By Doug Reeves, Business Development Manager, A2Z Sync
A General Agent’s (GA) job isn’t easy. It’s threatened daily by other agents, large national product providers, and of course, manufacturers who pressure dealers to sell their products. Furthermore, it’s increasingly difficult to acquire new business when national dealer groups are purchasing independently-owned dealerships, using their current providers at the GA’s expense.
The COVID crisis posed a new challenge; Customers now have a new type of purchasing experience, which has highlighted their dissatisfaction with the traditional car-buying process. The use of digital tools, along with a more enjoyable experience, has caused many dealers to reassess their sales process.
“60% of buyers indicated that transactions are too slow, with more than two out of three transactions taking over three hours to complete.”
Consider the following: nearly half of new car buyers are unhappy interacting with the finance department. 60% of buyers indicated that transactions are too slow, with more than two out of three transactions taking over three hours to complete. The customer experience begins to deteriorate after 90 minutes, which likely explains why 90% of customers report there’s something they disliked during the selling process.
Dealers are looking for partners to help them deliver a simple, fast, and transparent customer experience. They want to differentiate themselves from their peers by being at the forefront of change. This presents the proactive GA with a competitive advantage.
One of the more innovative approaches involves the elimination of finance managers by employing a One-Person Sales Model. The salesperson in a One-Person format handles the entire sales transaction, from start to finish, including the presentation of financing and products. Some GAs will view this as a threat, perceiving a reduction in F&I income, rather than an opportunity.
One-Person dealers have seen impressive results. Their market share has improved within six months of implementation. Sales volume has risen along with CSI scores. F&I income increased, in most cases dramatically. Dealers also saw increased employee retention, reduced hiring costs, and ultimately a higher caliber, more satisfied sales staff. Most importantly, customers reported enjoying the sales process and referred more people to the store.
How can this be, one may wonder? Through intense and continued training, salespeople develop a skill set that includes a more consultative sales approach, leading to a deeper understanding of the customer’s needs.
They’re able to advise not only on vehicle selection but also on all aspects of the financing process. The entire transaction is also much more transparent for the customer, and the One-Person model ensures deals are completed on the customer’s time. Finally, the relationship established with the customer results in greater trust and increased acceptance of the products presented.
“The entire transaction is also much more transparent for the customer, and the One-Person model ensures deals are completed on the customer’s time.”
What does this mean for a forward-thinking GA? It’s an opportunity to be an “agent of change.” Knowing how to help a dealership pivot to a One-Person methodology separates you from most GAs. Developing a relationship with a company dedicated to the proper implementation of this process and being part of a successful transition only enhances the GA’s position with the dealer. Providing training support for the sales staff greatly increases product sales. In the long run, the GA becomes the go-to product provider for stores looking to change. Ultimately both their agency’s reputation and revenues increase.
The One-Person experience is greatly enhanced through the use of powerful software that supports the sales process through embedded steps, including wants and needs discovery questions, vehicle selection, base payment calculation, credit application and submission, menu presentation, and forms printing. Most importantly, a strict process ensures all compliance concerns are addressed. Client advisors must disclose mandatory figures before progressing through the process ensuring clients have a clear understanding of all relevant terms. With over 400,000 transactions, A2Z Sync (our company) has yet to have any compliance complaints issued. Ultimately, with the right software, the result is a fully compliant, more profitable transaction in half the time.
The proactive GA should look for companies experienced at implementing the One-Person process. Reaching out to them on behalf of their clients will help deliver the solution the dealer is looking for. A good GA is often viewed as part of the management team and develops long-term relationships with their dealers. In a time when dealers are looking for an edge over their competitors, One-Person is the answer, and GAs need not fear it.
About the Author
Doug Reeves (Business Development Manager, A2Z Sync) has applied his 20+ years of automotive experience to changing the sales process in the industry. Transparency in a customer-centric focus will be a game-changer. Let’s make the complex simpler and more profitable.