Lazy car sales in a market downturn

The motor trade during turbulent times, like all retail businesses, must keep razor sharp in order to see any downturn through and keep turning a profit, fairly much common sense one would suspect, however let me just paint a picture for you.

This is Motor Trade Insider’s take on converting the customer in the current climate;


  1. Treat every potential new enquiry reference buying new or used cars like gold dust, like it is your last.
  2. Ensure that your systems and processes, which have served you well up till now, are being adhered to and focused on by senior management.
  3. Ensure that salespeople are not ‘cherry picking’ i.e. deciding who they think will buy a new car and who will not, discarding the later and waiting for the next new prospect.
  4. Make sure your display and presentation standards are first class: ‘retail is detail’
  5. Ensure your stock is competitively priced to the market
  6. Check that Internet imagery and descriptions are valid and right up to date (there is nothing more frustrating for a customer to ring on a car they have seen on your website that is already sold)
  7. Make sure that sales managers and controllers “second face” every customer who walks through the door and ensures nothing further can be done on the day to convert a sale.
  8. “Prospect” i.e. go back to your database and have a phone out evening with customers who have bought from you in the last 2-3 yrs and see if they will come and take up a deal offer on another car.
  9. keep turning your stock, keeping ageing stock to a minimum as this will keep the stock fresh

With all that said I have been in the motor trade a long time and genuinely thought I had seen and heard most things but what happened yesterday just about tops it all.
Bearing in mind everything mentioned above I received a call from a lady who says she is ringing for a price on an 08 plate large 4×4 and that she got my number though the Glasses Guide.

I asked her what company she was from, as it is still quite rare to hear a lady salesperson on the phone (although becoming less rare, thankfully). She tells me she is in a Mini showroom and is trying to change the 4×4 to a Mini, well now I am gob smacked on hearing this and told her

‘you do realise that the Glasses Guide is a trade book and not available to members of the public, does the salesman realise that you are looking through the guide?’

“Oh” she says ‘he has given it to me and told me to ring some dealers to get a price’

Well to say I was speechless is an understatement! I said to her;

“What is this salesman actually trying to do to sell you a car and earn his commission?”

She was confused until I explained what the process usually is;
A customer brings car to trade in, wants to know what the best deal is and a salesperson/manager will do their utmost to achieve best price on trade in and try to sell another car.
But this place was quite happy, lazy and probably arrogant enough to hand a trade guide to a potential customer (who had owned many minis, so presumably was fairly likely to buy another) in order to get a price on her car so they could sell her a car and do very little work to get the sale! All this at a time where every sale and potential customer is like a precious metal, what chance do we have?
I would sack this fool on the spot, he is a menace to the business and when the lady calls me back on Monday as I have asked her to I will ensure that she makes a complaint to the general manager and I will also try to send her to one of my preferred dealers to ensure she enjoys a much better experience.

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