ARE HUNTERS ON THE WAY OUT…?

We all know the comparison between ‘Hunters’ and ‘Farmers’.  Traditionally we look for a team of very hungry hunters for our sales teams because they are the ones who will get the results in the short term, and as we know, it’s all about the short term.
‘Hunters’ are proactive and aggressive. They stalk their prey and attack at just the right moment. They lose a few, but don’t care because they know another opportunity for the ‘kill’ will be along soon.
The ‘Hunter’ personality will be the first to meet the showroom visitor, quickly qualify them and get that deal closed.  But, do we need to re-think our model in modern retailing?  Should we discard the Hunter?

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FARMERS ARE THE FUTURE…

The farming mentality is much longer term, and this has always been the weakness for them in the Motor Industry, because we can’t wait for results.  Even in our B2B departments, a 3 month guarantee is considered a long term investment to give them time to get their ‘feet under the table’.
‘Farmers’ plant seeds, nurture development and reap the rewards further down the line.  They think long term and build for the future.
In sales terms, ‘Farmer’ personalities ‘plant seeds’ nurture relationships and develop long term business. They are superb at gaining referrals and repeat business.

IT’S NOT JUST YOUR PEOPLE…

BUT, it’s not just your people you need to think about.  What is the culture of your whole business? What values do you project on to the teams in your business?  And I do not mean the words you speak, but the actions you take and the priorities you set…
I recently read an article about a Dealership in Michigan US who has opened a ‘Service Facility’ to just do oil changes and tyres – I guess a sort of ‘Fast Fit’ type place.  So what, you say?
Well the facility is 19 Bays (not small then?) and the objective is to ‘Break-Even!’
Why?
Because the owner sees it as a marketing cost.  He sees the way things are going, and that modern retailing is all about the relationship.  It’s about ‘Moments’ as the Google Ad says, and you have to be there in that moment when someone needs or wants what you have.  The 19 Bay Aftersales facility is designed to ensure that they provide their customers with the lowest cost model to keep the long term relationship with the customer to maximise the ongoing sales opportunity.
For the record, I think that this Dealer could provide the same service and make a return on his investment.  It doesn’t need to be the cheapest.  It needs to be competitive, convenient and GOOD!  Setting up a cost centre for no margin seems counter-intuitive to me, but maybe I just don’t understand the American model.

IT’S ALL ABOUT THE BACKEND…

The reason I used the example was that this Dealership clearly understands the way to build and develop the business.
shutterstock_97009754Sure, we should hone our ‘Hunting’ skills, and close more incremental, conquest business.  But the real opportunity lies in how we develop our long term relationships with our customers.
Is your business truly focussed on providing that ‘amazing’ backend experience we are all looking for, is the culture of your business about selling each person more than one car, and also getting them to be ‘Raving Fans’ as Ken Blanchard calls them in his book by the same title, and sending in their friends and family?
Do you have an ‘active list’?  By this I mean a genuine list of customers and potential customers with whom you have dialogue on a weekly basis?
The age has gone when we could have a ‘dormant database’ whom we could contact every three years and hope they might buy their next vehicle from us, or even the annual Service/MOT reminder.
It really is time to examine your attitude towards, and processes for, developing proper relationships between you and your business.

CONCLUSION

If you think we live in a changing world, you’re too late… (it’s changed).
All successful, modern retailers are fully engaged in ‘backend’ marketing relationships and it’s time the Motor Industry joined in.
Remember, please do leave a comment or if I can help in any way please do get in touch.
Until next time…
Good Luck and Good Selling.

Rob

PS.  Look out for details of my FREE WEBINAR – ‘The F-Plan’, coming very soon…