Time to make factory-orders the new cool.
In many dealerships, when a salesperson realizes that they are going to have to factory-order a customer’s request for a new vehicle, the salesperson often treats this scenario with either defeat, a lack of interest and enthusiasm, or a glib response: “You know that you’re going to have to factory-order that don’t you?”
Salespeople often feel that the chances of closing the sale are slimmer, and many are deflated at the thought of waiting three to six months for a commission cheque. Other salespeople are legitimately concerned about selling factory-orders and then having to later inform their customers that their vehicle is going to be delayed by weeks or even months.
Although factory-orders have always been an “as necessary” part of our business, they have now become a mainstream method of purchasing and selling new vehicles as a result of current inventory shortages.
In the 1950s, 60s and 70s, dealerships hosted new vehicle galas in their showrooms when the new model-year vehicles arrived. The town’s “establishment” would attend these champagne, black-tie events, and be the first (privileged) to view the all new 1965 Buick models.
That same evening or in the days following, the gala guests would factory-order their new Buicks. The “chic” factory-ordered, while the common-man bought a new vehicle from stock. Why don’t we (once again) make factory-orders “chic,” trendy, cool, dope, off-the-hook or, at the very least, an experience?
The following are some elements to consider as part of your factory-order sales process.
This step of your showroom sales process would remain unchanged, as the salesperson would not yet have identified the need to factory-order a new vehicle.
Trade-in appraisals should always be completed at the beginning of your showroom sales process (call me and I will offer numerous reasons why). However, once a salesperson identifies the need to factory-order, this becomes even more imperative.
By facilitating the trade-in appraisal early, the dealership is “buying time” with the customer, giving the salesperson needed time and opportunity to build rapport and a relationship. Furthermore, a free, no obligation certified trade-in appraisal begins to create a sense of customer obligation to the dealership.
Establishing the customer’s needs and wants becomes even more critical with a factory-order. This should be done sitting down with a customer.
Consider establishing several neutral seating areas in your dealership to allow salespeople to make this step somewhat more casual and less confining (think Starbucks).
Also consider introducing (or re-introducing) a guest welcome sheet (paper or tablet) to ensure that salespeople are thorough in their needs analysis.
Special note: The more detailed and complete a guest welcome sheet, the higher the gross profit/transaction. If you would like a number of guest welcome sheet templates, contact me.
Other salespeople are legitimately concerned about selling factory-orders and then having to later inform their customers that their vehicle is going to be delayed by weeks or even months.
Why order from us:
If you have no vehicle to show and demonstrate due to pandemic-related reasons, such as the supply shortage), identify and create a list of six to 10 reasons why a customer would choose your dealership versus your direct (same franchise) competitor (e.g. service department pick-up and drop-off, loaner vehicles, car wash, service department loyalty program, etc.).
Have this list laminated (or on a tablet) and review it with every customer.
Sales manager early introduction:
Sales managers should always introduce themselves within the first 10 minutes of a customer’s arrival at your dealership.
Today’s sales managers are smarter and more personable than ever. Having the boss meet customers is even more important with a factory-order. The dealership needs to create such a positive and overwhelming “red carpet” impression on the customer that they are willing to trust the dealership in placing an order.
We need to show extreme focus, interest, and love.
Let’s use factory-orders as another new and positive tool to adapt and succeed. In other words, build your factory-order sales process and make factory-orders the new cool.
(Part 2 of this column will be available in the next issue.)