7-Steps is Dead…Long Live Shopping

The 7-steps to the sale is dead. It was born in a time when information was scarce and franchise networks held a monopoly on supply of new cars… but when that changed so did its usefulness. Today, it is in fact as dead as a Norwegian Blue in a Monty Python sketch.

The evidence is right in front of our noses as see we our customers voting with their feet and choosing other channels to research, buy and trade their cars.  There is something we can do to reverse this trend but first we need to put any remains of the 7-Step process to rest. It has served us well but is, as they would say in Monty Python this process is no more! It has ceased to be! It’s kicked the bucket and shuffled off it’s mortal coil… this is an ex-process… if you want franchise retail networks to survive that is.

The roots of 7-step stretch back into 80’s.  It was a time when Harry Enfield had “Loadsamoney”, Thatcher was in power, people were buying houses for the first time, they felt well off and wanted nice cars but could only buy them from franchise dealers who had a monopoly. Simple economics will tell you that when demand outstrips supply you have yourself a turkey shoot when it comes to sales. In the 80’s we could sell cars any way we wanted to so we chose a quick way, a lazy way… the 7-steps.

Back in the day, it may have worked, but not anymore!  You can tell because customers are flocking in their thousands to the internet and in many cases simply try their hardest to miss out the franchise network all together with on-line used car trading and the rise of the broker.  It is not that the internet is a great experience (you can’t feel or drive the car you want), it is just that there is no pleasurable alternative. Go to a dealer and the chances are someone will try to grind you through a 80’s sales process built for another, less competitive time and tell you to “come back when you’re ready to buy”. Today information is everywhere, expectation is higher, we can make more cars than customers, and Harry Enfield’s “Loadsamoney” probably got laid off and is on benefits.

So what should we do to put retail franchise networks at the heart of the consumers buying preference? It is simple: Browse. Think about it; shopping, is the favourite hobby of millions of people.  People enjoy visiting stores for leisure. They make themselves familiar with objects of desire, perhaps over multiple visits and buy while they are there. Making the franchise dealer a destination experience, that encourages people to stay a while, enjoy and literally “shop” is the key to retail success in the future. Don’t be fooled into a facelift, info pods and persuasive colours.  That is part of the solution but not enough on its own. No, it will be the experience your people deliver that will make your business fit for browsing and good for buying.  If you are prepared to let your customers leisurely shop, browse and choose you may suddenly find customers coming back to dealerships and buying more than ever before.
Momentum™ by TALENTStream is a sales journey designed around a shopping experience and sales increase by an average of 37% when you let people browse and simply enjoy shopping for a car.

For more information, contact John Gardiner at TALENTStream.

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