Whether you work in management, sales, service, collision repair or any other department within an auto dealership, we can all agree that we’re living in exciting times. As a car dealer, you are the face of the automotive brand you sell and service. When consumers think of a car company or the name of a car maker, they mostly think of the car dealership that represents that brand. In other words, in the minds of many consumers, the automotive dealership is the brand. And if that’s the case, the onus is on the dealer and their team to stay on top of trends, news and technologies so that the customer never catches your staff off guard.
Car seller – stay informed!
There’s nothing more embarrassing than speaking with a customer who knows more about a brand or a specific model than the salesperson or the service advisor who represents that brand. For example, if a Tesla salesperson couldn’t explain how their Autopilot system works, or if a Toyota customer knew more about the brand’s hybrid offerings than the dealer, that would certainly make for an awkward moment. The knowledge gap might even extend to announcements some brands have made in the past. For example, in 2020, GM and Honda agreed to jointly develop two all-new electric vehicles for Honda. Also, Subaru and Toyota worked together to develop the Subaru BRZ and Toyota GR 86. It would be embarrassing if the customer knew these facts, but the people working for the vehicle dealer didn’t.
Know your competition
A sale can often be made or lost in the blink of an eye when a salesperson doesn’t know the competition. Here again, education is key. For instance, if you’re with a Ford dealership and just about to close a client on an Escape, but then at the last minute the customer asks you about how your Escape compares with a Hyundai Tucson or a Mazda CX-5. If you don’t know, or if you can’t find the answer quickly, that might just leave you with an, “I’m going to have to think about it,” situation. The same applies to the luxury vehicle end of the market. If a customer can afford an Audi or a Mercedes-Benz, they might ask questions about a model that Lexus, Cadillac or even Maserati sells. The same can be said about close rivals like Porsche and Lamborghini or Ferrari. Is your staff ready to defend your brand?
A moving target
Once of the challenges your sales team may face is the fact that our industry is a moving target, which means that as brands evolve, sales people need to keep up. For example, brands like Kia used to offer more basic transportation. In recent years, however, they’ve started coming out with models that rival more upscale brands. Genesis is another good example. Today, the company offers vehicles that can compete head-to-head with luxury brands. Then there are all the new brands to worry about, like Polestar or Stellantis (more of a re-branding, but you get the point). Keeping up with all these changes isn’t easy, but it’s a must in our competitive world.