Why You Need To Change Your Pre-Qualification Interview

Why You Need To Change Your Pre-Qualification Interview

Why You Need To Change Your Pre-Qualification Interview

Every Lead is An Internet Lead

As salespeople, we have to admit that we get a little excited every time we sit down with a new client. It doesn’t really matter whether that client came through the front door, called us on the phone, or took the time to send an email. We get that thrill with every possibility of a win.  

Go ahead— stick it to the competition. But more importantly, serve a client what they need.

We’ve spoken before about how we need to treat each client differently as they come to us through different channels. But that’s not entirely accurate. We treat those clients differently if they come for different reasons. Some come for a family sedan, while others need the strength and capacity of a pick-up. It’s very simple to determine those answers. We do it every time we start a conversation.

“May I ask how you heard about us?”

This however is where many people in sales fail to establish a meaningful relationship. A few misaligned questions, and everything falls off the rails. The next thing you know, you’ve sent those potential clients down the road to the competition.

What happened? Did you say something wrong? Did you just not mesh with them?

While it’s often a lack of or misaligned message in your dealership, it can also come down to your qualifying questions.

We start off with questions to build rapport and establish a connection. We also ask those questions so we can group clients into different pillars. Once we know and understand the similarities between those pillars, it becomes easier to build that rapport and establish a long-term relationship.

So what are you missing?

The answer can be scary to some, but it’s actually an assumption. The question of where a client heard about you can be too open ended. To pre-qualify them, you want to narrow down the pillars as quickly as possible. The way to achieve that is to side-step the open ended question altogether and make an assumption.

 

Yes, assume.

Don’t worry, an assumption isn’t going to get you into a hot mess. It’s going to make your job easier; a lot easier, in fact. In today’s marketing landscape, the easiest assumption to make is that they came from the Internet. At some point, they’ve absorbed digital content somehow either through you, your competition, or your manufacturer.

Test it the next time you have a potential client in front you!

Adjust your pre-qualifying questions

“Have you done any research online?”
This is a simple yes or no question. If they have, your next question will tell you a lot about them.

“What did you learn?”
The answer to the second question will not only tell you how much they know or don’t for that matter, but how favourably they think of your brand. It can also tell you how far along the purchase journey they’ve come so you don’t waste their time explaining concepts they already know.

In two short questions, you’ve opened the door to their world

With that magic number of 85 percent of potential buyers having already been to your website, then your assumption that they came at least in some part from a digital source is going to make your job easier. You’re going to establish a stronger relationship faster so you can get to their pain points more efficiently. They will think you can read their mind— and in a way you are— to jump to the common answers.

The other benefit to assuming they’re versed in your digital marketing is the release of the tension you’ve been carrying around. Relaxed, you’ll be able to build that rapport more effectively. You won’t be searching for things to say because you’ll be better prepared. Your marketing and operations processes will become easier when you start focusing on the clients’ needs.

The best part about this process is that the small number of people who haven’t come through a digital channel can be wowed all the more when you show them what they’ve missed out on.

Take a load off by changing a simple question.

Now it’s time for you to think about your pre-qualifying questions. Adjust them to change those pillars and start making relationships easier. There is a time for opened-ended questions, but you want to be in control.

We’re all online … all the time. Now it’s time that you acknowledge and embrace it.

 

Thanks for reading! Stay tuned for more content.

Cheers,
Jason Harris

 

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The Most important Element of Selling

The Most important Element of Selling

The Most important Element of Selling

Customer Experience

Have you ever returned to a store to find your experience vastly different? It happens. It could be a different salesperson or even the weather. But for whatever reason, your experience isn’t always the same.

But it should be.

A Tale of Two Clients

Let’s compare the experience of two clients in a dealership.

On the one hand, you have a client who’s greeted at the door, offered coffee or tea, and is then given a tour of the dealership before being introduced to the operations team.

On the other hand, you have a client who comes in afterwards, and has to wait for that tour to finish before someone acknowledges them. The coffee ran out and there’s a shift change, so no one can see them for ten minutes. As a result, they end up waiting in a hard, uncomfortable chair you dragged out of the basement last week and forgot to clean.

Who do you suppose is going to remember the service quality?

Customer service isn’t just a small piece of the puzzle; it’s the table you build it on. Without a solid base to work with, you can’t put anything together. Without focusing on the whole experience a client may have when they visit your dealership, you won’t even know what turns them off. Remember, you have to care about customer experience, or they’ll see through it all as a ploy.

Here are some ways to make it real.

Walking through the door

What do you offer clients when they come through the door? Do they have access to coffee or tea? Is your waiting room clean and easy to access?

Not only does the process have to be simple, but you need to give your clients something to do while they wait. Some dealerships have televisions set up, while others have started using interactive gaming systems that give more feedback into their desires. Remember that just showing car commercials will likely bore them silly if they’ve already done their research.

You’ll also notice many younger car-buyers looking for vehicles, sometimes with their children in tow. Take a cue from doctors’ and dental offices and have a small area sectioned off for the children so their parents can speak to you without interruption.

F And I

No one enjoys the finance and insurance conversation, so your goal should be to make it as comfortable as possible. If the conversation is with another team member, introduce them early and show off your support. Then, make sure to show the value instead of cost. Taking some of the same steps as you did when you first met will also help put your clients at ease.

Another great tip is to leave your phone at the door. Never answer your phone while you’re having an active conversation— especially text messages. Not only is it distracting, but as soon as you take your focus from your clients, you’ve destroyed the rapport you’ve been working on. The clients in your office took the time to visit, and you have voicemail for a reason.

Z

Picking up the car

By the time a client picks up a vehicle, it will often be at their third visit. They’ve invested a lot of time already and you don’t want to keep them longer than you have to. That said, there are some things you should think about. Scheduling the appointment properly so they don’t have to wait is the first step you can take and it won’t cost a cent.

As the salesperson, you likely won’t see the clients for a few years. Your dealership partners, however, will see them far more often. Clients like to know there’s a team behind you and taking the time to introduce everyone is a great way to show solidarity and extend the rapport you’ve taken so long to build. This is especially true for your service team. Offering a free oil change or two can help that transition as well.

+

Follow up

The customer experience isn’t just about the sale’s process; it’s everything they experience in the dealership, and even in the days and weeks afterwards. You’d be surprised how powerful a follow-up phone call can be. In fact, making a habit of calling them to see if there is anything else you or your team can do is a great way to stay top of mind. 

A second follow up by a third party or automated system to gauge their experience will give you great feedback for any changes you need to make. Some companies are so focused on customer service that when they do their follow up surveys, anything less than excellent is considered a failure. That’s right— if you don’t wow the clients every time, you haven’t achieved your goal. While extreme, it does embrace the proper sentiments.

A commitment to customer service excellence doesn’t necessarily cost money.

What does a coffee cost compared to the SUV? Would a free oil change break the bank when selling a luxury car? You can’t go wrong with putting the customer first. It’s an invisible investment that will always pay dividends.                                                                                                                                                                                                                       

Thanks for reading! Stay tuned for more content.

Cheers,
Jason Harris

 

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5 Important Elements of Marketing Communication

5 Important Elements of Marketing Communication

5 Important Elements of Marketing Communication

Did you notice that robots are invading the planet? Slowly, but surely, they’re replacing everyone you know with evil doppelgängers.

When it comes to marketing, those faceless, lurching beasts can almost do everything you can. If you rely on templates and cold interactions, you’ll eventually lose your job to one. Put simply, if you mistreat your audience that way, you should lose your job. They deserve better.

Don’t be afraid. It’s not too late. To stave off an invasion from those metallic monsters, there’s really only one thing you need to keep in mind; don’t be one of them. Don’t be a robot.

I’m sure you’re asking yourself what you could possible do to be efficient and keep up with everything a marketer has to take care of. The answer is to take an audit of what makes you human, and then practice those qualities until you’re indispensable.

What makes you human?

While there are many things that are unique to you, skills you excel at, there are a few things everyone can do to keep ahead of the curve.

Dump the templates

Working with computers, you’ll know that templates are everywhere; word documents, websites, and even social media platforms. Your goal shouldn’t be to make everything similar, but to make everything complementary. That means it’s okay to use standardization, but your campaigns shouldn’t be cookie cutter. You need to speak to each client differently, even if you’re saying similar things. Let them feel your passion.


Spontaneity

It doesn’t take much, but when a client asks for more information, be ready to colour outside the lines. Ask the best way to communicate with them; then use your smartphone and text them pictures and videos. Go beyond the marketing that comes out of the prefabricated box and build a rapport with your audience.

Don’t hit the reset button

Robots can’t understand from a client’s language how much they already know. You, however, can determine where someone is on their purchase journey. Don’t waste your time pre-qualifying them if you don’t need to.

Creativity

Being creative is necessary for good business development. Creativity comes from solving problems in unique ways. Moreover, it’s understanding the perspective of your audience so you can connect on a deeper level.

Be human

You can’t afford rigid responses to emails, phone calls, or chat sessions. Smooth answers, pauses, and even taking the time to breathe is a natural element to conversations. Your audience wants to see them, knowing they are speaking to a real person.

Red-eyed Monsters

We don’t really have to worry about an invading army of laser-wielding robots. When it comes to your marketing however, even the mere possibility that you use templates to interact with clients— or worse, use real robots for communications— your audience knows and won’t appreciate it. Robots don’t build rapport— humans do. Remember to humanize your responses, and don’t be afraid to show them who you are.

 

Thanks for reading! Stay tuned for more content.

Cheers,
Jason Harris

 

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3 Ways To Make your Sales Team Better

3 Ways To Make your Sales Team Better

Are you playing with your A-Team?

We all love it when things go well. It feels like everything is firing on all cylinders. Top management is all on board; the general manager, sales, even the dealer principles. Everyone starts to get that feeling that great things are coming. Opportunities seem to come out of nowhere.

But then small things start to chip away at the paint. Talking to the sales manager, you hear, “Oh, the sales guys won’t do that.”

Won’t do that?
Is that even an option?

It happens. Especially when it comes to staff that have been around for awhile. They’re set in their ways and know what works them. And it might. It may often be the superstar salesperson who gives the biggest pushback. They know what works because it’s put them on top for years.

But, how can you deal with that?

 

Negativity is a door closer

 

Their negativity can be debilitating, stopping the forward process of some of the best teams. That negativity can also be infections, spreading from one salesperson to the next, creating an army of naysayers who refuse to change, refuse to embrace the vision the management team has established.

As a sales manager, it’s your job to quell that uprising. Your performance isn’t gauged on how well individuals do, but how well your team does. You need an A-team, and not the one with Mr. T, decked out with all his golden necklaces and crazy hair. You need a cohesive team with a positive outlook working towards the same goal.

Here are a few things to get you there.

 

Step 1

Developing your team can be accomplished in many ways. What matters is that you keep your vision and goals in mind with every decision.

  1. Reward positivity – Rewarding positive actions that embrace your vision will work far better than punishing actions that may have been the norm, but aren’t contributing.
  2. Training – You can’t expect your people to take the right steps if you don’t first show them what those actions are.
  3. Promote team players – Putting team players in important positions can accomplish a few things. Not only does it put the right people in positions to maximize their skills, but it can set an example for others to emulate

 

2. Release the negativity

Sometimes you may need to release that negativity by letting someone go.  What a person brings to the team doesn’t have enough value if all they do is bring everyone else down. They may be great individually, but not for the team.

It’s at that point, you may have to do the unthinkable and release them altogether.

3. Hire For Your team

Sometimes when you’re missing something on your team you have to look for it outside of your organization.

This new blood can create an infectious positive attitude and add new skills to flesh out your team. It may also bring to light some of the negativity that needs to be excised.

Your team isn’t stronger just because it has an all-star or two. That’s why your baseball teams are constantly tweaking their rosters, trading away some of the best players for seemingly unknown elements. In fact, you’ll often see players in a position that isn’t their strongest because it’s best for the team. Team players will accept that knowing the end goal is what matters.

Your A-team is important. It will dictate the success or failure of the dealership. You want team players that work well in your unit, but also with the whole dealership. You can’t have  issues dragging your team down. Everything has to work together as cohesively as the vehicles you sell. Remember that as we come into auto show season and the sales that will develop into the spring and summer.

 

Thanks for reading! Stay tuned for more content.

Cheers,
Jason Harris

 

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Ad Formats Aren’t Strategy

Ad Formats Aren’t Strategy

Ad Formats Aren’t Strategy

It’s disappointing to discuss marketing with people who don’t know the difference between ad formats and strategy, but should. Not everyone understands the finer nuances of marketing; however, those who hold the position responsible for marketing in a dealership— be it internal or external— need to understand the process behind creating the marketing strategy. If they don’t, then you need to take a serious look at what they’re spending your money on. Whether it’s your dealership, the agency you’ve contracted to do your marketing, or the OEM feeding you marketing content, they should understand the fundamentals behind the process

With that in mind, it’s time for an audit. Perhaps not an overhaul, but rather a test to determine whether or right you’re marketing is going in the right direction.

In fact, your marketing should always go through a periodic review to ensure that your dollars are being used efficiently, and your message is effective.

Step 1

Can all of the members of the marketing team reliably describe your goals and objectives? It should be simple and if they can’t, then perhaps you could lead them here. Understanding your goals is the first step in any plan. Without them, all of your creative is nothing more than art.

 

Step 2

Is there a feedback mechanism to ensure your message is resonating? You need metrics to tell you how long someone remains on your site, or if there are certain concepts and messages that affect your client’s purchasing cycle. You can’t determine whether you’re reaching your goals or not if you don’t measure your process. Besides, throwing ads up on the screen has no real method of measurement.

Step 3

Can you further segment your audience?

You may not realize when you start out that there are subsets of your audience. After a while however, your message will resonate further within certain smaller groups of your audience. If you’re using Facebook, you have the opportunity to split them apart and apply new language to certain groups. But if you just have a bunch of ads— whether they are a dynamic inventory slideshow or a canvas ads, without understanding what you’re hoping to achieve— you won’t know if it matters to split those groups.

Does the Message Still apply?

Once you’ve completed your audit and you know whether your marketing is still on point or whether it needs to be adjusted, you should take a serious look at how it started to drift.

1. Were your goals not clear enough?
2. Did you leave it to someone else to set your goals?
3. Should you change your goals or reset your message?
 

The last thing you should do when looking at your audit is to determine what you’re paying for. Do you have an agency selling you on the prospect of a strategy and delivering only ad formats? Ad formats are not strategy. When creating an ad campaign, you have establish your goals and objectives and target your audience before you begin to develop your creative. Don’t get trapped into throwing up creative with no reason or audience.

 

Thanks for reading! Stay tuned for more content.

Cheers,
Jason Harris

 

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4 Things Car Dealerships Can Learn From Amazon

4 Things Car Dealerships Can Learn From Amazon

4 Things Car Dealerships Can Learn From Amazon

E Commerce for Your Dealership

It’s a good thing you can’t buy new cars on Amazon.

The online merchandising giant does an amazing job with the purchase journey. Not only does their marketing support the sales, but the online shopping experience is easy. When you view an item, you first get images often from different angles, inside and out. Once you narrow down your choices, you find comments and reviews— social proof that the item works as advertised. Then in your final stages, comparing accessories and pricing is almost too simple.

If Amazon sold cars, dealerships wouldn’t exist other than to offer test drives. 

In a cart-before-horse race, spending too much capital on an e-commerce solution before your dealership is ready is like buying a cash register before you have retail space. Worrying about how people are going to pay you before you have something for sale will be costly.

So, what can we learn from the Amazon?

Start small

Amazon didn’t always have everything from A to Z. They started in 1994 by selling books from a garage. Your dealership has cars. Start there, and don’t get caught up trying to have a massive virtual warehouse with nothing in it.

Invest in a Shopping solution, not just a shopping cart

Amazon’s founder, Jeff Bezos, wanted his creation to be more than just an online retailer. That’s why he added a review system early on so he could build his online community. If you don’t have enough content on your website to shop, then why do you think someone would go through the process of buying anything at all?

Take the time to build a solid website first with backend software that can be easily modified later.

 

Merchandise everything

There is a science behind merchandising, and everything Amazon does keeps this in mind. Look at their logo, and you can see the effort that they put into even the small things. There is a smile that goes from the A to Z to imply that they’re willing to deliver anything to anywhere.

Everything— from product placement and colour to the amount of information that’s available for product support— is important to the sale. You do this for your physical retail space already; now you need to emulate that online. This includes comments, reviews, and most importantly, the clear cost of the vehicle.

Support without sales

We’ve said it before; the sales journey is changing. Car buyers don’t want pushy salespeople jumping on them. You need knowledgeable sales advisors available to support the client with anything they need. It takes 15 seconds to find the customer support section on Amazon, and then you’re presented with several options to solve your issues. This process is fast, friendly, and efficient. Your website should offer that same service— whether it’s via email, telephone, or chat interface.

E Commerce can be an amazing sales generator, but it is not always the best answer.

Don’t get caught up in the e-commerce revolution— build the sales portal before you have something for sale. Protect your dealership from the shady operators who arrive with flashy sales pitches offering the newest tools or solutions. Much like your marketing plan, which we have discussed before, spend your time in the earlier stages to understand the problem first.

 

Grab people you know; your family, your friends, even your mother, and send them to your website to shop. After they spend time on the website, test them for what they learned. Do they know the difference between a standard and limited model? Can they qualify themselves? Do they want a moonroof or winter tires?

Create a website that supports the purchase journey, and don’t waste money on the backend if you have no front shop. When you have the support in place, you can develop a solution that’s best for you and your clients so they can complete that journey on their terms.

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Thanks for reading! Stay tuned for more content.

Cheers,
Jason Harris

 

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