Want to Be a Champion of Auto Retail? Try These Gridiron Tips

Is your dealership the automotive equivalent of the New England Patriots? You know...tried and true proven champions, season after season? Or are you more like the Atlanta Falcons - a high-flying bunch on the rise, looking to start your own era of championships?

Regardless of your experience or record of success, there are some interesting similarities between what makes a consistently strong football team…and a great sales team. Granted, eye black and shoulder pads aren’t required to sell cars – at least, not on most days. But any team endeavor requires certain attributes in order to reach sustained results. Qualities like good communication, attention to detail, and an individual commitment go far, whether the game is football or business. When it comes to the practice and tactics of car sales, there are also a few common best practices that help your team make the most of each opportunity. We took a look at some recent Cox Automotive Insights, and came up with three key gridiron takeaways:

Avoid the Fumble

The quarterback snaps the ball, pivots back and, almost instantly, tucks the ball in the belly of the running back. Simple, right? Not so much. The hand-off must be completed all the way through the process so that the back can get the ball in the right position, find a hole, and head down the field for extra yardage. A wrong move here, a missed connection there…usually the ball ends up on the ground. At the dealership, that fumble often happens between the online and in-store experience. According to the 2017 Cox Automotive Car Buyer Journey, 60 percent of the time spent car shopping is done online, and 55 percent only test drive the car they purchase. That means that today’s car shoppers mostly make their decision before heading to the dealership, and as such they expect a seamless online to in-store experience. Consider: 47 percent want to complete forms online that can be transferred to the dealership.

Don’t Get Called for Delay of Game

If you’re a fan, you know the feeling: your team is down by 1, and driving for the win. It’s third down and short…things are looking good...really good. But then the darn quarterback gets mixed signals, or gets confused, and the clock begins to loom. The next thing you know there’s a delay of game penalty and your team is out of time. Don’t let that happen during the buying journey. The 2016 Cox Automotive Emotional Connections Study found that consumers spend, on average, 91 minutes doing paperwork and negotiating. Of that time, almost a third is spent waiting around. And while the penalty to a football team is just five yards, delay of game at a dealership can cost much more: just 49 percent of vehicle shoppers are happy with the amount of time a purchase takes.   

Master the Two-Minute Drill

Champions are closers. With two minutes left in the game, they know how to wrap up the win with a sustained and efficient drive. It’s much the same in automotive retail. When it’s time to wrap up the deal and send the buyer happily on their way, successful teams keep things simple. They look for ways to reduce wasted time; that includes everything from aftermarket sales to contracting and title. How important is this final drive? Consider that when asked to rate their satisfaction on a scale of 1-10, 79 percent of car buyers gave the test-drive process an 8-10 rating. When they got to the F&I part of the transaction, however, that level of satisfaction declined to 64 percent. Dealerships that keep operations streamlined throughout the entire workflow stand a better chance of creating satisfied customers who are likely to come back for service, and for future sales.