There isn’t a shortage of competition in dealerships. I have always wondered what it would be like if everyone at the dealership loved each other and shared in the work load. What if sales people wanted to share walk-in traffic instead of fighting each other, sometimes physically with sharp objects. Being in the car and RV industry, I have seen the gamut of human bad behavior when it comes to who gets the lead. Would a dealership sell cars in the absence of competition?
It’s a basic human instinct to be competitive, even if the only item you win is your name on the board at the end of the sale. We reward competitive behavior and revere those who excel in the arena of selling vehicles.
I ask myself why the most competitive sales people are often the ones who sell the most cars or RVs. Furthermore, why do customers respond to and buy vehicles from sales people that they despise their behavior?
To answer these questions, I reflect on a recent RV buying experience I had and ponder why I chose to buy from this dealership.
A few months ago, I decided to buy a toy hauler. I scoured the internet, nationwide, to find the perfect deal on the unit I wanted, which turned out to be a 2018 Coachman Catalina (I highly recommend this toy hauler, by the way). I ended up finding one on the West coast within 600 miles of my home. We made the arrangements and showed up on a Saturday to finance it and do the walk-through. There was a very kind salesman by the name of Alan that answered my calls even on his days off. When we showed up at the dealership, I was a little alarmed by the state of the dealership. Had I visited there first, I probably would have chosen another dealership.
The first thing that hit me when we arrived is that no one greeted us, and the lot was dirty. Maybe I am a little hyper sensitive to this kind of thing being in the industry and all, but it doesn’t stop there. We walked in the front door and sales desks lined the path inside. You literally could not get in the front door without sales people staring at you. I apologize if I have offended any of you old car dogs, but stop it if your showroom is set up like this, just stop it! Customers don’t want to be ‘confronted’ when they walk in the door. They want a safe place to give you their hard-earned money in exchange for a vehicle they love.
Second, the floor was completely covered with bits of trash, like everywhere. The walls were dirty, and the furniture, we won’t talk about that. I was already nervous about this whole transaction, and I didn’t bring my bear spray!
We had to hunt down someone to help us, and I’m fairly sure he was not well. He was very confused why we were there (to buy an RV dammit). Fast forward to an hour later, we gave them our money, and as it turns out, the lot manager wasn’t there, so we had to return in the morning to do the walk-through. Ugh! Really? I just gave you a whole crap ton of my money.
It was getting late. At this point, we needed to find a hotel fast. I called several in the area and chose a major hotel chain that we have stayed at a lot in the past. It would have been fine, except being out of towner’s, we didn’t realize we had planted ourselves overnight in an episode of Cops LIVE, if you get my drift. From the people roaming the parking lot at midnight, helicopters flying over the building, siren’s blaring every 10 minutes, we didn’t get a lick of sleep on that concrete thing in the room disguised as a bed.
Here’s where everything turned around. In the morning, we high tailed it back to the dealership to make sure they didn’t run off with our money, and we were greeted by the lot manager, Neal. He was friendly, informative and he taught me an old car dog trick that I did not know. When he greeted us, he held out the keys between the two of us, and my spouse quickly grabbed them. Neal chuckled a little and smiled at me. He then said, “the one who grabs the keys is the decision maker in the household”. What? Mind blown. I’ve been doing it wrong this whole time thinking I should use reverse psychology to figure out who makes the decisions in the family, and Neal just did it in 1 second flat!
He took us around the whole RV and by the end of the walk-through, I wanted to take Neal home with us as a souvenir. He sang us a song he had written, and we felt like he was family. He is the whole reason why this dealership is so successful.
Circling back to my original point, competition is not always the best way to sell cars and RVs. In our changing world of the instantly educated internet consumer, we have to give them relationship. If we take that out of the equation, the sale just becomes a one trick pony. They won’t give you repeat and referral business. But, if you build a relationship with people, they will return, and they will tell their friends. And, you have to do this from the very beginning. Not at the end, when the lot manager does the test drive or walk-through.
I believe our sales tool, Virtual Deal, bridges this gap. Our unique process builds the relationship with the consumer and captures internet showroom traffic like no other tool can. If you would like to find out more, you can contact us at email@example.com or call (855) 568-4140.
Article By: Mari Campuzano