The “Greatest Salesman of All Time” had his record broken after nearly 45 years. He is Joe Girard who passed away at the age of 91 years in 2019. He was a successful car salesperson who held the Guinness Book of World Record for selling the most number of cars in a year, that is 1,425 in 1973. Cadillac and Chevrolet car salesman Ali Reda who sold 1,530 new vehicles and 52 used vehicles broke this record in 2017. Both the U.S. based salesmen shared a similar chord in their success story. They personalized the car buying experience for each of their customers by going to great lengths.
Girard in fact sold a total of 13,001 cars at a Chevrolet dealership between 1963 and 1978. He did it by being a likable person who used to send a personalized “I like you” card to each of his customers added over the years during New Year. Thus, customers turned loyal towards him and made repeat purchases after taking his appointment to avoid waiting. Whereas, Reda calls himself more of an adviser than a car salesman, who helped customers make purchases in ways possible even if they had financial woes.
Tactics that Car Salespersons have to consider Right Now for Success
Globally, car sales reached 66.7 million in 2021, an increase from 2020’s 63.8 million. Statistics show several trends currently playing out in the car purchasing landscape worldwide and are indicative of the strategies that car salespersons should adopt to be successful:
92% of car buyers go online and use social media to research before they buy. They have a good knowledge of cars and accessories. Hence, car salespersons should factor in the reality of informed customers and work harder to win them.
The Online Purchasing Shift:
A 2019 Deloitte Global Automotive Consumer Study stated that 59% of U.S. consumers want to purchase vehicles in an online transaction with the manufacturer. They revealed that they don’t want to deal with dealers which effectively means they want to skip an interaction with car salespersons. Millennials are now skipping test drives and largely buying directly from manufacturers after watching 360-degree videos of cars in action. Hence sales reps should go the extra mile to make the buying experience for customers visiting showrooms novel, hassle free and quick. This is important as 54% of car buyers say that they would pay extra if they received a better buying experience.
Interestingly, only 1 in 3 potential car buyers at the initial stage of the car buying cycle know exactly which vehicle to purchase. Hence, car salespersons should try their best to influence and guide customers towards the sale positively.
Car salespersons should ensure a good time at the dealer showroom for the customers if they want repeat business. A study maintains that 76% of consumers will stop going to a dealer even after just one bad experience.
After Sales Service:
Dealers receive a major share of revenue from happy repeat customers indicating loyalty towards them. Yet, many car salespersons neglect this income opportunity. Significantly, 59 percent of consumers say that none from the dealer’s end contacted them after purchasing their vehicle. To be successful at their salesmanship, car salespersons must follow up with buyers’ post-purchase by emailing or calling up. Enquiries on maintenance services, customer satisfaction and keenness on upgrading to new models must be made.
Qualities that define a Successful Car Salesperson
Post the pandemic car sales are peaking to pre-Covid times. It is a great time to be a car salesperson. And to be a successful one at that takes time and effort. The qualities that are most sought after that you should develop are:
- Superior listening skills
- Polished conversation ability
- Thorough knowledge of the company’s cars and services
- Unbiased treatment of different customers
- Giving a personal touch to each customer
- Friendly personality. Maintain eye contact and give a warm smile.
- Develop a trusting relationship with customers
- Study data analytics and develop strategies
- Knowledge of latest trends and technology
- Always follow up post-purchase
- Persevere tactfully but don’t be pushy
- Be confident
- Possess automated and personalized email system
- Be active on social media if customers reach out to you there
All the above time-tested qualities to be a successful car salesperson holds good even when digital transformation is impacting the car buying experience. Technology innovation could make car salespersons redundant. The virtual mode of buying cars directly from the manufacturer seems appealing rather than spending time at dealer showrooms.
The Technology Edge vis-a-vis Car Salespersons
Automakers are giving the virtual option to consumers where they can shop for cars using a computer or smartphone. Buyers can explore the features of cars of their choice and avail financing without stepping out of their homes. Tablet-based product guides, virtual reality enabled applications, simulation of test drives, vehicle valuation algorithms, enabling electronic signature of documents and home delivery of vehicles are facilitating these phenomena. Social media influencers are also joining in this virtual party. The virtual mode is clicking due to increased convenience, lesser paperwork and speed of the car buying experience.
Digitization of some showroom experiences, like the need of car buyers to touch vehicles and get the feel of the real thing during test drives before making a purchase, is not possible. Many shoppers also don’t want to lose out on the price negotiations with the car salespersons stationed inside the showroom for good deals.
Interestingly, the Deloitte 2022 Global Automotive Consumer Study throws up revelations that both car salespersons and advancing technology can co-exist peacefully. According to the study, most consumers would still prefer to purchase a vehicle at an authorized dealership. Amongst the respondents, 68% in India and 75% in the U.S. would prefer an in-person purchase at the dealership. Buyers who wish to shop online, skipping the dealers are at 10% in India and 6% in the U.S.
Digital tools empower car salespersons to step out of showrooms and interact with potential customers at their homes or offices. Car salespersons are encouraged to receive online preferences from customers. This enables the salesperson to better understand their preferences and anticipate what they really want before the first face-to-face interaction. It is here that sales enablement tools help salespersons deal with informed customers who throw a volley of questions at them after researching online about various cars and their features. These tools make sure that car salespersons know more than the potential customers about products specific to the dealer and the automobile industry in general.
A good sales enablement platform makes sure that salespersons micro-learn concepts through regular study of bite sized chunks of information. Bombarding them with a lot of information at one go does not help with memory retention. Learning through quizzes and contests amongst salespersons makes the process fun and interactive.
If you want to build a winning sales team by solving your sales readiness challenges, schedule a demo with StreamzAI; which is a mobile, gamified and AI enabled sales enablement platform.