the perfect Sudan for me.”
The vehicle is relevant, your dealership is relevant, the vehicle has value. Your dealership has the vehicle for value. That’s value and relevancy. Now they show up at your dealership. They’re just looking for authenticity. They only want to come there and test drive the car. If they like it, they’re going to buy it unless you blow them out because you’ve got this road to the sale where you slow everything down you take them back to the beginning, and you go through. Is this repeatable? I say it’s not intuitive because some of the steps don’t make sense today. Is it repeatable? Yeah, sure. Okay, sometimes.
Really think about your road to the sale and how many of your salespeople follow up every single step to the road to the sale every single time. Is it effective? Do employees and customers love it? Nope. We know from Driving Sales that 99% of customers, 99% of car buyers expect to hassle when they start the car buying process. 99%. Where do they get that? Where do they get that idea that this was going to be a hassle? From the last time they bought, so they don’t love the process. 99% of them absolutely hate it. Do employees love it? No, they shortcut it all the time.
Let’s write a process for connected customers, sort of a shorter road to the sale. This would be my process today. I’m going to start with the goal, selling the car, delivering the car, and then I’m going to work backwards all the way up. I’m going to smell test the steps. Are they all necessary? You might say, “Steve, wait a minute. We’re going to jump from the meet and greet all the way to the demo drive?” Yeah because the people who show up on your lot today, the up, they already have a car in mind. If I was working at your dealership and I was training salespeople, I would say this. “Hi. I’m Steve Stauning. Welcome to Steve’s Honda. What vehicles did you come to see today?”
There’s no reason to build that fake rapport because we can’t do that. We’re going to build rapport through genuine human interaction. We’re going to make this a buying process. We’re going to let them buy. We’re going to pull them through the steps. When they answer what vehicle they came to see, then say, “Great. Let me get your driver’s license. We’ll go ahead and scan it. We’ll get you out on your test drive.” We get them on a test drive right away. While I’m on the test drive, someone is going to be doing the trade evaluation back at the dealership so the minute we come back from the test drive, when they’re at their highest point and most likely to buy, we’re going to pass them the pencil.
It’s going to be a fair pencil. It’s going to match the price that they already saw only and the price for their trade is going to be within that range that they already saw online because they did already see all this. Our salesperson is never going to have to leave their side. They’re going to be with them the entire time. That’s our process. Is it great? Does it make sense and does everyone love it? I don’t know if people are going to love it necessarily, but customers are going to like this a whole lot more because the three hours just doesn’t make any sense. Why do customers love? Why would customers love this process? Because it’s a buying process, not a selling process.
They already hate our current process. They’re going to like this process or love this process because it makes sense to them. “I came in to test drive. Why are you asking me all these third degree questions? Time out. I just want to test drive a car. I just want to make sure it’s in stock.” Why do they love it? Because it keeps them busy the entire time. They’re not sitting there on their smartphone or waiting for you to come back from the desk for the fourth time. They love this process because it’s shorter than three hours. That’s why they love this process.
Why do salespeople love this process? The same reasons. Salespeople love this process because it’s a buying process, not a selling process. We’re doing something called assumptive selling. We’re going to assume the sale from the minute the customer walks on the lot and if we’re assuming the sale, we’re assuming they already know what they want and we’re going to walk them through that, so we’re going to take them through a buying process, not a selling process. See, it makes sense to salespeople these steps. They love it because it keeps them busy the entire time. Think about how many deals your team is losing. I was just at a dealership last month and I watched this from the sales desk. I watched as a salesperson was walking back for their third pencil. I watched the customer sitting back at the table.
The salesperson probably said at the desk, “15 minutes maybe?” Talkin’, jawin’ with the sales managers. They’re trying to squeeze this buffalo off the nickel for this customer. What was the customer doing back at the table? Just waiting patiently? No. You know what they were doing. They had their smartphone out. I watched them on their smartphone. Before the salesperson got back to them, they had stood up, put on their coat and started to walk to the door. Salesperson caught them and they said, “You know what? We’re going to be right back. There’s another vehicle up the street we want to look at.” Actually, they said “car,” not vehicle. Did that customer come back? No. The deal was lost because we left the customer by themselves and we left them alone with their smartphone.
The final reason why salespeople love this process? Again, it’s shorter than three hours. “Steve, I thought this was about reducing turnover. How does process reduce turnover?” Listen, if it was easy, intuitive, repeatable and enforced, and loved by all, you’d sell more cars for more money. Your employees would have structure and guidance. Your marginal salespeople would improve instead of flushing out after two months. All of this requires accountability and that’s the problem. See, this is the biggest elephant in the room is accountability in the car business.