Hello Sales Leaders, it’s Jeff Williams, president of Absolute Results.
Today I’d like to share with you one of the 4 core Values of the Appointment Culture – the Value of Being Pro-active.
In the past, automotive sales teams were able to create success by being re-active, rather than pro-active. Sales Professionals typically came to work to wait for customers. This was because customers needed to come to dealerships to learn all the details about the product, to get pricing, and to complete a purchase transaction. The dealer’s exclusive access to information about models, inventory, pricing, finance terms and trade in values gave them the upper hand in the retail transaction. Customers had to be willing to purchase on the dealer’s terms, and the sales process didn’t begin until the customer arrived.
As a result, many sales professionals focused on increasing their conversion or closing rate as the primary way to grow their sales. Dealers created processes that served their agenda, and success was often built with a focus on controlling information. Many dealers only gave pricing information to customers who made commitments to purchase and one of the prizes “badges of honour” for a sales professionals was a high conversation rate.
But today, everything has changed. Customers no longer need to go to a dealership to get information on vehicles, to get pricing, or in some cases even to purchase a vehicle. And if you try to force them to come to you by withholding information, they will simply go somewhere else to purchase. Customers are also less patient. If they don’t perceive that you really want their business, they will look elsewhere.
To be successful, we must change how we operate. We must be pro-active to succeed. What does this mean? It starts by coming to work, to work, not to wait. But it’s more than just hard work. We must come to work with the goal of serving our customers. To be pro-active means that we are thinking ahead, planning and ready to help each customer, reaching out to them on a regular basis, why? because we truly value them. It means that we are prepared to work hard and earn their trust, even if they aren’t quite ready to buy today.
The successful sales professional of today and tomorrow needs to be pro-active and to focus on two things every day.
First, they need to focus on creating their own daily selling opportunities, and the best way to do this is by having a process for making appointments every day. Waiting for customers to walk in the showroom is losing strategy, as showroom traffic continues to decrease. The best place to find a steady source of selling opportunities is with previous customers. Every dealer’s database is full of hundreds of previous customers who have the potential to purchase. Sales teams with an Appointment Culture and who proactively reach out to previous customers every day to book appointments will master the ability to create selling opportunities.
My friends, when your calendar has appointments every day, your future in the retail auto industry is secure.
The second thing sales professionals need to pro-actively focus on every day is adding value with every customer interaction. Putting the extra effort to personalize an email, send pictures of a vehicle to an enquiring customer, make that extra courtesy call, or even bringing a vehicle to a customer. These are examples of being proactive.
In our high tech, fast paced world, customers really appreciate great service, and they desire a sales professional to personalize their shopping, to make it a special experience, and to guide their selection and their purchase. The opportunities today to serve your customers are greater than ever. But all this starts with an Appointment.
So let’s embrace the Value of being Pro-active. Let’s come to work to work, to make appointments, and to serve our customers by making their experience special. We don’t need to withhold information, or try and manipulate the customer on our terms to make a deal, because by being proactive we have earned their respect and by serving them well, we will earn their business today and tomorrow.
That’s what the Appointment Culture is all about.