How Important are the First Impressions Customers Have of Your Dealership?

By: Joe Verde

How Important are the First Impressions Customers Have of Your Dealership?

You can’t afford to miss even one sale these days, and we all know first impressions make or break sales. So let’s talk about some of the first impressions your prospects have of your dealership. You work there, so you may not see what they see anymore. Have an out of body experience – walk through and look at things through their eyes…

The first impressions your customers have of your dealership…

  • Will their first impression from your advertising be about how cheap you are or will they see why they should buy from your dealership (value)?
  • When they’re about to pull onto your lot, as they glance at your dealership for the first time, what do they see: a nice clean well-lit place, or something else?
  • When they first see your sales force as a group – do they see professionals or do they see a bunch of car salesmen in the huddle, just waiting to pounce?
  • As your salesperson approaches them, by their appearance, does the prospect see a professional or a …???
  • Is each salesperson’s approach timely and positive with a smile, or do customers see a salesperson with coffee in one hand, sunglasses, bad wardrobe and a prank tie from the kids at Christmas?
  • When they first see your inventory, is it a value building experience or do they see a messy lot, dirty cars, dead balloons and price signs everywhere?
  • When they drive a vehicle, is it clean, gassed and ready, or the opposite?
  • When they walk through service, will they see a clean shop and meet nice people or just the opposite?
  • When your salespeople try to close the sale, do customers hear a car salesman or a professional in sales?
  • The first time they walk into your showroom; is it clean and professional or has it gotten tired and messy?
  • When they see the salesperson’s office, is it clean and professional or does it look like a closing booth?
  • As the salesperson starts the paperwork, are they trained and confident or clueless and clumsy?
  • Is the first offer from the desk just some scribbled stuff that’s barely legible or is it clear and spelled out?
  • First offer: is it the old school ridiculous ‘hit ‘em high and peel them off the ceiling’ stuff or just the next step in your professional sales process?
  • When they first meet a manager on a T.O., will they see a professional or think, “Are you kidding, is that guy in charge?”
  • What will they hear from management? Will it be professional or just more fast talk and price closing?
  • Transition to F&I: will there be a professional transition or a salesperson yelling, “Hey Larry, are you ready for my deal?”
  • F&I: will they meet a caring, helpful professional or another amateur?
  • Salesperson delivery: will it be professional and effective or “Hurry up and leave so I can get another person up?”
  • Their first contact after delivery: will it be professional and timely, none at all or more amateurish car stuff?
  • First service contact: will it be professional, prearranged and effective or will it feel rushed and ‘who’s next?’

If the first six are negative, won’t those influence how they see the other fifteen?

I hope you realize, the customers’ first impressions will make or break sales in every department, every day.

Remember: You never get a second chance to make a great first impression!

This article was written by:

- has written 56 posts on Agent Entrepreneur.

Joe Verde Sales & Management Training, Inc., is an automotive sales and management training company focused on leadership, management and sales training. Joe Verde holds workshops across North America and pioneered virtual training with JVTN.

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