Forget Selling – Let’s Talk About Buying

forget selling

Think of what your experience is as a customer, not just as a salesperson.

This month in Modern Dealership magazine, the focus is on the consumer experience, and one thing we don’t talk about enough is the fact that you – whatever title you have in a dealership – are a consumer.

In our industry, we are used to having consumers and the media complain about experiences when purchasing vehicles. Meanwhile, it doesn’t seem like other business industries have to answer for their practices as much as we do in car sales.

How Do You Like to Shop for Things?

Take off your dealership hat, and go shopping for a new television. It could be a 65-inch, 3D, super-amazing model. It’s the TV of your dreams.

You might walk into a major electronics retailer, and head back to the television department. Upon arriving, despite knowing exactly where you’re headed, there are several employees greeting you, and asking if you need help finding anything. Upon arriving to the correct section, the salesperson usually asks: “Do you have any questions?”

You ask the price, and the salesperson gives it to you without hesitation. You talk about accessories, how to best mount the television on the wall, and the kit that you’ll need to get the job done. They answer your questions and ask if you would like to make a purchase.

A Seamless Transaction

We all know that retail outlets are not charities. They exist to make money. For example, analysts expect Best Buy’s revenue to rise about 4.6 percent, to $41.2 billion, during its current fiscal year.

So why aren’t salespeople more aggressive to get the deal, taking gross where they can get it, and bringing in the boss for a T.O.?

It’s because Best Buy, or similar outlets, realized that people will come back if you make them feel good about being there.

A consumer can likely make a less expensive purchase on Amazon, but Best Buy continues to have strong financial results because people want the experience of interacting with what they are going to purchase.

No matter the outcome, or whether or not a transaction takes place, the sales associate gives you their full attention. Your questions are likely answered, and you are hopefully given accurate information. If you don’t make a purchase, the employee doesn’t mind, because their income isn’t dependent on it. They are always going to give the same experience. They don’t get a closer to take a T.O., and try to negotiate the price. The employees serve you, and have the confidence that if you want a TV, you’ll return, and there is a good chance you might.

Make Sure the Consumer Leaves Better Off

I’ve been part of many heated debates, in plenty of forums, when discussing the future of automotive-sales professionals.

As a result, there are some tips I would like to share with you when planning for the rest of 2018 and beyond.

There are several great commission-sales professionals that will serve people well, and they are all over the country. They will provide strong service, knowing that it will equate to consistent revenue.

But this industry has challenges when it comes to consumer experience, because, as Damian Boudreaux, the President and Founder of the Auto Training Academy, once told me: “Nothing about what we are doing is natural.”

We have the best of intentions with our sales processes, and there are several sales-training professionals out there to assist dealership employees.

However, a consumer is always going to buy what they are intent on purchasing, and hopefully you provided the best possible experience, or at worst, did not scare them off. Automotive sales is the only profession, other than baseball, in which we celebrate a 70-to-80-percent failure rate. We are excited when one out of four people decide to make a purchase. But that kind of logic is not a key for success. People generally only stop at two dealerships, so at a minimum, a salesperson has a 50-percent shot.

“Nothing about what we are doing is natural.”

There are obviously variables like credit, trade balance, and other factors to take into consideration, but more deals are lost due to a perceived poor experience than any other factor.

That doesn’t mean you intentionally treated the customer poorly, or did anything unethical. It means that you didn’t let them do it the way that they wanted. So the customer went to a different venue.

The Good News

The industry is always changing, based on what consumers want. You can change with it. Don’t wait for competing dealers to prove it first. Anywhere shoppers go, the cars are going to be similar. The prices might be about the same, as well as the experience. Welcome people to your store, listen with the intent to understand, and do everything in your power to deliver the best experience they’ve ever had at a car dealership.

Make the decision that no matter what, people are going to leave in a better situation than when they arrived. Whether that means you’re helping them buy a car, or you’re giving them the right information so that they can make a good decision when they decide to buy, it’s important that they leave smiling.

A salesperson can only control themselves. That means being conscious of the experience you offer to those walking through your doors. If you make sure everyone leaves happy, and are doing everything within your power to help them, you will sell more product, and make more money. You’ll also feel better about going to work every single day.

Mat Koenig

CEO at BDA Spanish and at Rockstar Auto Conference
Matt can be reached at, or 269-849-9494.
Mat Koenig

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