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Dan Read

Sales techniques

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As some of you know, I’ve been putting together a guide to becoming a car dealer – published every month in Car Dealer Magazine – aimed at people who are new to the game and need a leg up.

 That’s why I’ve been contacting many of you, asking for your expert advice, which has formed the backbone of each article. So thanks to everyone who’s contributed so far. 

In the next article I’m covering sales techniques and I’m after your help again. So if you have any words of wisdom related to the points below, I’d love to hear from you...

 

 

 

 

 

Opening hours

  • Weekdays 9-5? Same on weekends?

  • Is it better to open 11am-7pm than 9-5?

  • Or are physical opening hours less important with email/mobile/live chat options which basically mean you’re open 24/7?

 

Sales techniques

  • Is there still a place for charm and persuasion?

  • Or do people simply want facts, information and straight talking?

  • What are your top sales tips – it could be anything from converting a browser into a buyer, or upselling additional products.

 

Appearance and branding

  • Do you invest in design/branding? Something that works across your website and physical forecourt?

  • Kerb appeal. How do you make your forecourt attractive? Big signage, lots of stickers, or something subtler? Do you use special stationery suppliers such as motaprint?

  • Or do you rely more on your website and advertising to pull people in? How do you get online customers into your showroom?

  • Balloons and bunting. Opening the boots of cars. Do these old tricks still work?

  • Personal appearance. Throw out the sheepskin jacket?!

 

 

 

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2 hours ago, Dan Read said:

As some of you know, I’ve been putting together a guide to becoming a car dealer – published every month in Car Dealer Magazine – aimed at people who are new to the game and need a leg up.

 

 That’s why I’ve been contacting many of you, asking for your expert advice, which has formed the backbone of each article. So thanks to everyone who’s contributed so far. 

 

In the next article I’m covering sales techniques and I’m after your help again. So if you have any words of wisdom related to the points below, I’d love to hear from you...

 

 

 

 

 

Opening hours

 

  • Weekdays 9-5? Same on weekends?

     

  • Is it better to open 11am-7pm than 9-5?

     

  • Or are physical opening hours less important with email/mobile/live chat options which basically mean you’re open 24/7?

     

 

 

Sales techniques

 

  • Is there still a place for charm and persuasion?

     

  • Or do people simply want facts, information and straight talking?

     

  • What are your top sales tips – it could be anything from converting a browser into a buyer, or upselling additional products.

     

 

 

Appearance and branding

 

  • Do you invest in design/branding? Something that works across your website and physical forecourt?

     

  • Kerb appeal. How do you make your forecourt attractive? Big signage, lots of stickers, or something subtler? Do you use special stationery suppliers such as motaprint?

     

  • Or do you rely more on your website and advertising to pull people in? How do you get online customers into your showroom?

     

  • Balloons and bunting. Opening the boots of cars. Do these old tricks still work?

     

  • Personal appearance. Throw out the sheepskin jacket?!

 

 

 

 

 

Dan.....All that stuff is straight forward.....it’s stock buying techniques newbies want to know about.

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Title should be ‘Are You SURE You Want To Be A Car Dealer?’!

In all seriousness, would it not be better to do a ‘So You Want To Be A Car Salesman?’

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5 hours ago, NOACROSS said:

Title should be ‘Are You SURE You Want To Be A Car Dealer?’!

In all seriousness, would it not be better to do a ‘So You Want To Be A Car Salesman?’

This job is far from being a sales man, more so a valeter, painter, mechanic, councillor (depends on the punter), child minder, dog minder.

Being a sales man is the last quality these days.. you can be a sh!t sales man and still sell cars.

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I think there is nothing worse than a used car salesman/woman. I'll be more specify, the smarmy ones who are your best mate in 30 seconds, fake Rolex, Polyester suit, pointed plastic shoes You get the picture

Shoot me now

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In this “internet age” any monkey can sell a car, that’s the easy bit, the car is usually sold before the buyer actually sees a salesman, the hard work has already been done, buying right stock with right spec pedigree etc, prepping it right and advertising in the right places without giving all your margin away is the hard bit. Then after it’s sold wiping ass n not murdering punters is the next phase

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1 hour ago, whitestone679231 said:

In this “internet age” any monkey can sell a car, that’s the easy bit, the car is usually sold before the buyer actually sees a salesman, the hard work has already been done, buying right stock with right spec pedigree etc, prepping it right and advertising in the right places without giving all your margin away is the hard bit. Then after it’s sold wiping ass n not murdering punters is the next phase

Spot on - Being friendly and polite upon collection is the way to be.

Most of them are not here to be sold to and are actually just here to pick up the car they have already chosen.

 

Still love selling properly though. Had to do a proper full on hard sell all the stops pulled out on someone who gave me 2 no's the other day and wanted to leave, loved it when he ended up buying you cant beat that feeling of turning customers around. 

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1 hour ago, whitestone679231 said:

In this “internet age” any monkey can sell a car, that’s the easy bit, the car is usually sold before the buyer actually sees a salesman, the hard work has already been done, buying right stock with right spec pedigree etc, prepping it right and advertising in the right places without giving all your margin away is the hard bit. Then after it’s sold wiping ass n not murdering punters is the next phase

Couldn't agree more, selling is easy if the car is right - challenge is buying stock at the right price and managing the costs of prep (which should be to a high standard) whilst retaining a decent margin.

Having said that, seperating yourself from plastic traders whom act like trade when buying (i.e. they want trade pricing) and sell as private (i.e. no comebacks or warranty) - zero prep, zero servicing, maybe a wash if they can be bothered and happy to draw £200 over gate price.  With the internet naturally creating an overly price sensitive buyer, this is my biggest single challenge.  Get the customers through my door and I can sell but getting them here when cars are advertised so much cheaper is a massive hurdle.

I just wish every customer would look beyond the unserviced, unwarranted, short MOT full of advisories, poor paint or unrepaired cheap crap and come and see a properly prepared, long/full MOT'd, freshly serviced, valeted, warranted and HPI clear type of cars we all sell - that doesn't come cheap but cost of ownership is beyond some peoples mentality.

I feel better now :D

Edited by Mark101

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I don't think I have ever actually 'sold' a car. Glorified order taker with no shame here. Like everyone says, good stock sells itself. So long as you're not too rude, polite to polite people and don't lie you can't go far wrong.

The real skill in selling a car is knowing when NOT to sell it to someone, profit retention and keeping control of power crazed tools looking to impress their wife/girlfriend. That's the stuff that is part instinctual and part experience IMO. 

 

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1 hour ago, Mark101 said:

Couldn't agree more, selling is easy if the car is right - challenge is buying stock at the right price and managing the costs of prep (which should be to a high standard) whilst retaining a decent margin.

Having said that, seperating yourself from plastic traders whom act like trade when buying (i.e. they want trade pricing) and sell as private (i.e. no comebacks or warranty) - zero prep, zero servicing, maybe a wash if they can be bothered and happy to draw £200 over gate price.  With the internet naturally creating an overly price sensitive buyer, this is my biggest single challenge.  Get the customers through my door and I can sell but getting them here when cars are advertised so much cheaper is a massive hurdle.

I just wish every customer would look beyond the unserviced, unwarranted, short MOT full of advisories, poor paint or unrepaired cheap crap and come and see a properly prepared, long/full MOT'd, freshly serviced, valeted, warranted and HPI clear type of cars we all sell - that doesn't come cheap but cost of ownership is beyond some peoples mentality.

I feel better now :D

I felt a lot like this when I first started but I have come to realise that its not worth chasing your price down to match the plastic traders. Proper punters pay proper money. So ask proper money for your proper cars, and accept you may not be busy seeing customers, but you wont be a busy fool either. I was more profitable selling 160 cars last year than I was 3 years ago when I sold 255. Thats the bit you really learn as time goes by.

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1 hour ago, grant8064 said:

I don't think I have ever actually 'sold' a car. Glorified order taker with no shame here. Like everyone says, good stock sells itself. So long as you're not too rude, polite to polite people and don't lie you can't go far wrong.

The real skill in selling a car is knowing when NOT to sell it to someone, profit retention and keeping control of power crazed tools looking to impress their wife/girlfriend. That's the stuff that is part instinctual and part experience IMO. 

 

I’d more or less agree with this except for some people need being rude to (I call it straight talk) to correct their attitude or expectations.

95% of the time a punter turns up to see a particular car & nothing else so they’re half-sold before viewing.

Its straight, frank, honest talk for me all of the way. Anyone talking-up their cars or making false promises is asking for comebacks.

Clean/valet/touch-up/paint correctly within the expectations of the price/mileage band.

Irrespective of profit, or loss, a retail car should be mechanically fit & SAFE. This is what the boards of ‘wipe the car with £150 profit’ boys at the auctions must be failing to achieve.

As for opening hours I run on appointments so my phone is answered when it suits me. Phone calls at 9pm are ignored (very few phone the next day) & my phone is definitely off on a Sunday. Those who want to run their business 24 hours supplying the pissed & bored with free entertained are welcome to do so.

Finally, learn that a deal is not a deal until your palm has been crossed with silver - all of the big talk, promises, emails & even a handshake count for sweet f.a. until you have their money in your pocket.

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If your feature was called "Why you shouldn't be a dealer" you'd fill the magazine up. 

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On 4/9/2018 at 11:33 AM, Dan Read said:

Opening hours

 

  • Weekdays 9-5? (LOL haven't seen 9-5 since I was 15 and at school! Same on weekends?  
    Two days a week (Tue and Thur) 09:00 - 20:00
    Rest Of weekdays 08:00 - 18:00
    Saturdays 08:30 - 17:00
    Sundays 10:00 - 16:00
  • Is it better to open 11am-7pm than 9-5?  

     

  • Or are physical opening hours less important with email/mobile/live chat options which basically mean you’re open 24/7?
    That's just being a busy fool!  If you can't break aware to have a family or social life then running a business isn't for you.  It's stressful and takes up MOST of your time but if you can't break away from it you'll likely turn into an open grave than a successful business owner.

 

 

Sales techniques

 

  • Is there still a place for charm and persuasion?

    Nonsence - A car will sell itself.  You must get the correct stock and prepare it correctly.

  • Or do people simply want facts, information and straight talking?

    Never got this?  Why bullshit?  Just be honest and sell the car.  They have travelled to come and see it not hear you waffle crap.

  • What are your top sales tips – it could be anything from converting a browser into a buyer, or upselling additional products.

    Sales Tips?  If you can't sell something this is definately not the industry to try to hone or learn these skills.

Appearance and branding

 

  • Do you invest in design/branding? Something that works across your website and physical forecourt?
    Heavily.  Brand awareness is key to a long and sustainable business.  We invested for years in brand awareness and as such do not have the reliance of AutoTrader.  Last year our return business was 41.7%.  It pays off over time.  We still spend heavily of Brand Awareness.

     

  • Kerb appeal. How do you make your forecourt attractive? Big signage, lots of stickers, or something subtler? Do you use special stationery suppliers such as motaprint?
    Spend money.  Keep your office tidy and modern and less clutter about.
    Keep the forecourt clean and tidy.  We have a concrete forecourt, changed 3 years from a stone/gravel due to local cats shitting everywhere.
    Stationary suppliers no, but we do use Vista Print for the best quality business cars, provide vehicle information packs, our own warranty packs and company information packs.  Each vehicle has a nett spend on stationary of about £65-70.

     

  • Or do you rely more on your website and advertising to pull people in? How do you get online customers into your showroom?
    Websites play a huge role.  If your not going to get one or don't have one you're losing customers from the get go.

     

  • Balloons and bunting. Opening the boots of cars. Do these old tricks still work?
    Haha no.  Don't be stupid, it's a modern car dealership not a 1970 american car sales.
     
  • Personal appearance. Throw out the sheepskin jacket?!
    Dependent on what you're selling and the clients you're trying to attract.
    The very minimum would be smart casual, Tidy Clean Jeans with a smart polo top and sweater.
    We use staff uniforms for Polo's, sweaters and jackets.  Sales team have blue jeans, valeters black trousers and mechanics company labelled overalls.

You're missing the key things though if someone wants to know what it takes from starting up. 

Can you work 7 days a week?
Can you do 10-12 hour days?
Can you handle financial stress well?  (IE when you don't sell anything for weeks on end or don't sell enough to cover your costs over a 3 month period?)
Do you know anything about cars and how to fix them?

Can you spot the difference between a tensioner rattle and a bottom end rattle?
Do you know how to use a valeting mop?

There is so much knowledge you need to know to start in this game let alone business managing skills.  There are many many home traders doing awful jobs calling themselves car dealers when in retrospect they don't know anything about cars and even less about the law.  Some don't even know SOG1979+, CRA, DSR, TCF, FCA Rules & Regs, and quite honestly, you're trying to promote the idea of this by helping them understand sales techniques when in reality they should learn the very basics first.  Gob-Smacking.

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13 minutes ago, grant8064 said:

^^^ £65-£70 on stationary per vehicle? :blink:

Is that a typo?

I was just about to say the same thing.

We often throw away posh folders holding MOT, Service history etc with some main dealer branding wondering how much it cost.... here is my answer i guess.

Edited by Stalker

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4 minutes ago, Stalker said:

I was just about to say the same thing.

We often throw away posh folders holding MOT, Service history etc with some main dealer branding wondering how much it cost.... here is my answer i guess.

Stationery wise - Vista Print premium cards (they're ok actually)

Invoices, Deposit forms, PDI sheets - all home made in Excel (I love Excel) but look the part

Customer gets PDI, Invoice, Deposit Form (if applicable), Warranty Booklet and Contract and a business card all neatly placed in one of those card board A4 folder/envelope things - total stationery per car = about a quid

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26 minutes ago, grant8064 said:

^^^ £65-£70 on stationary per vehicle? :blink:

Is that a typo?

Nope.  Our warranty wallets, vehicle screen prints, MOT print checks, screen flyers, every little bit adds up.

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I wish my margins allowed me the luxury of £65-70 of stationery per unit. If that’s seen as reasonable I’d hate to see some of the other overheads.

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12 minutes ago, BHM said:

I wish my margins allowed me the luxury of £65-70 of stationery per unit. If that’s seen as reasonable I’d hate to see some of the other overheads.

Makes my autotrader bill seem cheap :blink:

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2 hours ago, Tom said:

If your feature was called "Why you shouldn't be a dealer" you'd fill the magazine up. 

Spot on. This is what I was getting at.

Get a job as someone else’s salesman/woman (order taker) instead.

1 hour ago, s and b said:

sales techniques

do you want it or what?

:D

 I bet you’re just looking? No charge today. Let me know if I can help..

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2 hours ago, Earunder said:

Each vehicle has a nett spend on stationary of about £65-70.

Any yet you refuse to pay less for AutoTrader !?

I can't argue if it works for you

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49 minutes ago, Rory RSC said:

Makes my autotrader bill seem cheap :blink:

Dont start that again!!!!

(but I was thinking the same thing.)

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I think when you add your things up you'll be surprised what you come to on a vehicle.

We give promo packs with our vehicles and most of our stationary our vehicle information packs, service packs and warranty packs are all branded.  Also, we give away hampers which equates to £28.35

You're not just selling cars, you're selling you're services and products as a company in general.

16 minutes ago, twerp said:

Any yet you refuse to pay less for AutoTrader !?

I can't argue if it works for you

Less for AT?  I don't get it?  Our response or nett spend per sales from AT over the last 6 month cycle we were with them was near the £500 mark.

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