“Overhaul,” Steven Rattner's book about the auto industry, is on the best-seller list, but three people with strong dealership ties have written books, too, covering an array of topics.
Those works range from Richard Libin's Who Stopped the Sale?, a practical how-to book on mastering the art of car selling, to Duh!, Doug Manley's humorous memoir as a dealership controller.
Then there's Car Wreck, by Mark Ragsdale, a former dealer, who says auto maker-dealer relations must improve and auto-financing needs major reformations.
A regular Ward's Dealer Business columnist, Libin in his book urges dealership personnel to think less about actual sells pitches and more about helping customers find the exact product and service that meet their needs.
“Gone is the era of the stereotypical salesperson who focused on selling as fast as possible, regardless of the customers' needs,” he says, offering a profile of the modern-day salesperson.
Giving examples and step-by-step instructions, the book covers such topics as becoming a product specialist, asking the right questions (and then listening to the answers) and looking at the dealership through the eyes of customers.
It gives practical insights in an easy-to-follow format. Libin says the book is in memory of his father, George Libin, founder of Automotive Profit Builders Inc., a consulting and training firm that the son now heads.
Manley's book is a one-word title, if indeed “Duh” is a real word. As a 30-year dealership controller Manley says the holder of that job “sees it all.”
He offers practical advice, dissects concepts and challenges some auto dealership practices, such as using employee spiffs as “a crutch to reward the sales staff for management mistakes.”
Candid as ever, Manley tells Ward's he has received some positive feedback from readers, but also has heard from a state auto dealer association executive director “who said he tossed it.”
Ragsdale's “Car Wreck” carries a provocative subtitle: “How you got rear-ended-run over and crushed by the U.S. auto industry.”
As the owner of nine franchised dealerships, he has sold thousands of cars, but he says he divulges secrets that most automotive professionals don't want you to know.
He contends auto makers must improve their relations with dealers. He claims that generations of destructive business principles have created contentiousness between the two groups.
“The dealer-auto maker relationship is not an equitable one, and thus, not a partnership at all,” he says.
As a consumer advocate, Ragsdale says it is unfair for lenders to contractually require car buyers to unwittingly pay off all the interest that will ever be required on their loans, regardless of when they pay them off.
To order and obtain more information on the books, go to:
- www.whostoppedthesale.com (Libin)
- www.dumbdealer.com (Manley)
- www.MarkRagsdale.com (Ragsdale)
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