I’m probably not going out on a limb when I say process and people are what makes a successful car dealer. That’s not to mention of course the cars, which are attractive to buyers and which help dealers make a profit.
They say you can’t “make” a sales person; they are born with the gift to sell, although in today’s world the term SALES exec is not necessarily what it says on the tin.
Franchised dealers tend to stick with employing people who are intelligent, young and who can follow instructions and who will keep customers happy and not upset their manufacturer masters. Whereas in car supermarkets or independents there is still room for sales people who are good with people. These people may have great personalities but are maybe not polished enough for the main dealers. Or maybe they have become disillusioned with the constraints put on them and feel that if they work in the franchised sector they are nothing more than an automaton and feel their “entrepreneurial spirit” being eroded. In the words of the prison warder in the film Scum ‘you don’t have to think here lad it’s all done for you’.
No real surprise then that at auction the biggest buyers are the car supermarkets who, despite the down turn, are still selling cars-a-plenty while the franchised dealers, who have only one product to sell, are pretty much floundering at present.
The feeling with some sales managers we spoke to is that we are really starting to see who can do the job and who is really not up to it. One senior manager told us that he has a sales exec who has sold only 6 cars in the last two months, in which case you have to ask how is he paying his bills and at what point does his personal pride kick in and mean he does the honourable thing and “withdraw to the drawing room”.
Of course employing a certain kind of person in today’s world may help tick the right boxes and keep the customer satisfaction scores healthy enough to qualify for the back end bonus but the bottom line is if they stop selling cars there will not be any satisfaction to measure.
I suppose the diversity of the trade is a good thing because it gives buyers genuine choice; they can buy a used car from a franchised dealer with the associated benefits or they can go to an independent and maybe get a bit more expertise and an all round knowledge of different makes and models.
As they say you pays your money and you takes your choice and at the moment it i quite obvious what choice is being made!