A Salespersons Most Valuable Asset
In a dealership a lot of the time people feel the most valuable assets are the building – or the parts – the inventory – they are NOT. Its your customers! I have been in the car business for a long time and I cannot tell you how long ago I heard this. The problem is everyone agrees at this being important but do we really treat it as the “Most Valuable Asset?”
Let me start by sharing a recent experience I had in a dealership that I feel is very normal. I was working with a salesperson and we will call him Abe. I asked Abe how many units he had delivered the previous month – he responded 11. I asked him how many he was forecasting for the upcoming month – he responded 12. I then asked him how long he had been selling cars? He responded 10 years. That is when I almost lost it. The national average is around 10 units per month and this salesperson has been selling for 10 years and he is selling 1 more car than the average. What has he done with the past 10 years of owners?
He is very average in this and basically has done what most automotive salespeople do – very little. And in most cases – the problem starts with the desk because they FORCE salespeople to watch the floor rather than working the owner base. Now lets go back to Abe for a moment – he is basically “HOPING & WAITING” for previous customers to come back in and ask him to sell them another vehicle. To all of the salespeople who are receiving this let me share a couple of ways you can drastically increase your income by working your owner base smarter.
When we get right down to it most salespeople have never really been trained how to develop a “book of business” and capture all the sales opportunities it offers.
Let me start by sharing some data. (We’ll use Abe again) I asked Abe how many units he had sold in the previous 3 years, he said about 330. I shared with him that 1/3, or 110 of those people will either replace a vehicle in their driveway, add a vehicle, a relative or close friend will replace a vehicle, the problem is – Abe doesn’t have a clue about any of that information. When Abe does follow up with his customers he limits his discussing of vehicles to checking on the car he sold them. He doesn’t have any clue: “How many vehicles they own, who the drivers are, were they purchased new or used and when, and most importantly when they plan to replace them.” He has NO CLUE – HE JUST LEAVES IT TO CHANCE. Abe has 9 people EACH MONTH he has done business with that are going to either be purchasing a vehicle or knows someone that is very close to them that will be purchasing something within the next 12 months yet he chooses to wait by the door.
The first step is when you are calling your sold customers you want to start asking the following: ” I know you are pretty well set with the 2012 Camry I just sold you, by the way what are the other vehicles you own? What else? Who drives what? Of all those vehicles which one will be replaced NEXT? When you do replace it will you go new or pre-owned? Will it be the same size, a little bigger or maybe a little smaller this time?”
That is the first step – the next step is to start keeping information on your customers. Think of it this way – if you sell a car to someone and over the next 10 years they will either buy 10 cars or refer people to you that makes them worth 10 sales to you – how would you treat that person? I want to know everything I can about that person. Where they work – how long they have been there – what they do there – I mean really what they do there so you can intelligently discuss what they do for a living. Discuss their significant other – how long they have been together – how they met – where that person works. Find out both of their hobbies or activities. Find out everything you can about the kids. Just think of this: One of your best customers that you know all of this information about has their only child graduating from High school this year – wouldn’t it go a long ways to send a graduation card or even a small gift? You see – I want to be their “Car Guy”. When it comes to cars the only name that comes to their mind is mine.
It is impossible for me to write everything I know about “building a book of business” but please understand – as a salesperson – your best source of business is sitting right in front of you in your owner base. Feel free to call me to ask any questions or have me explain things further and finally, I would love to hear your comments or successes with “building a book of business”.