During a conversation with a sales manager I met up with at the auction recently (yes they are starting to get out of their comfy chairs and see what’s going on out there) we started chatting about the changing face of the business. In between the “what happened to the good old days” stories, I got him to admit that although at first losing staff in the form of sales people at the start of the downturn, it seems that now things have calmed down, good well run, well funded businesses are not all going to the wall. The canny dealers who have increased sales rates but found themselves struggling to cope with the extra footfall due to staff shortage, have decided partly out of caution, that they can no longer take a chance with a gnarled old stick in the mud who refuses to conform to modern sales processes and increased demand from management and manufacturers. This particular guy, when I asked him how he was adapting simply asked me to cast my mind back to when I sold cars, and think about when I was most successful and profitable.
I had to admit that 25 years ago, unlike today, it was “there is a phone, there is a desk and there is a stock list, anything you need just ask the controller and do everything he says and you will be successful”.
You know what? He was right. I sold more cars, more warranties, more finance and made more profit when I knew nothing and was just prepared to listen and action what I had been told! I also left no trail of destruction and was mad keen on delighting my customers. The “talk round” package that every business in the motor trade wants. A person who sells consistently, loves his customers and returns their calls and takes responsibility for their problems, who supports and backs up his colleagues and superiors and who didn’t take days off sick when he has 4 cars to hand over. Basically someone who doesn’t exist, the perfect salesperson!
The point of all this is that the job has come full circle, dealers are now actively seeking people who have no motor trade experience at all, and certainly not in sales but are honest, have a good personality and can communicate. The rest can be learned through great training and coaching, and in this way car dealers can have the people that they want who haven’t gained bad habits or try to cut corners but can simply follow a process because they know nothing else. It may mean, however, that the days of the car super salesperson are nearly over and these old war horses will probably view their modern equivilent as corporate robots working to a script.
If this policy continues it may very well bring an overall benefit to customers and dealers and manufacturers alike hope that it will ensure the long term prospects of car sales and repairs are in good hands.