The modern car salesperson has much more profit making weaponry in his arsenal than just selling a car. The list of add-on’s for car buyers continues to grow and in many cases will be the deciding factor on whether a deal is done or not.
In the past a car was marked up or published in a price list and apart from the funding options it was all about negotiating a deal on the best discount offered on the car. Well today that is about as far away from those simple days as the UK are from Australia. If a customer is prepared to sign up on a few add-on’s like gap insurance or alloy wheel protection for example he might just squeeze a better deal on the metal, but can still tell his friends he got a massive discount without mentioning the add-on’s that needed to be included to seal the deal.
From the sales exec’s point of view the game is the same; they go to their boss and say they can sign their customer up with a few products as long as the customer is given so much for their trade-in and, of course, if the whole deal stacks up the perception from both sides is that it is worth doing.
Today’s sales people are being trained to gain information as well as trust and tasked with finding out what kind of lifestyle each customer leads. This information then determines which products will be offered to which customer based on their personal circumstances and whether the particular product is relevant to their lifestyle.
It could be argued that this kind of customer profiling is a bit scripted and takes away the personal touch but it can also govern whether the products on offer are necessary and therefore customers are protected to a certain extent from being mis-sold add-on’s that they neither want nor need.
The thoroughness of the sales process in most showrooms means it is arguably too long and not what many customers, who have busy lives and perhaps an inherent distrust of sales people want or need. However looking at it from another angle, a robust qualification process will surely enable customers to arrive at the right car for their personal circumstances and budget even if they have to be bored to death in arriving at that choice. I promise you there are still way too many customers looking to offload an expensive mistake because the car they bought did not ultimately suit them, and it’s not like changing a jumper at Marks and Spencer’s, buying the wrong car, especially a new one, is nearly always a costly mistake and although buying decisions are more of a partnership these days expensive examples of buyer’s remorse are still in evidence every day in showrooms up and down the country.
So if spending a little more time answering questions about where you go on your holiday and what food you eat ends up ensuring you buy the right car then it may be a small price worth paying in the long run.
Subscribe to Motor Trade Insider by Email