Dealership adaption to Sales Automation can actually enhance your personal and corporate brand. Larry and Danny discuss how.
PRESERVING PERSONAL BRAND
Danny James: From a salesperson standpoint, my greatest asset is my personality. My ability to be unique from other salespeople is my brand; whether they who are working at the same Powersports dealership or at the store across town is my brand. I want the customer to remember me. How does the salesperson preserve their personal brand when the future is sales automation and an automated sales process? Do the salespeople become almost cookie cutter?
Larry Bruce: I wouldn't call sales automation the dawn of a cookie cutter personal brand or sales process. You are unique as a salesperson in that you're utilizing an advanced system ahead of your competition.
For argument's sake, let's say that every salesperson at every Powersports dealership gets to the point of using a sales automated CRM. You're still unique in your ability to help the customer by building rapport by getting and know that customer personally. Understand what your customers do for a living. Ask about their family. Make connections with mutual contacts in the same town. Get on the same page as that customer. You're still having all the conversations a salesperson would normally have to build that customer relationship on a human level.
Danny James: Yes.
Larry Bruce: Automation allows you to have meaningful customer interactions while not having to interrupt that personal conversation. You no longer need to leave it to go manually input data into a computer.
Danny James: Exactly.
Larry Bruce: You're working through the sales process in a way that flows naturally. For example, when you need information about inventory, you've got the inventory data you need right in the palm of your hand. It's on your mobile app. You can now communicate the information right to the customer without leaving the conversation to hunt down inventory sheets.
Sales and Marketing: these processes are conversations; you're working through each process conversationally. You're not chopping it up, breaking the flow of the conversation with the distraction of trying to also manually update information into a computer.
Realistically, that's not happening today. Rather than interrupt the conversation, salespeople are just not putting the information into the system without an easy or automated way do it.
Danny James: Exactly.
Larry Bruce: You, as a sales manager, are just not getting the information about the customer interaction because the salesperson is not going to interrupt their natural flow, for their income, to update your inefficient system. They're just not going to do it.
SALES AUTOMATION IMPROVES BRAND
Danny James: I think that a salesperson who truly values their own personal brand and is confident in their own skills would adopt sales automation as an opportunity to express more about themselves, especially with less time being spent with the disruptive process of having to go hunt down information manually to find out what's going on. The fact that I can bring up customer data and inventory data and pricing data and trade appraisal data and more...on my mobile phone in seconds, allows me to be more natural, more often in front of the customer than the old way of doing things.
Larry Bruce: Salespeople able to spend more time selling and less time doing administrative tasks.
Danny James: Exactly.
SALES AUTOMATION IMPROVES EFFICIENCY
Larry Bruce: Rather than outdated thinking about CRM process management, think of it in modern terms. Dealerships can now collect critical customer information from the salesperson during the sales process that provide accurate and usable data.
Think in terms of guiding the salesperson to provide the customers with good information and an excellent experience. Assist the salesperson down the road to a sale. Help the salesperson have the information in the palm of their hand and make their lives easier; therefore, ways throughout that sales process that will give us the information we need to close the sale. If you look at it from that standpoint, then one requirement is a mobile CRM.
Danny James: Yeah.
Danny James: Both the salesperson and the customer can relate to mobile because each has a mobile phone in their hand!
Larry Bruce: Sure.
SALES AUTOMATION SAVES MONEY
Danny James: I remember sales kickoff meetings when, as a consultant, we were introducing a CRM solution at an automobile dealership, and the sales manager would announce that the dealership was going to hire a sales assistant that was going to perform administrative sales tasks like generate forms. This sales assistant would be paid minimum wage. And the salespeople genuinely thought that was a wonderful idea!
So when the sales manager told their team that their new sales assistant wasn't a human being, but a computer-based system and the actual cost was right around that of a minimum wage, it suddenly took on new meaning to them in regards to their sales process. At first, they thought they'd been tricked!
But the end results are the same whether you're getting money from a human bank teller or the bank's ATM machine, you're getting the same money. I think people need to realize that there's not somebody physically running around the dealership providing all this paperwork and information, that instead it's coming more efficiently and directly to them and right to their mobile phone - and it shouldn't make any difference to them.
Larry Bruce: So far we've not seen that kind of pushback. As long as you can keep a solid process going, we've seen much more salespeople adoption. It's helping them in their day-to-day and that's the success we're able to capture. That's the kind of success the Powersports dealership should be trying to capture. You've got to believe, as a dealer, that if I help my salespeople do their job then I'll sell more machines - and if I sell more machines I make more money and they make more money. Everybody wins.
SALES AUTOMATION IS THE FUTURE
Danny James: The dealer who incorporates a proven CRM and sales process into their business can go to another location and see how they're operating without these tools. It has to be just a night-and-day difference. They have to look at it and say, "How could I have ever been one of the stores that didn't utilize a CRM and automated sales process?"
Larry Bruce: Dealers do that now. When I first started in the car business in the eighties, we didn't have a telephone! Looking back you can't imagine doing business without the modern tools needed to conduct your business.
Danny James: Yeah.
Larry Bruce: I can remember when we didn't have a credit bureau machine. I remember the first credit bureau machine we got was the kind with the little thermal paper thing. And in today's modern Powersports dealership, you wouldn't even think of not having the ability to pull a credit bureau. That's crazy, right?
Danny James: A fax machine too!
Larry Bruce: Right.
Danny James: Remember that somewhere in this country is the very last dealership that ever put in a telephone. Somewhere there's the very last dealership that ever put in a fax machine. You might laugh and say, "We know that guy. He's right down the street!"
This is to illustrate that these were business tools that every dealership eventually had, but business evolves and you no longer need a particular tool you once did. The tools of the trade do change and there reaches a point of saturation where you realize, "We should have had this all along".
Larry Bruce: We're in that state of evolution right now when it comes to focusing your business tools around the customer experience. Say to yourself as a salesperson: What's going to make my customer have a better experience? Me updating customer information to a CRM from my mobile phone and continuing down a natural conversational sales path? Or saying to the customer, "Could you give me a second? I've got to go update my computer." The decision is easy.
Does it make a better customer experience to out a blank sheet of paper and write in chicken scratches or coming back to the customer with professionally printed documents.
Danny James: That's legible.
Larry Bruce: It doesn't take a rocket scientist. CRM and sales automation help me as a salesperson. Modern business tools make me look better to my customer. They go faster for me. I'm spending less time doing administrative tasks that are not important to the customer experience. The more time I can spend focused on the customer, the less time I can have them spend in the dealership altogether and the better their experience is going to be.
Danny James: As much fun as they have shopping, what they really want to do is go out and play on their new Powersports machine!
Larry Bruce: You are absolutely correct in a Powersports dealership situation. The vehicle shopping part is the fun part. The buying part not necessarily fun - unless we can start to shortcut some of the sales and marketing processes and start to make them more natural instead of segmented.