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Employee teamwork: The power of suggestion

By Scott Hochmuth

“Would you like fries with that?” Even though this fast food phrase resonates familiarity with everyone who hears the words, many listeners fail to recognize the question as a purchasing decision. In this example, the employee is trying to upsell the customer’s order by offering to add fries in an attempt to increase the profitability of the sale. Without posing the question, the employee is effectively answering “no” for the customer and missing a chance to sell more fries. From suggested drive thru add ons to high pressure tactics at car lots, employees have the job of selling your customers on doing business with you.

Every interaction at your dealership affords your employees an opportunity to either generate a positive experience or leave a negative impression with the customer. Employees and owners need to realize that each staff member is part of the sales “team” for the dealership. That is, even technicians and back office employees will have interactions with customers that could affect how customers feel about doing or continuing to do business with the dealership.

Employees should embrace the idea of being in sales! Front line employees, who deal directly with customers every day, should be discouraged from looking at the position as an adversarial interaction (i.e., trying to convince a customer to buy something not wanted or needed) and instead as an occasion to be an assistant helping the customer to not only make the original purchase of a unit, but also to buy the accessories and services that will enhance their enjoyment or utility of that unit.

For example, try moving a display of some of your best-selling installed accessories like LED lights or winches to an area by the service department to be offered when an ATV or side-by-side is brought in for repair or tune up. All your service writer needs to do is suggest an accessory from that display (and maybe a labor discount since the unit is being worked on already). A simple statement like, “We are offering a special on the installation of LED lights while your vehicle is in for service; please take a look at our selection.” Even if the suggestion only results in a sale ten or twenty percent of the time, your service employee will sell more accessories than if the customer is never asked and customers should not feel threatened by such a simple question.

Additionally, your parts department can sell a lot more high margin accessories if the best salesperson is scheduled to work the floor on a busy Saturday. Having coverage at the counter will cover the sales of batteries, spark plugs, and oil – the real sales increases come from engaging customers in your accessories area and being the assistant buyer. Riding gear and accessories constantly change and improve, but customers do not know all of the incredible new products that are available without a well trained and professional employee to help guide them through all of the options, explain why a new item may be better than what is currently owned, and why a more expensive item may worth the extra investment.

The impression your customers get from your dealership will come from all employees and multiple interactions. Every opportunity to “wow” customers with exceptional service will lead to additional opportunities to sell additional parts and services. Make sure employees buy into their role and understand that every member’s job is sales!

Scott Hochmuth is the owner of Real Performance Marketing, an Atlanta-based company representing ten different Powersports related product lines in the Alabama, Florida, Georgia, and Tennessee areas. He comes face-to-face with over 200 dealers every 8 weeks. He has been in sales since 1982 and started in the powersports industry in 1989 as a sales representative for a helmet manufacturer.

Email: scott@realperformancemarketing.net

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