Get real, dealer

A US guru be­lieves car sales staff need an ethics makeover, writes NEIL McDON­ALD

Herald Sun - Motoring - - News -

AUS­TRALIA’S car sales staff are, by and large, more eth­i­cal and pro­fes­sional than their US coun­ter­parts, ac­cord­ing to global sales guru Tom Stuker.

Stuker, who speaks at the Aus­tralian Au­to­mo­bile Dealers’ As­so­ci­a­tion con­fer­ence in Mel­bourne this week, has been in­volved in most deal­er­ship ac­tiv­i­ties, from re­tail sales and man­age­ment to sales train­ing and man­age­ment con­sult­ing.

He is now con­sid­ered one of the most dy­namic train­ers and speak­ers in the US au­to­mo­tive in­dus­try.

Stuker wants to change the con­sumer per­cep­tion of car sales­men and women as un­trust­wor­thy.

He be­lieves sales folk and dealers are their own worst en­e­mies when it comes to their rep­u­ta­tion.

They can join the ranks of the re­spected oc­cu­pa­tions by adopt­ing some sim­ple and com­mon­sense sales meth­ods, he says, such as fol­low­ing up calls, be­ing eas­ily avail­able to cus­tomers and fol­low­ing through on re­quests.

‘‘It’s not just about the re­ac­tive side of the busi­ness but the proac­tive side — how to net­work cus­tomers to main­tain and de­velop a con­tin­ual growth of sales and in­come over a pe­riod,’’ he says.

Most car-sell­ing prac­tices are in­grained, and it’s hard to change bad habits, he says.

‘‘It’s the most im­por­tant pur­chase af­ter a home, but the sales ap­proaches are not good. The pub­lic de­serves sales peo­ple with higher stan­dards.’’

Stuker has been vis­it­ing and preach­ing his views to the Aus­tralian car in­dus­try for 20 years, and has no­ticed some changes for the bet­ter lo­cally.

‘‘I find the av­er­age Aus­tralian deal­er­ship and sales­per­son to be more eth­i­cal and fair dinkum than their con­tem­po­raries in the US,’’ he says.

‘‘There is more pro­fes­sion­al­ism in the av­er­age Aus­tralian deal­er­ship — not nec­es­sar­ily street smarts, but pro­fes­sion­al­ism.’’

Stuker says sales­peo­ple must also re­alise their cus­tomers have be­come bet­ter in­formed.

‘‘To­day’s cus­tomers are not nec­es­sar­ily smarter about buy­ing a car, but they are bet­ter in­formed. In the US, 92 per cent of peo­ple will go to the in­ter­net be­fore they buy.’’

Stuker wants to make dealers see their sales peo­ple as as­sets, not just em­ploy­ees.

‘‘Dealers will have to start train­ing their sales peo­ple and in­vest­ing in them like as­sets, oth­er­wise their busi­nesses will suf­fer.’’

He also be­lieves re­cruits should look at sell­ing cars as a ca­reer, not just a job.

Ul­ti­mately, too, deal­er­ships have to find a way to im­prove not only the buy­ing ex­pe­ri­ence but the own­er­ship ex­pe­ri­ence, through re­la­tion­ship build­ing.

‘‘Af­ter all, we are in the cus­tomerser­vice busi­ness,’’ Stuker says.

The AADA con­fer­ence yes­ter­day.

Stuker plans to re­turn to Aus­tralia in Oc­to­ber to hold a 10-day train­ing course in sales.


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