Just as gas gets cheaper and Auto sales rev up for the July 4th holiday it is surprising that salespeople at auto dealers don't seem to assume that a customer is very likely to have checked on the website offers of the manufacturer. This disconnect between company website and distributor salespeople is amazing because today many folks go to stores like Best Buy for electronics and check prices at Amazon.com. Many younger mobile phone users actually order on Amazon right from the Best Buy store. Sounds unfair to Best Buy and any other brick storefront but this change in consumer search and compare behavior just seems to be accelerating.
So why does a car salesperson not make the default assumption that the prospect would have seen the website deals? Here are some thoughts:
- Marketing and Sales divide is a common problem where the sales organization does not seem to be in sync with the marketing folks. Common complaints before the Internet used to be that marketing people do not seem to have the right brochures available. Today with corporate marketing having the immediate ability to put out deals on websites direct to prospects the distributors and sales people get further out of synch.
- Tradition of ignoring marketing is something the Arthur Miller's Willy Loman type of salesman is really proud of. Just that the Internet and the mobile web changes everything for the shopper and traditional sales folks don't seem to "get' this.
- Salesforce compensation is a factor and one of the drivers here is that salespeople feel the need to be individually and personally responsible for the sale. Obviously the "sales" type personality finds great personal satisfaction operating as the "lone wolf, " and sees the Internet as a crutch.
- Sales force automation changes things in terms of team work but here too an explicit acknowledgement of the online research in today's consumers does seem to be missing.
Sales forces must treat the Internet as an explicit ally. For example, negative comments about the product online should be not only known to the salespeople but preferably addressed as part of the pitch. Similarly, starting with the offers that the manufacturer puts out on the brand website is helpful to the sales processs. And above all, the sales profession is in no danger of extinction, it's just that integrating the Internet to the sales effort will make salespeople far more effective as consumers change. Contact StratoServe.