The role of the dealer’s sales executives in a customer’s retail journey – and the technology solutions available to you – continue to be vital to establishing the overall credibility of the dealership – and to maximize a dealer’s sales volume and gross margin potential.
Outlining possible customer deal scenarios is an integral part of the buying experience. Desking solutions still matter, but there are other factors that must be taken into account to elevate the buying experience.
It’s been a year since we launched our current desking solution in two new product module packages, mDesking 360 and mDrive SYNC, the latter designed to form a virtual handshake to other solution-providers’ technologies. I have been curious to get specific customer feedback to understand how these product solutions have been embraced by our clients, as well as to assess if there is room to enhance the solutions even more.
I tasked Robert Mancha, our Director of Strategic Relationships, who has more than 10 years of experience as a sales executive with us, to assist some of our clients with in-field coaching as part of the onboarding process. I asked Robert to report back some of his observations on how the products are being perceived – as well as used. Below, I will share some of Robert’s observations as well as provide commentary and my perspective.
Robert’s recent trip took him to the Chicago metro area, where he visited 10 dealerships during the course of one work-week. He worked with more than 30 dealership representatives that included owners, managing partners, general managers, general sales managers, desk managers and finance managers.
Today’s dealerships are being bombarded with technology to grow sales and profitability. There are many new players in the space, all vying for their share of the automotive retailing market. This includes DMS systems, CRM solutions, inventory management solutions and stand-alone desking solutions, to mention a few. Robert found himself looking at side-by-side comparisons of Market Scan’s mDesking 360 functionality compared to those of several other desking solutions. He recognized the challenge dealerships face in trying to understand what makes one desking solution better than another. Visiting the dealerships and reviewing their current sales processes made it clear to Robert what it is that signifies a clear distinction between Market Scan’s solutions and all others.
Robert watched managers produce deals in multiple competitor offerings throughout his week-long trip, and he observed what was a common theme: The focus of every deal constructed within a competitive offering was isolated to a single lender, and in many cases, one program, one term with either retail OR lease selected. This single-lens approach generally seemed to make sense for those sales managers that Robert visited; they were simply unaware of other, potentially much more profitable opportunities at the same deal structure. The fact is that the captive lender is strongest only 45-50% of the time but, if the existing desking solution does not display those better scenarios, sales and profit will be missed. A solution that displays the range of all available lenders’ offerings on every deal, enables desk and finance managers to see better, more profitable deal structures for every conceivable deal scenario – as well as propose even better options for the customers.
Without getting into the weeds of all the parameters and details needed to construct scientifically-perfect deal scenarios, which consider all pertinent data points, Robert made a notable conclusion after sitting through hundreds of deal structures during the course of one week: The vast percentage of deals that had been accepted by the dealership management, on average, missed hundreds of dollars of available profit at the accepted payment and down stroke! In a big store, which might retail 250+ vehicles monthly, the net cost could be $50,000-$100,000 in missed gross – considerably more than that same dealership enjoys in floorplan credits.
All of Market Scan’s solutions, whether mDesking 360 or our mScanAPI which powers other technologies, focus on the profitability of the structure. In other words, you determine “how” you want to sell the vehicle by setting the deal structure in just a few clicks. All that’s left to reveal the most profitable offerings, from your available lenders, is to select “Calculate”.
Market Scan’s systems also correctly applies all standard/automatic (VIN-specific) incentives, and provides a preview of every conditional offer for any given consumer (zip code specific), with all federal, state, county, local and municipal taxation rules and registration fees for all 50 states properly applied. This helps minimize incentive errors and audit exposure.
Additionally, because we also ‘power’ many of the online and digital retailing technology providers, our systems help you and your team quote more competitive, accurate and consistent payments all along the consumer’s buying journey.
As a former dealer principal, the take away for me is simple: In a time where digital retailing and online presence plays an increasingly important part in any dealer’s retailing efforts, giving your sales team access to the best information, data and calculations will help secure your future.
If you would like to discuss this at greater depth, please feel free to reach out to me directly at 805.823.4256 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Thanks for stopping by!
Stephen Smythe, Chief Executive Officer at Market Scan Information Systems