In the car sales business times may have changed, and old selling techniques may have been discarded, but the principles remain broadly the same. Although most customers these days can spot a smarmy salesperson at ten paces, the sales process is still designed to ultimately ensure a sale is made and at the same time give the prospective customer the “full treatment” before they consider a purchase. In the past buyers would be very suspicious of a controlled selling process, fearing it was just a way for a clever salesperson to trick them into buying something they didn’t really want. To be fair that may very well have been true in some cases but the fact remains; if a potential purchaser is given all the facts and figures and is allowed to consider all the options before buying it can only lead to the outcome being satisfactory for all parties. The customer hopefully buys the right car at the right price and is therefore happy to recommend the dealer to friends and relatives and the dealer makes a sale and has the opportunity for repeat business.
Many sales operations spend lots of time and money in fine-tuning their sales processes and by insisting that staff stick rigidly to this practice they can truly measure the success of each presentation. If everyone is doing their job correctly a customer entering the modern car showroom will be greeted with friendly front line staff, offered refreshments and then be subtly persuaded to give out as much information as possible in order that a salesperson can assist in helping make that informed choice.
By going through this process a customer should use it to their advantage and as long as the right boxes can be ticked (and, let’s face it, that usually comes down to price) they need not be intimidated by having to give personal details which will end up on a database. We only need switch on our computers to see how a whole host of companies can target us by e-mail to promote all manner of products and it wot be long before we are specifically targeted by advertisers who already know what we are looking to buy by gaining access to our surfing history. Now that’s a scary thought.
The same applies to car sales, only at least there is still some kind of human contact and by being ‘qualified’ it doesn’t necessarily mean the hard sell. After all when a customer is looking to change their current car they will want to know how much it is worth and what they will get in part-exchange, what the best price on the target car is, what kind of funding solutions are on offer for comparison and they will certainly want to gather information and try out the product. So just because a salesperson seems to be asking endless questions about lifestyle and driving habits and is clearly enthusiastic about selling a car to you, it may be that, once all options are considered, by going through this process, you may actually buy a car that fits the bill without really knowing it.
As long as a salesperson respects a customer’s right to compare other cars and consider deals at rival showrooms, and as long as the sales staff have tried as hard as they can to promote themselves and their range then it will certainly be easier to complete a mutually agreeable transaction and continue breaking down old stereotypical barriers.
The ultimate aim for all intelligent people employed in the motor trade has to be to improve the image of car sales in this country.