Time is now to reinforce discipline with dealership sales team

It’s clear that lack of inventory affected dealership engagement behavior. Conversations shifted from templated replies that made connections with customers by confirming vehicle availability and by inviting them into the dealership, to personally written emails (hence the uptick in typos) focused on paying retail pricing.

In other words, staff panicked. They were afraid to answer inventory questions and unprepared to sell the ordering process that is today’s reality. The fundamentals of lead follow-up went out the window, and so did the basics of building customer relationships.

It’s easy to get sloppy when profits are through the roof as they are today. As the saying goes, selling a lot of cars covers up a lot of sins. Right now, we may not be selling a lot of vehicles, but we’re making a lot of money. As a result, we’ll suffer poor sales performance, weak processes and unaccountable managers.

But, we’re approaching our own “Game of Thrones” Winter is Coming moment.

Inventory levels will rebound; you will have cars on the ground. Now is the time to develop people and processes for a “serve not sell” mindset so that six, 12 and 18 months down the road when the supply chain relaxes, you have relationships to mine for sales in the moment and in the future.

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