Mercedes-Benz dealers managed to take the first place in the 11-month mystery shopping study by Pied Piper Management.
Pied Piper used 5,203 mystery shoppers, who repeatedly visited automakers’ dealerships to analyze their techniques and processes to create the Prospect Satisfaction Index. According to Pied Piper CEO Fran O’Hagan the survey is different from the one made by J.D. Power and Associates’ Sales Satisfaction Index, as “Power only measures everything after the customer says, ‘I’ll take it.’”
“It’s all the stuff before then that matters. We’re measuring how effectively the sales team sells,” O’Hagan said.
There are several methods which seem to work for all automakers; trying to get the buyer to the negotiating table or offering a test drive are among the most successful tactics which end with a deal. Still, some dealership use neither of these methods. Although many salespeople sell themselves and the car, there are few who offer customers a compelling reason to make a purchase from their specific dealership.
“The best dealerships have a process. It’s not the Wild West where you get to sell the way you want to,” O’Hagan said. “If you have a brilliant sales team selling out of a circus tent, you are going to do all right in the short term. If you have a lousy sales team in an incredible building, you’re in trouble.”
Mercedes-Benz took the first place, followed by Infiniti, Lexus, Audi, GMC, Hyundai, Jaguar and Kia, while at the bottom of the list are Fiat, Lincoln, Chrysler, Mazda, Mitsubishi and Scion.