As the old adage goes, the only thing constant in life is change, and the automotive industry certainly isn’t immune to that. With changes in technology — both for the products being sold and in the process of selling them — coming at what feels like the speed of light, planning on doing things the way they’ve always been done won’t cut it anymore.
One of the methods of the past that more and more dealerships are saying goodbye to is having managers alone do auto appraisals.
The role of a manager throughout the business world used to be seen as the be-all/end-all in decision-making, but that idea of a manager needing to have the final say has given way to a more collaborative effort, according to Harvard Business Review, where the manager’s role is no longer restrictive and exclusive as a problem-solver but is now expansive and inclusive as the manager leads all members of the organization to finding answers and solutions.
While it will always be an undeniable fact that managers provide valuable knowledge and experience, this shift to allowing — and even expecting — salespeople to do their own appraisals is a change that, if adopted, is sure to benefit the entire company.
Here are three reasons why more dealerships shouldn’t leave appraisals up to only the managers anymore:
It Will Make the Process More Efficient
Especially in today’s economic climate and continued COVID-induced supply chain difficulties, speed is the name of the game for both the seller and the buyer as any delay in the process can lead to missed opportunities for both.
With the supply of new cars entering the market at such a slow pace, both dealerships and buyers continue to rely heavily on pre-owned vehicles to meet demand. With easily accessible tools like quickly generated OEM window stickers, trade calculators and digital portfolios, trade-ins and appraisals don’t need to be a complicated headache. When salespeople are able to take the initiative and use the tools at their fingertips to handle the appraisals on their own, they become self-sufficient and thereby the overall sales process becomes more efficient.
It Will Preserve the Dealership’s Precious Profits
Directly related to efficiency is profit, as gross profits decline when buying and selling take too long. Although appraisals are just one step in the process, any effort that can be made to maximize time and therefore maximize profit makes a difference. Asking managers alone to provide appraisals is a sure-fire way to bottleneck the process, especially if there are many appraisals needed at once.
Having salespeople handle appraisals allows the dealership to jumpstart their recon to retail timeline and get vehicles moving swiftly through the recon workflow process on their way to the lot and into the garages of their customers.
“A proper appraisal is a reconditioning plan. It will lay out the expectations of the jobs to be done, the expected costs to do it and the value left, which is the appraised value.” (vAuto July 30, 2020). Put succinctly, an efficient process free of administrative roadblocks means more money in your pocket.
It Will Build the Customer’s Trust in the Entire Organization
Customers will tell you how off-putting it is anytime a salesperson uses the phrase “Let me talk to my manager.” Whether they’re buying a car or looking to trade their vehicle, customers want a no-nonsense process to get them the best deal in the least amount of time, with a minimal amount of effort on their part.
Empowering salespeople to be involved in appraisals and intimately familiar with vehicles’ pricing portfolios creates a knowledgeable team in every corner of the dealership. Customers trust salespeople who don’t need to turn somewhere else for the answers and who know the product personally. Transparency in pricing from the top of the dealership down to the salespeople as the boots on the ground — the people who are interacting with the customers — is the best way to build your dealership’s reputation as a credible source. Training salespeople to be involved in the appraisal process creates a dealership culture that customers want to trust.
In conclusion, dealers who invest in cultivating the capabilities of their salespeople in all aspects of the automotive sales process — including appraisals — take a step into the future of the business and allow their dealership’s success to be as constant as change itself.