Anyone who’s spent time at a dealership knows the usual suspects. There’s the finance team, the managers, and of course, the service guys, and they all have their areas. But without fail, every time you look up, you wonder, “What is a sales consultant at a car dealership doing?” It seems like everything at once, and they can be staring into an engine block in the bay one minute and selling a hybrid on the other end of the lot the next.
At auto dealerships, the term “sales consultant” is usually synonymous with “sales representative.” Most of what they do is well understood: dealing directly with customers, explaining the features of different products, and serving as the front line of the dealership. But in reality, they have to be a jack-of-all-trades as well as a master of many, and it takes a talented person to put it all together and get those numbers soaring.
Fortunately, a winning sales consultant doesn’t have to be born. With an excellent training program to develop their business savvy and phone skills, an associate with a little talent can become a world-champion salesperson. So let’s look at what makes a great automotive sales consultant—and find out if a coaching program can help your team excel.
An Explanation of Benefits
So, what is a sales consultant at a car dealership? Simply put, they’re the in-person face, voice, and gentle hand that guides customers to a satisfying purchase after making contact. That means they’re responsible for both the bottom line and the top-down strategy for representing your brand with consistency, empathy, and professional charm.
However, a sales consultant’s role goes beyond simple transactions. They’re your diplomats out in the field building strong relationships and cementing customer loyalty. They’re psychologists and financial consultants prepared to offer solutions that cater to individual needs while closing profitable deals. While customers might initially think of them as an opponent who wants to squeeze as much money out of them as possible, they’ll quickly discover a great sales consultant is a valuable ally who can guide them to a better outcome with respect and expertise.
The game is also in a constant state of evolution, so sales consultants always have to be updating their skills. The reality of the modern industry is that customers often arrive with an idea of what they want based on online research. That said, they’re often open to professional guidance from an informed expert, and knowing how and when to deviate from a sales script can be an art form.
By proving their proficiency through disciplined brand messaging and nuanced interactions, a salesperson can nurture the customer along with answers to common objections and concerns, considerate financing and product options, and do so while making them feel cared for and respected.
Sales Consultants Are in the Pipeline, Not the Funnel
In past decades, a sales consultant was the first point of contact with a dealership’s brand. However, in the internet age, that’s simply not the case. Most customers have been interacting with a dealer’s website long before they walk on the lot, and that means they’ve already forged a few digital relationships and expectations with your business.
That might seem minor, but it’s actually crucial to understanding how to train a sales consultant. They are no longer the initial point of contact making a first impression for your company. They are a continuation of a customer’s experience with your brand that started long before anyone picked up a phone.
It has its romance, but the days of the slick-talking sales maverick are over. Like the dating and social media experiences of Millennials and Gen Zers, the transition from online to face-to-face is a carefully choreographed dance. The 21st-century salesperson needs to be prepared to take over where their company’s digital avatar left off, and it’s not an experience you can fake with raw talent alone.
This is where scripts are revolutionizing modern sales. The best of the best on the floor tend to think sales scripts are for improving lesser associates—and with the right agency they absolutely will give your team and your sales a boost. But a truly great script and coaching strategy helps your people create a seamless and comfortable transition for the customer from the first online interaction to the in-person meetup.
It’s one of the most important dynamics in modern sales, and navigating the transition from online to in-person can be the difference between falling flat and falling in love with the sales consultant on the other end of the line.
Coaching Phone Skills to Boost Sales Consultant Performance
So, what is a sales consultant at a car dealership? They’re some of your most valuable and dynamic employees who might need a little guidance with sales, and can always use new techniques and strategies to make the most of their leads. That’s where a great phone sales coach can help.
With so much of the sales process shifting to remote interaction, most customer communication happens over the phone. That means your phone strategy has to be rock solid from the get-go, and aligned with the messaging they’ve been interacting with online.
So, ask yourself this question instead: “How are my sales consultants doing on the phone?” If you’re not sure, it might be time to consider a free mystery shop from Phone Ninjas, which will give you an unbiased picture of the phone and online customer experience.
Because we recognize the pivotal role phone sales play in modern auto dealerships, Phone Ninjas designed an active coaching program tailored to each sales consultant. After initial certification, our non-disruptive and bite-sized coaching sessions drill down into each salesperson’s individual strengths and growth areas.
Instead of a “shock and awe” approach with big conferences and endless classroom roleplay, we focus on real-world calls and practical results. At Phone Ninjas, our results speak for themselves: the most engaged dealerships with our program see appointment set rates at 80% or higher.
Give your sales consultants a boost on phone sales with our expert coaching team, and connect with Phone Ninjas today!
As the Vice President of Phone Ninjas, Chris delivers leadership, coaching, and mentorship to 55 team members providing software sales and phone skills coaching. He fosters powerful partnerships and collaborations with leaders across various business sectors, establishing expectations, communicating vision, and escalating performance to maximize productivity and effectiveness.