That’s a corking idea…

Time 13 years ago

EVERY month Autotrade-mail’s Kevin Watson recalls those good ideas, hints and tips that can really help you. If you’ve got a good idea that other dealers should know about, get in touch with Kevin using the details below or call him on 0870 2000 848 – he’s offering £100 for the best idea every month! 


Lifestyle questionnaire

A good idea that paid dividends at my old dealership was the lifestyle questionnaire. We would ask our prospective customers to complete this while we would be carrying out the appraisal on their part-exchange.



Prior to the introduction of this form it seemed that when we went out to the customer’s car, they would simply wait in the showroom with a sense of trepidation, almost fear, of what my sales manager and I would find wrong or offer for their vehicle. However, when we left them with this tick box form with a champagne competition, they seemed much more at ease having something to preoccupy their minds. 


As soon as we returned, I would simply whip away the lifestyle form that they had completed thanking them for their trouble and re-confirming that it would be entered in our end-of-month draw. At this point I would glance at the box near the end that asked about their funding choice for their next vehicle, further helping me with my qualification. 


The majority of the tick boxes were very light hearted and were far from conveying that we were only interested in their money. We had a favourite hobby section so, even if we did not sell the prospect a car, we could invite them and their partners to future dealership events that we knew would be of interest.


One time we decided to hold a culinary evening at our showroom, so we went back through our lifestyle questionnaires accumulated over the previous 18 months and if there was a relevant tick from a prospect or their partner then they received an invite. We had a fantastic turn out and replicated this process with various open weekends/events with garden centres, wine tasting and golf clubs without once suffering a low turnout. 


As an added bonus, the answers to the question ‘what prompted your visit to our showroom?’ were extraordinarily precise. ‘I saw your rear window sticker in a car at Tesco’s car park,’ was not untypical of the answers we received!


Booked up

I have been talking to a car sales manager recently who recounted a story of the time he was out shopping for a high quality music system that he had decided to treat himself and family to.


He had visited a number of shops and following a good demonstration with his questions satisfactorily answered he made the decision to purchase in the knowledge that delivery would be within a week to 10 days. Assuming that he would now have to wait for a week staring at his receipt in eager anticipation, he was delighted when the salesman said: ‘We have a copy of the instruction book for the model you have just ordered. Would you like to take it away with you?’


Naturally he jumped at the chance and admitted that this was the first time he had ever really read through an instruction book cover to cover – his normal approach being to unpack the goods, try and set it up and then refer to the instructions out of frustration when it didn’t work!

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When his Hi-Fi was delivered the following week and, having had the benefit of reading the instructions in advance, the whole process of installation went like a dream with the added bonus that he understood additional features that he would never normally have found out.


From that point forth, wherever possible, he ensured that his customers were provided with a loan copy of the owner’s book at the point they ordered the car. They really did appreciate this gesture and while his team would invariably receive the odd phone call from the customer with a question between order and delivery on something they had just read, the value they got out of it was definitely of value to them.


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