Business Consultant Mathias Brix on The Three Major Challenges for Car Salespeople Today
When I was a student, I earned some extra money by working in a car showroom in Denmark for several years. I was highly motivated and could not wait to start selling cars. Sure, I found myself cheering after closed contracts, but just as often, I wanted to throw my laptop out of the window in order to be rid of the digital sales tool that was on it.
For many years now, I have worked with CRM systems behind and in front of the curtain, and I can say that I have seen and experienced all aspects of them; from customer support for CRM, and working with such a system myself in a showroom, to now being part of the development process of a sales acceleration cloud platform for the automotive industry, as a Business Consultant at EASI’R.
Over years in the field, I have identified three major challenges that most car salespeople have in their daily working routine. Some of these issues are closely connected to digitalization, which has turned the whole automotive industry on its head right now. Others are rather structural and even psychological. However, with all these challenges, the right digital sales tool can make a huge difference. I want to share my insights with you.
There are three major challenges that car salespeople have to deal with today. These are caused partially by digitalization, can be structural in nature, and in part derive from psychological mechanisms. For a good CRM system to really work, it is absolutely necessary to cover all three aspects.
CHALLENGE 1: INCREASE IN CUSTOMER REQUESTS AND A NEW LEVEL OF TIME PRESSURE
The effect of increasing digitalization is clear: With customers having gotten ever more tech-savvy, the physical visits of customers at a car showroom have decreased, but at the same time the online requests have increased to a level unprecedented in the history of car sales. Whenever customers get interested in a new car, they simply pick up their tablet, laptop or smartphone while sitting comfortably on the coach, and request specific information from car salespeople.
This results in the huge increase of leads that a single car salesperson needs to handle these days, meaning a higher workload for the same amount of staff on the sales floor. Even more pressure is added by the fact that customers do not request the desired information from only one car salesperson, but from many; the one who answers first has the greatest chance to close the deal in the end. The overall challenge for car salespeople is a decrease in direct customer contact, but much more digital requests that need to be handled as quickly as possible.
Digitalization puts high amounts of pressure on car salespeople: In addition to “physical leads” that come from the showroom, they need to process a huge influx of digital leads. At the same time, they need to follow-up on customers faster than ever before because if customers have to wait for feedback – even if it is just two days – they will turn away and contact the next sales team.
In my opinion, working with a digital sales tool is the only possible way to be able to manage the required fast processing of digital leads. The ideal CRM system collates all leads under one roof and makes them easily available to all users in a sales team. This way, nothing falls through the cracks and everyone can see how much time has passed since a lead first came in, and if it already has been processed. The later salespeople respond, the more likely it is that the customer gets annoyed and looks for another dealership that responds faster. This is a pity, since whilst digitalization creates a lot of leads, it is important to know how to deal with them in order to increase sales.
CHALLENGE 2: SCHEDULE APPOINTMENTS FOR THE BEST CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE
When I worked at the car showroom, my colleagues and I had quite a struggle to please the customers who spontaneously dropped in to get information about a car. The main challenge was to handle the “peak hours”, which were e.g. Monday to Friday from 15:00 to 17:30. You could feel that the salespeople were significantly more stressed than usual, and a lot of customers needed to wait their turn because the staff could not serve all of them at the same time. An ideal customer experience clearly looks different.
The “rush hour” at a car showroom can be a real challenge when it comes to providing the perfect customer experience. Using a digital sales tool can relieve salespeople of time pressure and enable them to schedule fixed appointments in order to make sure that they have enough time to secure the best possible customer service.
Here, a CRM system means that salespeople do not have to simply wait for the next super-busy Sunday. It can ease workflow by enabling them to proactively steer customer visits by offering them free time slots in advance, and make fixed appointments – just as it is done with bank appointments. In addition, a digital sales tool helps salespeople to work more time-efficiently by being able to register all customer wishes and requests very quickly in a convenient dashboard. Aside from that, with a digital sales tool they have access to previous information about the customer, to make a tailor-made offer that does not need to be deduced from a long and complicated interaction between customer and salesman. This saves time!
CHALLENGE 3: PSYCHOLOGICAL CONSTRAINT – A CAR SALESPERSON WANTS TO SELL CARS
This might sound strange, but it is a huge part of the reason why so many salespeople struggle these days and need a CRM system: They want to sell cars. The truth is that registering all customer information in excel spreadsheets or on post-its will lead to lost data, chaos, and slow follow-up processes because information lacks structure, and is not accessible by one click. A digital sales tool should ease the workflow of car salesmen here, but often, sadly, it does not – if it is the wrong system.
It is important to respect the psychology of car salespeople. They are ambitious and want to sell cars. Therefore, they need a digital sales tool that ensures the most intuitive use, and helps them to accelerate their sales process from minute one.
The right CRM system respects and harnesses this strong and intrinsic motivation to sell cars that drives car salespeople. The digital sales tool needs to be as simple and well structured as possible and it needs to be so intuitive that there is no long introductory process involved. I have often seen in the showroom that whenever a system did not work as simply as a salesperson wished it would, they switched back to paper & pen and post-its, and the chaos started again. Therefore, it is of major importance that a CRM system has very intuitive navigation, and that the users can start working with it without a long and complicated introduction. In the ideal case, usage is as easy and intuitive as it is with Facebook or LinkedIn.
About the author, Mathias Brix
I work as a Business Consultant at EASI’R. My previously mentioned experiences at dealerships, national sales companies and now the support lines with EASI’R, have put me in an ideal spot to help you, as a car manufacturer, a national sales company or an online classifieds site, to get rolling with the leading automotive CRM tool available today! Contact us, and learn more how you can get started in just 30 days at: easir.com/request-demo
Pictures: Header: unsplash.com/Jannik Selz. Picture 2: EASI’R. Picture 3: Unsplash.com/Murray Campbell. Picture 4 & 5: EASI’R