One of my associates had an enlightening episode with a major dealer group recently that shows me that the culture of a dealership can be changed for the good. My associate was presenting some factual data he had accumulated over the past several years regarding phone calls and conversion rates (to sales) to several of the managers as well as the president of this major auto group. After a couple of hours of being drilled and seemingly dismissed by the group, my associate started to get up and leave. The president, who had remained pretty much silent during the discourse said ‘Can you stay for tomorrow?’ much to the surprise of my associate as well as the majority of the people in the room.
The next day the entire organization was gathered. the president then addressed them with the following: “You may never hear me say this again, but everything we’ve been teaching for the last 30 years is wrong. We gave bonuses to sales people who said the things we wanted them to and docked those who didn’t. I was wrong!”
The president was talking about the fact that by not answering questions by trying to control the situation (evading, blocking, over-elaborating, asking questions, etc.) instead of answering the customer’s question, statistically lowers the ratio of phone calls to sales SIGNIFICANTLY! The statistical proof is that if 1000 sales phone calls come into a dealership each month (3 an hour, 33-35 per day) only 3% of them result in sales in the typical dealership environment. Forget about what you think you close, it’s 3% on average. By learning not to block or evade questions from customers on the phone, that percentage can be tripled or even quintupled!
Dealers invest in sales training – most of it is counterproductive. Think about this: Never is the guy with the most training the guy with the most sales.
My associate’s name is Tom Watson. He has studied this for over thirty years. People can learn to answer questions and not alienate customers. Tom has devised a free training site for this purpose. He has also devised a call monitoring/review system to help a dealer guide their sales people to recognize where the errors occur (that part is not free, but it’s very affordable).