How To Sell More Cars at a Dealership Today

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Strategies we can put into action to sell more cars at a dealership right now - not how it was back in the good ol' days, not how it's gonna be in a few years unless we do this, that or the other thing, not even how it was just a couple of years ago during the pandemic - How to make the cash register ring TODAY 

How To Sell More Cars Podcast

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This episode HOW TO SELL MORE CARS AT A DEALERSHIP TODAY recorded live on 6.7.23 - Full Transcript below


  • How to sell more cars. 0:04
    • Introduction to Terry Lancaster, author of How To Sell More Cars.
    • What's changed in the automotive industry.
    • What's changed at car dealerships in the last three years.
  • Making more friends and selling more cars. 4:30
    • Facebook is an 850 pound gorilla.
    • 95% of the adult population is a monthly facebook user.
    • Facebook and LinkedIn are two-way communication.
    • Make more connections and not just make more noise.
  • The robots are coming for your job. 7:23
    • Watch out, the robots are coming for your job.
    • AI Chatbots now beat the Turing Test
    • The only constant in the car business is change.
  • How can you help us with facebook? 12:42
    • The importance of being connected at every point.
    • A year from now, facebook will be a reminder.
    • Check in at the dealership every day.
  • How to use reviews as social proof. 17:45
    • The power of social proof and reviews.
    • Why frequency is the key to the unconscious mind.
    • Make sure to make friends on facebook.
    • The average person has zero car salespeople as friends.
  • Be social, not salesy. 22:50
    • Be social, not salesy. Be social.
    • You don't have to be kanye famous to be famous.
    • Getting ahead of the deal and connecting with people before they raise their hand to buy a car.
    • The biggest changes in the car industry.

Big Time Radio Announcer Voice Guy 0:04
How to sell more cars.

Terry Lancaster 0:08
Hey everybody, welcome to the How to sell more cars Podcast. I'm Terry Lancaster and I'm also the author of How to sell more cars I wrote the book How to sell more cars just about three years ago but it's right in the middle of right in the middle of everything is shut down. So I one thing I did in the middle of COVID is I have been doing my podcast, Dawn was going to get you some radio show. And I had been doing the luggage some radio show, and I went ballistic right after right after COVID started, and I interviewed every Barisan at every store I could get my hands on and just just quick five minute interviews. What's going on on the ground right now? William J was one of the ones that I had had a chance to talk to you back then when this was going on. And what we did, what came out of that is that out of all those interviews and all the dozens of interviews I've done with some of the top performing salespeople in the automotive industry and some of the best sales trainers in the automotive industry as I took all that information and coalesce it into the house, sell more cars book, How to sell more cars, make more friends, sell more cars, make more money, have more friends, sell more cars. And the thing about writing a book is you think books are forever right?

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Terry Lancaster 1:22

So we spent the last couple 1000 years building these huge libraries to store all the books because books are permanent records and you sit down with the computer screen and you put all these words into the book and you finally get it back and you go well, there it is. I've got the book and you think it's forever. But the thing is, nothing lasts forever. So what I wanted to do tonight was have a little bit of a conversation about what's changed in the last three years since COVID. Since since everything made, you know COVID overnight, change everything but then as we came out with COVID It's been a ride since into we've gone through all these changes, you know, as we came out of COVID then the inventory crisis yet the inventory crisis hit and it didn't matter that people could come back to the lot because the dealers didn't have any cars on the lot. So I know a ton of dealers who had a chance to get new asphalt on the car lot over the last couple of years, because ain't had no cars walking away. So you had all that going on. So I sat down just this last week and I recorded and afterward I was recording the audio book for how to sell more cars which is going to be released here in the next couple of weeks. But as I was recording the audio book, I wanted to record a an afterword of what the changes are in the last three years. So I dug in over the last 12 weeks and I reached out to some folks and asked people their opinions and tried to hear back from them about what's changed. And I put that in the in the audio book. What's changed just in the last three years not over the last 10 years. Not since the internet started not since all the lead the lead providers came in that sense Facebook got so strong, and well what's changed over the last three years. And honestly, one of the things that I was going to talk about when I was in the afterword was I was thinking that I needed that puts a comment in there about about Facebook because a lot of what I talked about in the book is using Facebook to connect with with your customers. Because Facebook I said at the time was the 800 pound gorilla of social media. We talked about social media, he was talking about Facebook, and over the last couple of years, I had kind of gotten the impression that maybe Facebook was slipping. When you when people start talking about about Facebook, talking about social media. All they want to talk about is they talk about Instagram and they talk about tick tock I happen to use LinkedIn a lot actually. So LinkedIn is really surpassed Facebook for me in terms of why I use because most of my customers are the general managers and dealer principals of car dealerships, and I have a better contact with them on LinkedIn than on Facebook. But for people who sell cars for a living, Facebook is the 800 pound gorilla because Facebook is everybody. I was I was fully prepared to say that maybe I needed to back off Facebook and start looking at some other areas to connect with the customers until I did the research. And over the last three years since I wrote the book. Facebook has done nothing but continue to grow if it was the 800 pound gorilla three years ago. It's an 850 pound gorilla. Now just last year in 2022 alone, Facebook added 10 million new average monthly users that's people who log on to the site every single month they have an account. They check at least once a month they had 10 million of those just last year. Bringing their numbers up to 95% of the United States and North America 95% of the adult population is a monthly Facebook user, they have a Facebook account, and they use it every month. They're going to be there. So what I what I said in the board is now you know two things. You know the old central purpose of the book is to encourage people to make more friends and sell more cars because if you sell cars for a living the world as a target rich environment. Everybody drives a car everybody you've ever met drives a car but you've ever pointed me as you live in New York City or Uganda. Everybody's car buyer one day so you're later. The only thing you know about every person you meet in person you're going to meet everybody you see on the street, everybody drive fast. Everybody knew they needed to grocery store, their car buyer. There's a 95% chance they're gonna be on Facebook. So they're going to be on Facebook soon. So if you're using Facebook I've said before it's the world's greatest CRM and it continues to be so but if the note that I added in there was that you know it tick tock is your jam and you love making videos and getting out and doing things and putting yourself out there, right? Use it. If you if you're if you're an instant Instagram briefing you love getting pictures and taking pictures and sharing them all over look good on you. Do more of that. You know if you ask Snapchat if you if you if you if you deal with a lot of business cards, customers, entrepreneurs, or you're a member of the Rotary Club and you connect with everybody on LinkedIn Great Good on you do more of that if you want to connect with people, however, you're already connecting with them, however they want to be connected with. That's all great. A caveat that I put in there was that make sure you're making more connections and not just making more noise. Use fate that's what and that's what I like about Facebook and LinkedIn is that they're two way communication people can confuse people confuse social media with with an advertising platform like radio or TV and you know Vic, you know I'm all about big ol loud Radio and TV spots, but they are one way communication if you're talking to people, when you're when you're talking about social media, specifically Facebook, specifically LinkedIn, it's a two way conversation. It's about making those connections. Because if you don't have the connections, you can boast all the Facebook Lives that you want. You can record all the videos that you want. You can do all everything that you want. But if you don't have the connections, you just screaming into an empty room. So make more friends sell more cars that continues to hold as true today as it did three years ago, when I put it in book. 

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Terry Lancaster 8:37

I said in the book that the robots are coming for your job. And if you want to be in the car sales business for the long term, you're going to have to do the one thing that the robots can't do the one thing that Madison Avenue won't do, and the one thing that the world's greatest salespeople have always done and then is to build better relationships. The robots can't build relationships because they're robots. Only you can make them we can make more friends. But the robots are here routinely just just in the last few months and since the beginning of this year chat GPT for open AI whatever it is called it has come out and it's really turned everything upside down. And if there's not now there soon will be on that. One company I know about a deep release today about how they're making AI and if there's not a robot that can take a lead from from from start to finish from from click, click click click Done. It's going to happen soon. If you combine digital retailing with it with a chat robot it lets that they can do all the deed you know that's that's going to be possible and those robots are working on commission too. It's your commission somebody's got to pay for the robots. And if that doesn't happen, then you got the Eevee situation where they're, you know, like impossibly completely sell around the dealership with with a Tesla, challenging all the dealer franchise laws and Ford splitting things up so that they don't have to abide by the franchise. Laws for for their ED sides of it. So the robots and electric vehicles are coming from the dealership structure and the end AI. I talked I talked in the afterword about the Turing test or for the last time your ears, nerds and sci fi aficionados and computers have talked about the Turing test. Which is the test that that if you're if you're dealing with a computer, or if you're engaging with a computer, the Turing test is whether you know that's completely blind. You can tell if it's a robot or a computer on the other side, and they never could pass the Turing test until this year and you could be chatting along just by typing it in with a robot and you would never even know it. There are a million times better than a lot of Indian boiler rooms that they had set up before to do a lot, a lot of this stuff. So the robots are coming for your jobs, and they're here. That's one of the big changes. But the biggest change I've seen in the last three years and when I talk to dealers over the last couple of weeks about this, the biggest change is actually the fact that it's not really different. The biggest change is the all the stuff that happened. Boom overnight when COVID struck. We had to go heavy we had to go to a lot more. A lot more distance selling a lot more asynchronous selling using video and selling to faraway places and delivering cars. What seemed like a novelty three years ago, is just another day in the life out I got a buddy Mitch James of Victoria agenesis in British Columbia. He told me he said, you know, the thing is that this is just everyday now, every day we're dealing with customers from all over Canada. Because during the crowded COVID crisis, when you couldn't find a vehicle you were looking for, you had to broaden your search to look all around. And then when you start looking all around, you realize that you can compete a dealer in Carbondale, Illinois, against a dealer in Charlotte, Charlottesville, West Virginia, and you know that your competition isn't just the dealer on your street now isn't just the dealer up and down the motor mile. It isn't even the dealer the next town over is the dealer all across the world. And it's even more than that. It's not just the dealers around the world. It's everyone your customers do business with your customers get we used to doing business a certain way and that's the way they want to do business with Mitch Toby's. And you know what customers get used to buying cars this way, and they can buy it over the phone, sitting pet sitting on the couch watching TV, and that's the way people are gonna buy cars and that's the way they're doing it because that's the way they buy their toilet paper on Amazon. That's the way they buy their televisions on They, you your competition is whoever your customers are spending money with and they want it to be as easy and as quick to to buy cars from you as it is to buy I can pull the paper from Amazon and COVID That hasn't changed. It's COVID That's the way it always is. The only thing that's changed is the change is happening faster now. The only constant in the car business is constant change. And that's what I'll talk about in the halfwords book and that's all I had to talk about today was those three things AI popping up on social media was was was basically still Facebook and and then how the what seemed like a novelty just a few years ago is actually ordinary customer a day to day business now in the car business so if there's anyone getting anything they want to add to that. Any questions or anything else you want to talk about. Will you go ahead and chime in? Did you want to shoot me a message through the chat bar? I'll be happy to answer any questions or anything you want to talk about William J.

William J McCormick 12:54
Yeah, so anyhow, was that piece that you're just talking about? I mean, I was just I got a phone call today from a customer that I hadn't seen for like three years. But because my number was saying my cell phone was saved for theirs. When they got their car totaled in an accident. recently and I found out about today that you have the insurance company already saddled up and and she's an employee replace it with another one. So she's put me on test if I have one and this is again just keep in mind this is a customer that I had at my last store that followed with me, right? Because

Terry Lancaster 13:36
as you can do because you were in hurtness you were in her phone and she was in your phone. Yeah. And so that's that's that's that's the main thing that is one thing I talked about is because social media, social media, even though even if it does say David something happens in Facebook isn't the 800 pound gorilla. It doesn't matter because the job is still designed. The job is making connections and making friends and social media, whether it's Facebook, or whether your cell it's your cell phone and text messaging. Those are just the tools that you gotta use. And the fact is you got to use every tool in the shed, because you don't know what's going to be what's going to be strong. Three years from now when they wreck the car and you got to and you've got to be connected. At every point. You can make sure you're connected on LinkedIn, make sure you're connected on on Facebook and make sure your number is in their phone.

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Terry Lancaster 14:42
It says how can you help us with Facebook?

William J McCormick 14:47
Facebook is great for a couple things specifically. Okay. You're going to tap into the network of whoever it is that you're selling the car to as you're making those connections with. So then you're spending your own audience by proxy, right? But you're also going to have those posts to come up a year later for the anniversary of internet. Picture coming back up. As a reminder, you're gonna get reminders if you're connected and have their birthday. wish them happy birthday. stay top of mind that way. It's like you said it's a CRM, you can go go into it that way. And look in that regard and say on top of everything I've got, I've got a routine every morning and when to check the Facebook messages but also want to check to see who's ever birthday they were they message those at least I've got that out there for the day. First first thing I did before the thing is

Terry Lancaster 15:48
here's the Facebook tip. His routine is to come in. You come in you look on because it says who's everybody's birthday is and you can go set it goes go wish them a happy birthday. One thing I advise salespeople do is when you get to the dealership every morning, check in at the dealership if you're not using if you're not doing anything else if you're not used to doing anything else or if you're not posting anything else on Facebook. If you just go check in at the dealership and dock I'll be glad to show anyone who doesn't know how to do that how to do that. But you're checking into the dealership and let your Facebook friends know that the giraffe the dealership is where you work and that you like working there that you're proud to work there that you're having a good time there. It's a fun place to be nothing scary about being here at all. And you check in and remind them every day of where you are and what you do and how you can help them and that they've got a friend in the car business. So you check in at the dealership then if you sell a bar, you make sure that your customers, you make sure your salespeople are making friends with those customers and posting their pictures and tagging them in those pictures that way like William was saying, a year from now Facebook will automatically remind you and them that hey, one year ago today you are you bought a vehicle and the dealership and the salesperson you bought it from and it gives you a chance to remind them and go in and say that and most importantly because every person in America who has Facebook page has on average 250 to 300 Facebook friends if you're tagging them in a picture delivery vehicle, and a year later, it's reminding them that the GMO the devil here then it's reminding them and their 250 closest friends.

William J McCormick 17:33
Exactly. And then the other caveat is when you're done with glyphosate and you got that delivery done. Everybody shaking hands and they're ready to go home right? But ask for the review. The reviews are huge and you'd have had this talk many times Terry? Because then that becomes social proof that lives forever. On Google, Facebook and wherever else. Yelp wherever sites it is used right? So incorrect into the edge your audience is utilizing to find the dealership. Then you can you can go ahead and cap screen read that you can add that to a post you can catch yourself a little bit of time, right hey, thanks for the great review tank customer for the review and just use this as a as a little bit of a more social proof convenience. If you tell you the customer you're tagging all their friends arcs and follow them. So you're expanding your eyes and people can look out and see you in the repetition for each. You know mess I remember right?

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Terry Lancaster 18:42
Frequency is the key to the unconscious mind. That's how you get in there.

William J McCormick 18:47
So the more frequently they pop up, the more they're gonna be like we check them out.

Terry Lancaster 18:54
Exactly. Yeah, and the the thing about reviews is it doesn't make any difference and this is always amazes me so I always take the chance to point it out is you might think that reading a review on Facebook or reading a review on Google or on Yelp or on Amazon or wherever well okay, you look at that pretty much with the same eyes that you would view a radio or TV spot that's electronic communications, but people don't look at it that way. They look at something they read down a review with five star beside it that is just as powerful to them as if it was a referral coming from the best friend sitting right in the chair beside and they psychologists have done this and anytime they see an imprint, human beings are heard preachers no one wants to test the waters on your own. But if you can, if you can find out oh all these old people are buying from William William J. All these people are giving him five stars. Look at all the nice things I have to say about them. When I was in college, I was dating I used to I had this little joke every time I would see my wife I'd see my girlfriend, I can say something about you know, you know, don't forget I'm a nice guy and a wonderful human being and a repeated over and over and over long enough that she started to believe it and then she married me and we've been together 35 years so me meet me pushing the frequency button about a nice guy was it must have stuck big had a question about doesn't it get overwhelming for people, for the customers with with all the salespeople on Facebook and all the all photos everyday. And anybody else talking about the stupid? The two things I as I say about this is number one, make sure you're making more friends and not just more noise, you know, talk about what's going on but you don't have to be on there five times a day talking about vehicles and we've got we've got new new Chevy Silverados for 199 A month or 299 a month or 499 a month or we got new snow tires on sale in every communication on Facebook doesn't have to be an app. It just has to be your life living your life out loud. You know what your what's going on at the store people at the store having a good time people want you know, on the fourth of July out there cooking hot dogs and and barbecue and hamburgers and making sharing the behind the scenes stuff going on at the dealership so it's not going to get overwhelming unless it gets cheesy. If you're on there 10 times a day. Just sell it now. Just making deals Hurry up get on here together. They're going fast and it sounds like a big ol loud radio commercial. Then yeah, people are gonna get tired of that. But so don't do that all day. The other thing is and this this is the beautiful thing of what I love about Facebook and so the average person in America has 250 to 300 friends on Facebook. But the average person in America has almost zero car salesman salespeople that they're connected to on Facebook zero. So if you get on there and you're one of their if you're one of their 300 friends, but you're the only one who sells cars you have a completely dedicated market. So it's not like me, most of this car salespeople I know they're connected to a million other cars on people and if you go look at my thing, it's car sales all day long because I'm connected I got 5000 connections up next to dealers were Moosejaw Manitoba the Moose Jaw Saskatchewan in Miami, Florida. 1000s of car salespeople were already there so mine is mine This car is far sells all the time. Because that's what I'm interested in and that's what I'm looking for. But you know the average Joe Blow he's not connected to that many sit many people first of all, that many salespeople people in the bar business third ball, and that's not what he's interested in. He's interested in hunting and fishing and his kids soccer games and going bowling, and that's what's on his timeline. And then every once in a while, there'll be something for his friend in the car business and showing what you've got going on at the dealership. What's fun and going on going out of juice store.

William J McCormick 22:50
And you know, our good friend Matt kid who is just as you may have heard is saying that he can for years be social not salesy, right. So I switched dealerships two years ago the company I'm with them made me an offer because I like what you do on social media and everything. But the title sponsor of a weekly concert series entail so if you'd like you know, go out there and you can promote yourself there. So they give me a chance to take the stage every week. Right? Well, it's kind of a daunting thing, right? A little nervous doing that first half, but you know, last week I decided to do something different. I went live backstage before it's my turn to talk and I'm back there and I'm showing the first band up on stage. And the title of it is you know, backstage allowance and overnight I well over 200 views of that video. Yeah. And I'm not doing a very big degree because there's really not a ton of people in this in this marketplace.

Terry Lancaster 24:04
What's the population in their town boy.

William J McCormick 24:08
I don't know the exact time really. They you know, if you took the expanded area, it's probably 50,000

Terry Lancaster 24:16
Yeah. And that's what I'm telling you. What is it you don't have to be? There's such a thing. It's called Facebook famous and the joke is that makes you like Monopoly rich, except Except it's not. Except it's not because Facebook famous means I have 5000 friends who know like and trust me, and I'll get 5000 friends who know like and trust me and those are happy little to happen. They'd be potential customers. For me. That's all that's all you will ever need. You can make a living on 5000 People who know like and trust you you did you had something going on, don't go wrong. So it means you don't have to be Kanye famous. You don't have to be one of the Kardashians you just you can be a micro celebrity just by connecting with the with the right people and delivering the right message and staying involved in their life. And that's everything I've talked about is if you want customers to keep showing up in your life you got to keep showing up and there's

William J McCormick 25:15
yeah with the with the social media. One of my mentors Gannett Katie, Nick Casey's one of the corporate trainers at Toyota. And and he he used to say you want to you want to become like the unofficial mayor of your town virtually anywhere on social media. And by that just means you can make sure that when you go out about people, people tell you they know you they know what you do. And the more more people that you're going to run into this. They recognize you and know what you do. If they see you. I can't tell you how many times I go out in public and I get pulled aside and given this one talk about commerce, we'll get into a conversation, then you know, we're working on a car deal for them or maybe other family members if they're trying to refer over to me that there is about availability or something like that. So, you know, it's, it's just one of those things where the more you put out there, the more interactions you're gonna have. You know, you don't want to be one of those guys. It's just out there, waiting for the next car. To pull up on the law and being the law of culture. You won't be sitting in your office type one but when they come in, you know exactly what you're doing.

Terry Lancaster 26:35
One of the things I talked I talked about in the afterwards the book is with with, with all the social without social media changes with all the technology changes, all the industry changes going on. The only way the only way for you to stay in the deal is to get ahead of the deal because you're out on the lot waiting for it. If you're sitting by the phone waiting for it to rain if you're if you're waiting for a lead to come in, eventually someone else is going to be there to do that part. And maybe maybe, maybe the robots will cut you in for half the many deals that they make when they sell that car on TPT. Maybe they just pay you 50 bucks an hour to deliver it. But if you want to stay in the deal, you got to get ahead of the deal and that make that means connecting with people before they raise their hand to say I want to buy a car and being their friend in the car business make the mayor being out and about talking to people shaking hands kissing babies, William it's 733 I promise everybody can get out of here right at 730. So we'll keep it quick, quick and short. I'm going to give you the last reaction. I'm gonna ask you a question. My question was, I've been working on this for about three weeks, three years, just going back three years back to the summer of COVID and summer of 2020. To where we are right now what do we think are the biggest changes in the car business and the marketing and sales and corporate cars have been?

William J McCormick 27:57
The probably the openness of information is everywhere. You know you don't have to show up to know about what cars there. If you give a reason people come to the dealership now is availability to give you a webpage to train and get on time to visit.

Terry Lancaster 28:17
And you get that wet signature on the front porch. So if the deal works, it can be done and I can find out everything they need online. There are people who will sell them a car without ever having to set foot in the dealership if they have to go meet the wet signature. They are however it has to be done. So and once once people get used to that, and that's nothing new. It's just happening faster with more regularity. So this is the way things are gonna be everyone will see you next time you'll be good

Terry Lancaster Automotive News

Who the %@#! is Terry Lancaster?

I help car dealers and salespeople sell more cars, make more money, get more reviews, more referrals, and more repeat business by building deeper, stronger, more authentic relationships. I’ve worked with thousands of dealer principals, managers, and salespeople providing proven strategies for making the cash register ring.

Over the years, I've helped thousands of dealers sell millions of cars by putting the right words in the right order to tell the right story. How can I help you tell yours?

My #1 best selling books have received glowing reviews from around the world thanking me for the actionable, life-changing ideas they present.

I’ve been featured in Automotive News & Forbes, spoken at the NADA national convention and from the TedX stage, and came in second place at my Eighth Grade debate championship.

Winner Winner. Chicken Dinner!

In my personal life, I've survived Cancer... twice. I've had a gun held to my head and a knife held to my throat. I've been inside a building that was hit by a tornado, onboard one boat that sank and two planes that I was sure were about to crash. 

I lived through three teenage daughters and I've been married over 35 years... in a row!

When I'm not battling for truth, justice and the American Way, I spend most of my free time, like every other middle-aged, overweight, native southerner, at the ice rink playing hockey.

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