• 13 August 2020

Who killed the customer?

According to Johan Ferreira, retired Dealer Principal (DP) and seasoned sales guru with more than 40 years’ experience, digital support is a novel way to get leads and support your sales efforts, but going back to basics is the only way to reanimate record-producing sales.

Who killed the customer

recently met with him to discuss his training programme titled “Who Killed the Customer” and how DPs and sales managers can benefit from his ideas and recommendations.

Ferreira is adamant that salespeople can generate a lot more sales by being knowledgeable about their product, but, he cautions, too much time is spent in front of computer screens and not enough time on the floor among customers.

“It doesn’t matter how many leads and quick WhatsApp follow-up conversations you get, that computer screen on your desk separates you from your customer and with that, the very important relationship of trust you need to clinch the deal,” says Ferreira. “The purpose of the digital lead is to convert the lead into an appointment. Setting up a face-to-face meeting is crucial to gain trust and respect, ensuring a customer that believes in you and buys your product.”

According to Ferreira, most salespeople used to sell on average between 10 and 15 cars a month, which was recently reduced to about six cars on average, according to his analysis. “There are many reasons for this decrease in sales per person, but I believe that it can still be turned around,” he told Dealerfloor.

During a recent actual deal (not mystery shopping), with no trade-in and no financial support needed (cash deal), he was not surprised to visit franchise dealerships where the salespeople, manager and DP saw him taking pictures of price boards and cars. “This was my message to show them that I was interested in buying a vehicle. They didn’t even get up to greet me or acknowledge me,” he says.

“At another dealership, I had a better experience where I was met by a friendly salesperson who immediately took my email address to send me a quote. However, he didn’t take my name and I am still waiting for that quote,” Ferreira says. “This has unfortunately become the norm and not the exception, and I will gladly come do mystery shopping at your dealership if you don’t believe me,” he says.

“To me, the ultimate secret to a successful sale is keeping the customer in front of you to be able to start building trust. But then you take the customer to the office of the F&I and the opportunity to build a relationship is lost,” he emphasises. “Most salespeople are not able to work out a transaction anymore, or they are just not empowered to negotiate a deal with the customer and therefore losing out on sales.”

Ferreira believes that dealerships, when employing people, do not necessarily take the behavioural profile of the individuals into consideration. He stresses the importance of understanding whether the person falls into one of four categories. “I prefer to differentiate between born leaders, salespeople, middle management and finance and insurance (F&I) employees,” Ferreira says.

“By assessing the behavioural profile of the employees, I can guarantee that DPs will be able to appoint the right people for the right job resulting in better sales, better admin, better leadership and better all-round performance by the dealership.”

But, as the saying goes, the proof of the pudding lies in the eating. To Ferreira there is a simple solution to this. According to him all the market research done to establish customer satisfaction can be summarised into one question: “Will you do business with us again?”

  • Who Killed the Customer is a facilitation programme to discover why and how the dealership is losing customers.