The Good, Bad and Ugly

Last month, we discussed ways to draw from the Disney model to make people want to go to your dealership for a great experience. Let's look at more ways to do that. Storytelling Show off your brag wall, the photos of all your delighted clients and their new cars, and plaques of recognition received from the community and the manufacturer. Tell stories your customers can relate to. Timeless and engaging

Last month, we discussed ways to draw from the Disney model to make people want to go to your dealership for a great experience.

Let's look at more ways to do that.

Storytelling

Show off your brag wall, the photos of all your delighted clients and their new cars, and plaques of recognition received from the community and the manufacturer.

Tell stories your customers can relate to. Timeless and engaging stories delight, inspire and build connections.

There is no better way to engage a client than by listening. Ask questions that invite stories about family, favorite cars, the world today, vacation spots — any number of topics that get clients talking.

Listen, learn, show real interest and participate, but be careful to keep contributions relevant and positive. Stay away from comments, jokes or anecdotes that may inadvertently be offensive or misinterpreted.

Optimism

At Disney, entertainment is about hope, aspiration and positive resolutions.

Similarly, a dealership should be about filling needs, wants and desires, about providing a sense of security, adventure, joy, responsibility, or sex appeal — depending on what each individual client seeks.

None of this can be accomplished without optimism. While each employee must bring a positive attitude to work, managers must create an environment where people want to be.

They must realize every employee is equally important and every employee is a salesperson who can make or break a sale. They must reward and motivate each equally.

Consider how a hotel doorman or store greeter makes you feel with a cheery “Good morning! Welcome.” Each is selling with every client encounter.

Decency

Car salespersons still suffer from a poor image, Unfortunately, some people in our business are doing everything possible to reinforce it. Consider this letter I received.

Dear Richard:

I recently read your article while waiting in my dealership for my car to be serviced. As a salesperson myself (electronics) I couldn't agree with you more.

I have to say, however, that not much has changed here in the New York metro area.

To wit: I recently helped a friend, buy a new Toyota. During the test drive, the salesperson alluded to the fact that the front seats reclined and that we could have a great time with girls. I told him we were gay (we're not) but the blood draining from his face was a priceless reaction!

Back at the dealership, he asked, “What do I have to do to put you in this car today” I swear, he actually said that. After negotiating, he whined: “Any more customers like you and I'll be out of business! I'm not making a dime on this!”

A good friend, recently divorced and armed with a large cash settlement, walks into the local Volvo dealership and says, “I hear Volvos are safe cars, what do you recommend?” Salesman: “Well, what do you want? S60, S30?” Friend: “I know nothing about them.” Salesman (big sigh) “Let me show you what's in stock.”

He takes her to a car on the lot, which is locked. He shrugs, and then his cell phone rings. It's his girlfriend. They argue while making dinner plans. Meanwhile, the car remains locked. The salesman ignores her. She walks. She goes down the road to the Chrysler dealership, gets treated fairly and with respect, and walks out with a new Sebring and a new Liberty, paid for in cash, by the way.

When will these guys learn?

Best Regards, Keith Antos

P.S. Feel free to use these stories in your seminars/articles. You must be busy!!”

Like Disney, car sales people must honor and respect the trust that people place in us. Oh, and never put trade journals in the customer waiting room!

One more thing, make your business a fun place to work!

Richard F. Libin is president of APB-Automotive Profit Builders, Inc., a firm with more than 42 years experience working with both sales and service on customer satisfaction and maximizing gross profits through personnel development and technology. He is at [email protected] or 508-626-9200.

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