How does F&I figure in the sales process or more importantly, the Customer Journey these days – now that most of their research is done on-line, before the customer hits the dealership.
How does the traditional, dare I say, Pat Ryanesque BM process of Jamie sells the car and then Dave the BM picks it up at the end, still work? What about those sites where the BM takes an active role in participating sooner in customer interactions – is this still possible with time constraints? With increased legislation, admin burdens, the pressures to hit targets, the need to reach all the KPIs – is a clearly defined, documented and process oriented approach to being a BM actually fit for purpose?
What about the five main critical success factors, dealer processes, getting our heads round the customer experience / journey and even considering how we introduce some “sales wizadry”. How do we consider the huge levels of inconsistency across the piece. All of this is impacted of course by, attitudes of the sales staff, the attitude of the BM, how well trained they all are, how much focus there is on compliance and how well controlled the business is – and of course the main one – how committed to the whole thing (F&I) is the dealership management?
So, is a great Business Manager a tireless, commercially astute, results oriented, people developer with strong leadership, communication and coaching skills? Someone who can see the bigger picture who is just as much at ease talking to the Group MD as s/he is talking to the drivers and valeters? Are they an agile person who can follow process, produce and analyse reports and use them to make good decisions – when / how to coach, when / how to get involved with a customer, when / how to motivate the team, when / how to deal with less positive stuff?
Does that answer the question? Well it does if you agree with that viewpoint and your BM does all of that. But, there are BMs who do a quarter of that and get amazing results. Equally, there are BMs who do 3 quarters of that who produce OK results. Can we then, answer the question – what is the role of the modern BM? Let alone, how it’s evolving?
Oh, but back to the customer…….or more specifically, the Customer Experience?
One thing is worthy of note – since the BM model came to the UK many years ago, and even in the time many of us have been in the sector – the CUSTOMER journey has changed massively. Customers rarely need to “Just look” anymore – they do that on their iPad! Their sensitivity to customer service has been heightened and everything is required now in double quick time! When they do interact with a human, it’s mainly for affirmation and a smile, hospitality and a great experience. The way we make them feel will make a massive difference.
Mapping the customer journey identifies that the point at which the customer is at their lowest, emotionally, in the purchase, is exactly the point at which finance, products, px price and negotiation, typically are happening. So, having blamed the customer if they don’t buy, and then go on and repeat the same to the next one, we console ourselves with, Oh it’s September, Oh it’s because of “brand”, oh it’s because “all buyers are liars” (What??!!), oh it’s because Jamie hasn’t got a clue, or burns customers and even “well Dave the BM, is an idiot!” Meanwhile, the customer HAS bought a car – justaclickaway.com, £299 per month on a PCH, delivered to their door, job done!
A lot to consider then! And that’s without thinking about what’s coming next!
So, the role of the Modern Business Manager?
To be continued………..