The “hard sell” conundrum

We have talked many times about how much of a pivotal role a business manager now plays in a car showroom, and this year that role is set to take on even more importance. Car buyers are now prepared for the fact that they could spend just as long talking about finance and insurance products than about the right car and, of course, the best deal.

Unfortunately, for all of us, until lenders loosen the purse strings and lighten up on their lending criteria there is going to be lots of unhappy customers and equally unhappy and frustrated car dealers.

Despite calls from all parties to introduce more fluidity into the credit market there is still a feeling in the car industry that too many customers are being either declined or not accepted on the terms that suit their budgets. For sales people this can be extremely frustrating, having tried their hardest and given a lot of time to the process of creating the right experience for customers only to fall at the final hurdle.

On top of that there is a fine line to negotiate when introducing another manager to talk about other products which are potential profit generators. It is vitally important not to appear to be pushy if customers at first decline interest.

The balance needs to be just right and we are hearing from many people who are finding the hard sell on ‘products’ a bit too much when sometimes all they want is to just buy a car.

The business manager and how they are targeted has changed drastically. From being asked to generate maybe £100 for every car sold that figure, in many cases, has trebled as the industry has seen chassis margins become eroded.

One of the problems today is that there is more competition from car makers than ever before, you only need to look at our car makers premier league to see how many manufacturers have improved their share of the market substantially because the quality of even the cheapest cars has improved immeasurably.

In order to compete successfully dealers have had to forsake car profit and generate it through other means.

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