What Is Mystery Shopping for Dealership Sales Teams? 

One major component of any automotive Owner’s or GM’s due diligence is a constant and ongoing evaluation of your sales team members’ skills, growth, consistency, and quality of delivery. If you don’t invest in training upkeep, their skills slowly become outdated and develop holes, and that means one thing for your dealership: lost revenue opportunities.

But you’re already slammed in a dozen different ways. Twenty-four hours simply isn’t enough time to do regular deep dives into each employee’s performance. What’s the answer, then? Internet surveys? Nope, only 44% of those are returned. Receipt surveys? Much worse, with just a 1% return rate. And all of these rely on customer memories being recalled days, even weeks later. 

Mystery shopping, on the other hand, is a precise and accurate tool that will reliably give you an ongoing X-ray of your team’s skill sets. By incorporating mystery shops into your training program, you’ll save time and give your employees actionable advice from real-world experiences they can take to the phones today. If you’re new to this and asking, “What is mystery shopping?”, we’re going to tell you everything you need to know to deploy this fast and powerful technique. 

How Phone Interactions Lead to Revenue

All business boils down to one simple question: “Is my customer satisfied?” In customer service-heavy industries like car sales, that means spending a lot of time on the phone listening carefully, answering specific questions, and supporting a purchase process with all your options and service packages. There are a TON of opportunities to generate revenue in that narrative—and many more to lose it. 

This is why a lot of dealerships have moved to using dedicated business development centers (BCSs) and phone scripts. The specialists in a BDC save time for your sales team by engaging with customers on a range of topics and directing traffic. That frees up the salespeople to focus on giving the customers exactly what they’re looking for and pairing it with financing and service plans that make sense. 

How well they manage those interactions on the phone translates directly to dollar signs. Mystery shops look at what’s really going on during those calls and provide instant feedback on a range of important areas. 

These evaluations will:

  • Measure your sales team’s performance and productivity.
  • Gauge how well your sales team supports your brand message.
  • Evaluate every aspect of your sales plan, from lead generation to follow-up calls.
  • Identify revenue opportunities that are being left on the table.
  • Make sure those appointments are asked for—and set!
  • Provide real-world examples of what to change and how to change it.

How Does Mystery Shopping Work?

Mystery shopping involves trained consultants going undercover posing as customers so they can experience your sales team’s skills and delivery.  This eliminates the observer bias that gives you a false picture of what’s actually going on. After all, if your team knows the boss is in the room they’re going to behave much differently, and you need to know how they perform on an average call. 

Is mystery shopping the best way to evaluate your talent? The data doesn’t lie: while any method of data collection has its flaws, mystery shoppers consistently deliver higher quality data that is more accurate than any collected through other channel metrics, such as receipt surveys. 

More importantly, it is conducted with a professional and exacting approach that has more in common with a science lab than a random collection of individual opinions.

These calls:

  • Use trained professionals.—these people know how to blend in and not tip off your sales team.
  • Test specific sales tactics. Mystery shoppers find out what’s costing you money, and can explain what to change afterwards. 
  • Explore aspects of service. Because mystery shops are live experiences, they allow for digging deeper into interactions that may be costing opportunities. 

After the call, your training partner breaks down their results and creates a report covering everything that went well and highlights key areas that can be improved. These are often shared with the entire time, and it’s not meant to shame! In many cases, these lessons apply to everyone, so it’s good to make them teachable moments. 

What Is Mystery Shopping Going to Bring to My Business?

With the best companies bringing you super-accurate data, you can begin to pinpoint existing systemic issues, emerging problems, skill and presentation drift, and consistency. Only once you know why your KPIs aren’t where they need to be can you begin actually moving the needle on them. 

Here are some areas you can expect to improve through mystery shops:

  • Higher appointment and conversion rates
  • More efficient communications and customer service
  • Optimized lead generation
  • Increased referral rates 
  • Higher engagement with service agreements and in-house service departments
  • Durable customer relationships and loyalty

These are all key areas for building your business, and all of them lead to higher commissions and more job satisfaction for your employees. Even if they’re a little hesitant to participate, once your team starts seeing the results on monthly sales goals and in their paychecks, they’ll definitely be on board.

Choosing the Right Partner

Of course, mystery shopping by itself is not going to deliver you the results you need. It is a measurement tool that allows you to make sure your training, policies, strategic vision, and dozens of other variables are impacting your business.

That means finding an expert training partner who knows how to use mystery shops as part of an overall dealership strategy—and that’s why you need Phone Ninjas

At Phone Ninjas, we’ve turned training your sales teams and BDCs to generate revenue into an art form. We work one-on-one with each staff member to develop their skills over time to make sure everyone is learning as thoroughly and quickly as possible. 

And once our mystery shoppers evaluate your team’s hard work, we again meet with them individually to work on any lingering issues and celebrate the successes they’ve already achieved.

If you‘re still wondering, “What is mystery shopping going to do for my dealership sales teams?”, drop us a line! We’re so sure you’ll love us, we start out with a complimentary demonstration and two free mystery shops.

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