I recently started as a Sales Manager for Mercedes-Benz of Encino, in Southern California. Previously, I had been with a very large Ford Dealer, with 8 other brands, for nearly 13 years. I have to tell you, stepping out of the Domestic Market into the Highline Luxury Market is a whole different world. One thing I have found that does not change is the Sale Professional and the selling process. I think I was imagining stepping into a world of better Sales People, with better skills and who really understood the client. I was wrong!
I think the Sales Person today try's too hard, get's the wrong results and does not concentrate on the areas of importance. Remember, the Desk/Management should determine Gross (Profit), not the Sales Person. In the High line Market, and I can only speak for our region, it seems that the Dealers have really discounted the value of the vehicles, and no longer hold value in the invoice. Having come from my previous Dealer, I was conditioned to believe that below the INVOICE amount was nothing! Anything below Invoice, you are losing!!! I was conditioned to believe that anything below Invoice was the Dealers Money. It was used to pay people, keep the lights on, advertise and pay the phone bill! So here I am, and I presented with deals worked from TRIPLE NET UP! What the heck is that all about? What ever happened to Retail down? Who created this tactic? Why does the Manufacturer even waste time developing an MSRP? I know, I am preaching to the choir, and there are many of us out there that believe as I do..unfortunately, the few that don't have made it difficult for the rest of us!
When I first started in the Business, I had the privilege of selling Saturn (You know, the Company that GM got way to involved in, and lost focus). Saturn had a story, a story that allowed you to concentrate on the Client, the Product and NOT the price.It allowed consultants and Dealers to make money and make the car buying experience fun, interactive and profitable.
If we all got back to honoring the MSRP and working from it, then we can make a difference. If we spent an hour on the demo and a half an hour in the "box", rather than a half and hour on the demo and hour in the "box", we will make a difference. Is it wrong to feel that our products are worth MSRP? We are as guilty as the client..by allowing the product to be devalued!
We started using a Training program call Carmind (www.carmind.com). It has been terrific. The creators found a way to break up training into little 10-15 minutes skits with cartoons, and I swear, subliminal images. This approach really works. It allows our Sales Professionals to watch these videos on the Internet at their leisure, without forcing "training" down their throat. It then provides a test and allows them to practice what they learn. It is fun and entertaining.
Today, I think you would all agree, we have more time to train and get better. Isn't it worth it to spend the time and money to make more and work less? If you have experience with Carmind, I would love to hear what you think. If you have not, check it out. It is well worth it, especially if your spending money on expensive seminars and professional Trainers coming into your stores.