Professional Community for Automotive Marketers, Car Dealers, OEM and Suppliers
Recently, Larry Bruce provided us with a wonderful article called "The American Car Salesman". In it he talked about the characteristics of those who make their living by proving themselves every single day. And for us in the business for some time, it touched us and gave us pride for the independent spirit of those of us who have never drawn a paycheck just for showing up. But no wistfulness here; I think this spirit still lives today.
The Internet revolution, being followed by the Digital and Social Media revolutions is changing the way we do business just as surely as the railroads, settlers, and ranchers changed the old West. Change is here. But it is not the death of the independent spirit here in America. Those qualities will just manifest in otherways and other places.
Today, I hear the debates and passionate exchanges of those who are blazing the way. They are betting their livelihoods and reputations on being right. They are in the trenches and dealing with reality day after day.
The resisters are living wistfully in the past and no longer have the adventurist spirit. They keep asking why.... instead of connecting with their customers.
Yet I see individual salespeople experimenting and trying new things to step ahead of the competition and EARN their way. They are using new technologies and new ways of relating to their customers and guess what... they are still one of the few in America who make their living by proving themselves every single day.
Death of a Car Salesman? I think not. It may be the end of a certain type of selling, thank God, but that spirit of self-reliance, resilience, and independence lives on.
For years, the car shopper has wanted a better connection to the deal. Now they have it. They actually need salesmen more now than ever before. Technology is better explained than it is for them to even find it in a video or dvd after the sale. Customers want answers to their questions instantaneously, instead of going onto the manufacturer's site and digging through all the different styles and functions of their "cool" web pages.
The Great Car Salesman gives them security when they deliver results to them that they want instantaneously. Our training in the future will be more about role playing and delivering fast answers and quality statements about the vehicle and the deal.
The last salesman will leave the building with the last car rolling off the assembly line. Then everyone here on this forum will need to go find another job. The front line of our industry is the most important place of impact. It is owned by the Great Car Salesman. Everyone else is just support. I don't care what you say or think, Mr. or Mrs. "Dealer Consultant," with your bright ideas to "go online" with your autoresponders, videos, trade evaluators, "deal makers," call centers, analyzers, price quoters or "let's just make something up'rs." The Car Salesman still handles the deal. Everything else is support. I love technology more than anyone here, but its just another tool for The Car Salesman and The Customer. Customers still want a great experience from a human being. We're in The People Business. When they buy, they still have a million different questions. The online activity breeds the offline activity. The Car Salesman handles that. Let's not get that confused.
Great post Tom. Factual.
Just Do It Right (with A Well Trained Sales Staff)
Thank you Jason. I often say that the Internet isn't a thing; a computer, mobile phone, or iPad is a thing. The Internet is people. And rather than wanting automated this and that, what do they want? The answer is "talking to other people". That's what Social Media is all about. They are using "things" to connect to other people. They may use different "things" to communicate their interest, but they are still communicating it to a person... a car salesperson.
A TV, a wonderful invention of the 20th century, is a thing, but the people on TV, such as newspeople and commercials are people talking AT you because it's not interactive. It's a one-way conversation. But technology has offered us new ways to interact with our customers and smart salespeople are utilizing those technologies in innovative and creative ways instead of wistfully asking, "Whatever happened to good old days?"