More and more consumers are choosing to purchase used vehicles over new ones. Selling used…
Selling cars in most markets is a tough business, but it can be personally and financially rewarding when you are surrounded by a team of highly competent professionals. Not every car salesperson steps onto a car lot knowing how to approach customers or the best ways to close a deal.
How people shop for and purchase cars has changed in recent years. To stay a step ahead, it’s vital that sales staff understand customer buying behavior and expectations. As a car dealership owner or manager, it’s essential to understand that the most lucrative way to build your business is by elevating the customer experience.
This starts with your sales team. Whether you are dealing with seasoned professionals or new salespeople, having a comprehensive training program gives you the opportunity to craft your message. Here’s what you need to know about today’s car buyers and some helpful tips for training your car dealership’s sales team.
How Today’s Car Purchasers Are Different
Few consumers get excited about the car-buying process, and that level of dread seems to have only intensified over the recent years. According to new research released by Cox Automotive, customer satisfaction with the car buying process declined in 2022 for the second straight year.
The 2022 Car Buyer Journey Study reveals that vehicle buyers continue to be frustrated with limited availability, high prices, and the time necessary to complete the purchase process. The perceived effort required by a consumer to buy a car seems to have skyrocketed.
Because there is a perception that car dealers aren’t offering good deals, consumers spend a significant amount of time on independent research before they ever set foot on a sales lot. Vehicle shoppers now use many third-party sites like Autotrader, Kelley Blue Book, Vroom, and other automaker websites when researching and shopping for their next vehicle.
Record-high prices and limited inventory have also become commonplace in the vehicle market. These are both key drivers of the time spent researching prices, brands, options, and individual dealerships in advance of putting boots on the ground.
What does this mean for your sales team? Basically, your sales professionals must make the most of every customer touchpoint, and not every salesperson knows how to do this effectively. This is where training can be so valuable.
Why Car Dealerships Should Train Their Salespeople
Having plenty of salespeople on your lot is one way to ensure a potential customer receives some attention, but the reality is that a lack of training will result in wasted opportunities and lost sales. Even worse, a poor experience could damage your brand if word gets out—and it will.
Fortunately, adequately training your sales staff is a solution. Here are just a few reasons why you should train your dealership’s salespeople.
1. It Elevates the Customer Experience
The number one reason to invest in sales training is that it improves the customer experience. Even if you think you already have a top-notch sales team, there’s a good chance one or more of them could use some work on their approach. Sales training can help your team improve the customer experience from the time they first contact your dealership until well after the sale.
2. It Reduces Your Ad Spend
A lot of car dealerships throw money into various advertising campaigns. Then, they are unable to back up their lofty promises when a prospect steps onto the lot. When your salespeople are the best-trained professionals in the business, word will get around naturally. This can reduce your overall ad spend, making your marketing dollars more efficient.
3. It Improves Staff Retention & Growth
Employees, even ones who are paid a commission, want to feel valued. When you invest in staff development and growth, you will achieve stronger staff retention rates and a better internal culture. Salespeople who stay with your company longer can mentor others and help your business grow.
4. It Frees Up Dealership Management
No dealership manager or owner wants to spend their time putting out fires. But if your salespeople lack training, there’s a good chance they will make plenty of errors, which could cost your business money and impact your reputation. But proper training will free up your managers to focus on other important things, like expansion and growth.
5. It Improves Dealer Performance
Most successful car dealers view sales training as a worthwhile investment in the business. Instead of treating it as an expense, it’s something that will pay for itself many times over. How? As your salespeople become more proficient at pleasing customers and closing sales, your overall results will soar.
12 Tips to Help You Train Your Car Dealership’s Sales Team
Now that you understand the importance of training your dealership’s salespeople, how do you go about it? Here are some tips to help you create a winning sales team.
1. Know the Products
If you’re going to have a top-notch sales team, your salespeople need to know everything possible about your products. Most consumers have already done a ton of online research regarding makes, models, and features. When they reach your facility, they may have some questions they were unable to get answered online.
Buyers don’t want a slick-talking salesperson to push them into signing a paper. They want answers to specific questions. There’s nothing more irritating to a buyer than having to educate a salesperson about their own products.
2. Understand the Process
In addition to understanding cars, your salespeople need to know how the sales process and dealership work. What’s the procedure for evaluating a trade-in? What if a customer likes a vehicle at another location? What happens if a customer has credit challenges? What perks or service is included with a purchase? Are there other options to add value to the purchase?
It’s critical that you know what you have to offer customers who walk through your door. To stand out in a customer’s mind, give them direct answers to their questions and provide more information than they could find with a simple Google search.
3. Be Positive and Friendly
When your salespeople meet a potential customer, they should make eye contact immediately and smile. Shaking hands and exchanging names should be standard procedure. Customers will immediately pick up on salespeople who are insincere or phony.
You need people on your team who are enthusiastic about the job they are doing. If a customer makes negative comments about another brand or dealer, make sure your salespeople don’t join in. Disparaging others is a bad look and something customers will notice quickly.
4. Remain Professional
Part of car dealership sales training should focus on teaching professionalism. These are costly purchases, so consumers expect a certain level of professionalism. For example, a prospective customer would feel more confident spending their money with someone who presents with a crisp, clean appearance and an organized desk.
Professionalism also extends to behavior. If a salesperson gets angry or insists on making inappropriate jokes, this will reflect poorly on the dealership. Instead, focus on providing a knowledgeable and mature exchange with people who enter the premises.
5. Learn and Use CRM Software
The best salespeople will learn how to leverage technology to deliver the best possible customer experience. In a car dealership, this will usually involve learning to use CRM software. CRM is short for customer relationship management.
CRM software can help your salespeople keep track of client contacts, communicate with potential clients, and personalize those interactions. CRM software has many automation features that can free up your salespeople to focus on other high-value areas of the business.
6. Listen More Than You Speak
A majority of salespeople love to talk. This is a wonderful asset because there is a consistent stream of new people entering the sales pipeline. However, you must be a great listener to make sales. After all, how can you build rapport with customers and learn what they need if you’re doing all the talking?
Most people like to talk about themselves and feel like they are being heard. Your salespeople should receive training in matching their style to the customer’s way of speaking. This is called “mirroring.” Doing this allows you to adjust your interactions to make more favorable connections with the customer.
7. Respect Your Customers Needs
One of the best ways to close a deal is to learn what the customer wants and find a way to fulfill their needs. Returning to the last point, your salespeople need training on asking the right questions to uncover a customer’s needs, such as the type of vehicle, main uses for the car, and financing needs.
Since the COVID-19 pandemic, customers have moved a significant part of their buying process online. They spend hours conducting independent research, so it’s safe to assume that many buyers already have a specific vehicle in mind once they reach a dealership. A salesperson’s job is to show them that vehicle and suggest any similar options if they are available.
8. Treat Customers Equally
When potential customers arrive on your sales lot, it would be a mistake for your salespeople to make assumptions about them. For example, never assume that one person makes more money than the other or knows more about cars than the other. When speaking with a couple, it’s essential that both be included in the decision-making process.
9. Always Be Honest
The worst thing your car salespeople can do is be dishonest with prospective customers. Remember, the people who are walking onto your lot today are not ignorant about your vehicle’s features or your prices. Most have done thorough research before deciding to visit a dealership, and many do so with trepidation because car dealers have a reputation for using questionable tactics.
Your salespeople can build trust and close a sale quicker by being honest from the start. If they don’t know the answer to a question, admit it and work at getting the answer. Avoid promising something that isn’t possible or being subversive about pricing. Customers appreciate a more upfront and honest approach.
10. Exercise Patience
Buying a car is a major purchase for most customers, and statistics show that both new and used car prices have skyrocketed in the past few years. This isn’t a purchase the average consumer is going to make on a whim.
While your salespeople might be anxious to close a deal, being pushy is no longer an effective sales tactic. Most consumers will head for the hills at the first sign of high-pressure sales tactics. When your team exercises patience with their prospects, they’re more likely to get rewarded with the sale.
11. Stay Teachable
Since buyer behavior has changed drastically over the past several years, it’s a safe bet that things will continue to evolve over time. The last thing you want is for your sales team’s seasoned veterans to be so set in their ways that they fail to adapt to the times.
One of the things you’ll want to stress with sales professionals is that they need to remain teachable. Sales training should continue throughout their career so that they can stay educated about the different vehicle options, value-added products and services offered by the dealership, and changing wants and needs of consumers.
12. Say Thank You and Stay in Touch
Your salespeople should never assume the dealership-customer relationship has ended when the customer drives off the car lot. One of the most powerful marketing channels for your business is word-of-mouth advertising, and repeat business can pay off for your dealership for many years to come.
Salespeople should be trained in how to say “thank you” to customers and effectively stay in touch. This doesn’t mean they should be pesky, but rather send occasional emails or text messages to remind customers that they are there for them if needed. Happy and satisfied buyers will be quick to write online reviews or tell their family, friends, and coworkers about their experiences.
Partner with Titan Warranty Administration to Improve Your Car Dealership’s Results
Once you’ve trained your car dealership’s sales team, you’ll want to give them the resources they need to deliver value to your customers and improve your car dealership’s results at the same time. Titan Warranty Administration’s extended warranty and full spectrum service contract programs are the ideal options.
We serve the franchised auto dealer, independent auto dealer, and RV dealer markets with partners nationwide. Unlike our competitors, Titan’s products are completely flexible and customizable, offering the best service and value to your customers. Call (833) 317-3720 or email us to learn more about how these options can enhance your dealership’s sales.