Professional Community for Car Dealers, Automotive Marketers and Sales Managers
Did you know within retail stores, Apple has the highest selling rate per square foot ($6,050) in the USA? That is more than double second place winner, Tiffany’s at $3,017. Why? Can car dealerships pull anything from this to improve? Maybe, let’s take a quick look:
Examination of an Apple Retail Store:
Some of the highlights comprise of serious control of how employees interact with customers, scripted training, and on location support, to name a few.
Then there’s the Apple Store Dance Sensation! Kids that go to “the store with mom and dad” now have something to do. They dance, record, and load it up on YouTube of course. There are many articles about the now famous Trevor Michael who is, as they say, remarkably exuberant!
How can YouTube make an impact at your dealership?
Video is HOT! YouTube in fact is the second biggest search engine in the world (behind Google who owns YouTube). Video is 50 times more likely to rank on the first page of Google results according to Forrester.
Ladies and gentlemen, one thing will never change. We are all just in one big CONTEST OF IDEAS. That is it in a nutshell!
Every square inch of Apple stores are designed, and engineered with intense thought and nothing is by accident. There is of course abundant lighting, casual interiors. However, Apple keeps a very tight lid on how they operate.
Employees are ordered to not discuss rumors about products; technicians are prohibited from acknowledging widespread glitches too early and anyone caught writing about the company on the internet is terminated, according to past employees. Some car dealerships have written policies on social media and some don’t. We will keep this simple and leave rules, laws, and regulations to the experts like Jim Radogna.
Apple employees are trained to demonstrate products and solve customer problems, NOT push sales! Apple is considered an innovator in many aspects of customer service and store design. Several employees insist (and training manuals prove it) they are trained with a sales philosophy: Do not sell, but rather to help customers solve problems. “Your job is to understand all your customers’ needs--- some of which they may not even realize they have”, is what one training manual says, again according to the AP.
There are NO SALES COMMISSIONS and NO SALES QUOTAS!
David Ambrose, who worked at an Apple store said, “You were never trying to close sales. It was all about finding solutions for a customer and finding their pain points”. Apple products or cars, that makes sense.
Time for Apples "Steps of Service" in an acronym!
(Crazy? At $6,000 a square foot, lets have a look!)
Apples control of the customer experience extends down to detail detail detail. Apple employees who are six minutes late in their shift three times in six months may be let go. Even though there are no sales quotas, employees must sell service packages with devices and those who don’t sell enough are re-trained or moved to another position.
When a new product is launched, employees cheer customers as they enter and exit the store. Can you imagine Mr. and Mrs. Johnson park their car on the dealership lot and they walk into the showroom with their “Rambo Jackets” on (As Grant Cardone first said 20 years ago) and everyone claps and cheers and says hi with a smile! Those “Rambo Jackets” would look silly at that point look out of place.
For service, Apple has what they call “The Genius Bar”. These “geniuses” have extensive knowledge of Apple products and work face to face to provide technical support and trouble shoot any problems. (Might not be a bad idea for a dealership to incorporate some type of prototype - Even for new car deliveries).
Getting a job at Apple is not easy. With sometimes several rounds of interviews, applicants are questioned about their leadership and problem solving skills, as well as their passion for Apple products. Stores are flooded with applicants. After being hired, training is far-reaching and recruits are coached in classes that apply Apples principals of customer service. Candidate’s for “Genius” tech support get far more training in Apple facilities world-wide.
Apples store staffers are paid about $9 to $15 per hour at the sales level. “Genius” level can enjoy about $30 an hour. If you can pass the entire test, charm the managers, and get hired at Apple for $9 to $15 an hour, I wonder how much a well-trained Apple rep can earn selling cars? (Just Saying) Everyone is not motivated by money, true. But usually people who say “it’s not about the money” don’t have it…
Apple, just like car dealers, has business customers as well. Apple has built specially designed “Briefing Rooms” into some stores and introduced a new service called “Joint adventure”. Maybe some Fleet managers/directors can pull some ideas from “Joint Adventure”. I’m sure Apple could pull some ideas from successful dealerships as well.
Hope you discovered some helpful tips, see you next time.
Great selling and thanks!