Have you ever been on a highway or bridge that has been under construction and the traffic is just not moving? It seems like you will never get to your destination. Oh if there was an easier way, but there is no exit or alternative route in sight. We have most certainly all been here and if your like me, you always get stuck around the few people who are not moving with the flow of traffic. If you change lanes, the lane you just came from magically starts flowing fine and yet you are stuck again.
In the days, weeks, months, and years to come the goal of this blog will be to give perspective to the consumer as well as the consultant. A take from two sides… a blending of ideas and personalities. I hope as you read along and become a part of the experience and a change in the culture you will find that this process of being the consumer or being the consultant can for both sides be productive, efficient, and fun. The reality is these concepts apply to more then just purchasing a new vehicle and I hope that whoever you are and whatever place or position you’re in you will find benefit in the principles and concepts talked about here.
To all parties involved remember this… our goals are aligned. Dealerships want to sell cars and the consumer wants to buy a car. Simple enough right… it can be and should be. In every story there are two sides.
To the Consumer:
Now that you have revisited the feeling of being stuck in traffic, it is not uncommon for the car buying process to feel the same. The stigma’s around car buying and the reputation of car salesmen in general has made you leery to even begin this “daunting” process of finding a vehicle. When you finally feel you have done enough research and planned your emergency code word or story for getting out of the dealership if things go south you head to the dealer. This time feels different… a brand new building, everyone is dressed decently, the inventory selection is expansive and… wait for it… you get the one guy or gal who is new, or seems to know everything about nothing… who has what seems like no authority and can’t answer a single question without a copy of your driver’s license, social security number, blood sample and a promise of buying a car today. Its happened again… the highway is under construction, its the middle of summer and your A/C just broke. there are no exits in sight. You look to your spouse and can’t seem to remember what the code word was…
This is where our journey from the consumers stand point begins. I want to challenge you to forget about the product and focus on the person. I want you to go out and buy a sales-consultant. I really don’t like the term salesman, i prefer consultant because the reality is that’s what they are there for, to consult on the vehicles and circumstances you will be using the new vehicle for and also to build value in themselves. When you leave the dealership with your new vehicle or new to you vehicle my hope is that you would want to be friends with your sales-consultant… that you would want to send him or her a Christmas card and that he or she would be the first person you think of when someone is in the market for a vehicle or you’re just stopping by the dealership for an oil change. I understand that the product is a vital part of the purchase and the stars may not align at every dealership for that certain car that you have been dreaming of for months however there is typically more than one of what your looking for around the city and many times when you finally drive the vehicle of your dreams you realize that something may be missing and maybe there is something you would like more. Lets assume you’ve found the right vehicle… it has everything you want… you want the best price of course or at least that’s what you have been taught to say for generations. Price is definitely an important piece but it is not THE piece. A good deal and sometimes the best deal is perceived value. In the 6 months following your purchase you will be on to a new phase of life and a new season of you’re yearly budget. The price will be but a fleeting memory and a purchase agreement stuffed in your glove box never to be touched again until you trade the vehicle. What remains is the person on the other side of this transaction… lets size them up. How were they through the transaction? Ask yourself if they did the job to deserve you paying a profit. If they didn’t then they aren’t the ones you should have bought from. I want the person who went the extra mile, who actually listened to what I wanted… the person who didn’t beat around the bush but was straight forward with me. This is who I am looking for. Why you ask… because this is the person who is passionate about what they are doing for a living. This is a person who is looking to make a career and not a quick buck. This is a person who is going to be there for me for the lifetime of ownership. I want the person who will get in the trenches with me through the good times and the times when my car is in pieces and won’t run right. I want the person who wants to be my main point of contact for all things related to this vehicle and the next. Oh come on this is just a vehicle purchase… do I really need to be on this level with my sales consultant… ABSOLUTELY. Please remember that a vehicle purchase is typically the second largest purchase you will ever make. You’re family will need vehicles… your friends will need vehicles… the list goes on… Set out today and go in search of your Auto-family and Sales Consultant. Why wouldn’t you want the “daunting” process of buying a vehicle to be fun and easy for those you know. What if you could just pick up the phone with complete confidence that the other person on the other end of the phone who was now like family was going to go to work for you to find exactly what you wanted within the guidelines you had set and make this a worry free, quick and easy transaction. Did you pay a $1 profit or a $3000 profit? It doesn’t matter because they found THE vehicle that met all of your criteria, that was reliable, and that checked the boxes you placed because they didn’t just hear you, they listened to you. Let me give you a statistic also. Every $500 is roughly $8 per month on a monthly payment. I give you this statistic to say that we all for the most part spend $8 per month or $500 in 5 years on something that doesn’t get caught in the budget. Why not set that aside for the person who earns the right to it. What would happen if you went to buy a new vehicle and the sales consultant was so good that when it came time to go over numbers you agreed to a price and then stopped them and said you would pay $500 more because of how fantastic of a job they did? Talk about paying it forward. I want to be the person who does this for someone when they earn it. Next time you are beginning the process of adding to the family fleet or upgrading your vehicles consider buying a sales consultant and not just a vehicle. My hope is that like me you will find someone who will be there for the long run… someone who feels worth doing business with and not just a means to an end. If we all pursued this process of buying would the culture begin to change and would the ones that have set the stigma’s and reputations be forced out. Yes, they would I have seen it with my own eyes.
To the consultant:
Is your stomach churning? Are you questioning your commitment to your craft after reading what a consumer should be expecting of you? You’ve bounced from dealership to dealership, or maybe you have always been at one dealership but feel trapped. You’re more concerned about whats trending and whats for lunch. You’re just waiting for that one person whose head you can rip off so you can be done for the day and get back to whats important on your phone. If you are internally getting defensive and thinking that I am some consumer writing a hate message then maybe it’s time to look in the mirror and realize you have more potential then you think. You just have to want it and just have to tap into it. Maybe you are the guy or gal a notch above the rest and have been making a very good living in the auto industry… but let’s be honest, we all have room for growth and can all get better. If you want the stigma’s and reputations removed from the car business it starts with you on the front lines. From the first hello you have to be engaged and ready to make a difference in someone… Yes a difference in someone not just a list of questions and “are you going to buy a car today” If you don’t see value in yourself how do you expect someone else to see the value in you. As a consultant I know that when the day is done I will have been prepared and ready and been exceptional with my customers… whether they purchase a vehicle today or never I am going to be the best they ever encountered and if we do have the vehicle of choice I want to be worth paying a profit to. If you can approach your day from this mentality then some of the other things will automatically fall into place. What’s not automatic is the different situations and scenerios you will encounter on a daily basis. If you want to enter these situations and scenerios with tact then doing the little things in advance will put you in the best position to help the consumer and ultimately make a profit. Profit is not a dirty word but I promise you profit is earned and you better mean it when you say you are going to be there for the consumer for the lifetime of ownership. So what are the little things to do in advance? I’m glad you asked. It all starts with you and all starts at the first buzz of the alarm clock, actually it starts before that. What time are you going to bed at night… Wow this is basic right… Flashing back to your parents telling you that good kids get 12 hours of sleep right? I’m not saying that you need to go to bed when the street lights come on every night but I am asking you to make your craft a lifestyle because ultimately investing in yourself and investing in others is more than just a job. Do you want to be the person that looks like you’re reacting to the day or the person that is ready for the day and getting the absolute most out of it. Remember you do this everyday for a living and you are the “expert” in your field. If we want to blend the world of consumer and consultant you are going to have to perform at the highest level possible… In all situations and all circumstances. Start with a good nights sleep. The second and last point for now is follow through with what you say… If you don’t know then say that you don’t know… Don’t fake it, and remember what it’s like to not know. You should be pressed daily to want to know how to approach a situation, and how to best help the customer. Prepare daily and do it early so you are fresh for the entirety of your day. We will get into specific practices later but start with the things listed above.
To both parties:
We all need the other side to move forward. Let’s all set a standard of what we are going to expect from the consultant how we are going to engage the customer and how we are going to remember we are in this together. I look forward to being apart of all of your growth in business, in life, and in the daily encounters we have with people.