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The Changing Face of Automotive & Bank Services Selling

I would like to open a discussion about the changes in the automotive and bank services markets right now.

The current economic climate, while damaging all industries, is certainly hitting those two areas with a pretty big hammer.

As professionals in those fields, or interested observers, how do you feel about the current situation?

What good or bad changes do you think will come out of this crisis in those industries?

And, what ideas do you have as to continued survival, transition, and future opportunities for the the sales professional in them?

Thanks, Colleen - by ColleenMullins
In my opinion, the automobile industry needs to supply that which is in demand. If consumers demand fuel efficient vehicles then you would be well advised to have a large selection of those on hand instead of the opposite.

You don't have to be the sharpest tool in the shed to know that people have, do and will continue to want more fuel efficient vehicles. So start building more of them!

Trivia Question - does anyone know what a Ford Model T (circa 1908) got for gas mileage?

Drum roll please... 13 to 21 mpg!

We haven't come very far in the category of fuel economy have we? - by Frankie
I used to sell in the finance sector and i was very successful at it. I am now a trainer, i mostly train and mentor sales people, telesales people but also customer services. Despite the downturn in this sector which it is fair to say is a huge downturn i am succeeding very well in the retention of business and also upselling different styles and flavours of training.

In my opinion and this is just to move slightly away from the directness of the question asked, i think sales people must stop buying into the downturn hype. Everything is cyclical but just because we are at the bottom phase or nearing it doesnt mean things cannot be good. I remember as a Business Development Manager during the late 90's and the buzz of the time was Y2K, my bosses decided to keep increasing my targets. At the time i thought i cant do this, my targets are way too high, its impossible, its unreasonable how am i going to hit target and get paid????? I sat down and realised that things could be far worse, i could be homeless and with no chance of anything in life so i made a commitment to put aside my apprehensions and focus on hitting target, well it took me two months after this realisation to over achieve my target and i missed my first month target by £1000!!!

If you choose to consciously buy into a downturn, recession call it what you want, then you will experience all the connotations associated with recession, downturn etc. In some industries it is just as difficult to sell in a boom period as it is in downturn so makes no difference. The only question that a good sales person should ask is.......what do i want to achieve? and how must i focus on achieving this? - by mine99
Thanks to both of you. I agree with the gas mileage, and do believe changes will come in that area.

Wonderful feedback, Mine99. I couldn't sgree with you more - salespeople do have to quit buying into the downturn, very poignant post! - by ColleenMullins
As an automotive sales consultant I've noticed intresting trends in this. October was the worst month in automotive sales for 90% of the U.S. Manufacturers. Our sales dropped from 300+ units a month down to around 120, yet our high dollar vehicles doubled in sales. We sold 8 Corvettes that month, on of which was the ZR1 which is a $120k vehicle. I believe that its not so much the economy that directly affects the sales, I believe its the consumer's perception of the economy. As for building more fuel efficent cars, I don't believe thats an issue. There are plenty of fuel effiecent cars out in the market today. Every one of the Chevy passanger cars can be rated 30 mpg's highway including the Vette (Corvette Coupe, manual transmission).
As for the banking system, this economical decline has pretty much made the banks do what they should have been doing all along for car loans. Ensuring that the people they give the loans to are the right people. It use to be no problem for a bank to finance 125-130% MSRP of a vehicle. Yes it increased vehicle sales but it also hurt the consumer. Consumers were financing $35,000 on a vehicle worth $30,000. This hurt the consumers in the long run, because when they would go to trade in they would have alot of negative equity that would be xfered to the new car loan and would put them deeper in debt. Today you are lucky to get 110% of MSRP financed which is very benifical to the consumer. Does it make the car sales harder? Sure, but if we wanted an easy job, we wouldn't be in sales in the first place now would we :P - by jrboyd
Thanks JR, Right about the change in financing. I do think it is also more imperative than ever than car salespeople work for money down. Much of the negative equity issue was from % as stated, but also because, in recent years, the trend to "no money down" financing became much more common. Grosses can still be maintained, but it now requires cash down from customer.

Has anyone noticed a change in their backend products dropping since the conumers issue with economy? Are customers still buying backend as often?

Thanks again for participation! - by ColleenMullins
And, what ideas do you have as to continued survival, transition, and future opportunities for the the sales professional in them?
It's very difficult to predict what's going to happen in those two industries at large. The situation for both is very complex, very much a mess, and probably lacking too much in the way of disclosure for us mortals to have a clue. But I'll address your last question, quoted above.

Both of those industries have something very much in common. They are heavy at the top. Opportunities in sales--real opportunities to make good money, are largely dependant on being able to virtually run your career as your very own business. Creative selling, building one's own infrastructure, and networking, and innovative third party marketing might be more difficult. With the possibility of mild panic at the top, a lot of latitude might disappear. - by Ace Coldiron
Actually ace, thats where we are making alot of our money is off the back end. While GM had retag sell, all the sales were considered mini-deals with a set comission of 100-150 depending on the dealership. Because the customers were saving 8-16 thousand dollars front end, it was easier to sell them so accesorries in the back end. - by jrboyd
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