Confessions of a Car Man


The Case For The Up System

If you ask one of The Others about car salesmen, one of their chief complaints about us is they don’t like to see us standing around upfront “like a pack of jackals” or something to that effect. In this observation they are both right and wrong. It’s just a matter of perception.

One thing that people don’t understand about car salesmen (and I’m surprised how many managers have forgotten it) is that standing around and talking is both natural and necessary to the sales process. I’m not kidding about this. The banter that goes back and forth while waiting for an up is the Car Man equivalent to warm up pitches for a baseball player. A Car Man’s mind and his tongue have to be kept loose and ready for action, and bullshitting is the best way to do it.

The problem is where they do it. Many managers can’t stand salesmen in the showroom unless they’re making phone calls or writing someone up. Some dealerships won’t even let the salesmen in the showroom unless they have a customer with them! So they have no choice but to outside and stand around in clusters taking about things you don’t want to know about—trust me on this.

To make matters worse, T.O. (turn over) houses force their young salesmen to stand outside and hawk for ups. They chase cars down. They call colors. They do all kinds of crazy crap to get an up. Trying to earn a living on the lot becomes as primal as lions chasing down their prey. It’s humiliating for the customer and it’s humiliating for the salesmen alike.

That’s why I want to make a case for the “up system”. The up system for those of you who are Car Man lingo challenged is basically taking turns waiting on people. An actual list is made up and you wait your turn to take an up. Sounds reasonable, but it’s fraught with controversy within the car sales community.

Closers and their sales managers (I refuse to refer to a closer as a sales manager) hate the up system. They don’t consider it aggressive enough. After all, it’s not them running around the lot trying to tackle an up. They don’t think of the image they are projecting to the public or the possible result on their CSI. They just want their guys to get a buyer at all costs.

The solution to all this requires a delicate balancing act between being aggressive or working in what we used to refer to as “an old lady store”. I urge anyone out there who is in management to take a look at how your dealership handles this most important issue.

You know, one of the reasons a salesman is supposed to drive the car first on a demo ride is because the customer’s first impression of a car is the one that lasts. It’s the same thing for the customer’s first contact with the dealership itself. How many customers pass your dealership by because they don’t like what they’re seeing on the point?

But on the other hand you have to let the guys have a place to bullshit without The Others thinking there’s conspiracy going on. Going back to my baseball analogy, I envision modern car dealerships with a bullpen area, just like in baseball. Coupled with the up system, a bullpen would give the guys a place to go and discuss the issues of the day, like climate change for example, or pussy depending on their mood, until they are called upon to wait on a customer.

A case for the up system. A case for bullshitting. Let’s face it. You’ll only read about these things here. Don’t you feel lucky?

Talk to you later,


P.S. If I offended anyone with the pussy reference, my job here is complete.


Anonymous said...

You are so right about the analogy to the bullpen. Say, what about RANDY JOHNSON in a Giants uniform!? That can't be all bad, I don't care how injured Randy might be in actuality... the sight of "The Big Unit" on the mound wearing the black and orange... it HAS to get your blood pumping! Happy New Year... The Chameleon

Anonymous said...

The case for an up system is great for the dealer as well as the weak sales person. It only hurts top producing people.

Anonymous said...

The case for the up system is valid the Skyup system of Seattle is one of the best products on the market today. And the results are authorized

Sales Guy said...

I agree with article 100%. First of all image of the dealership is very important. No body want's to see 10-20 guys standing outside in a huddle smoking cigarettes. Let's look another statistic according to J.D. Power study car salesman work only about 1.5 hours out of 10 hour shift. If your dealership has 10 guys that's 80 hours of brain power wasted in a day. That's lots of wasted time. As a sales guy if your are thinking fresh 'ups" is the only way to go then you are wrong. If you are in for long haul you should be more focused on repeat and referrals because you can make more money from those customers and they are easy to sell it to. The dealer group I work for it has couple of dealerships on store has 30+ sales people and they sell about 450-500 cars for month and second store has about 6-7 salespeople and they sell 50-80 cars per month. Both stores are using Sky Up System. It's an electronic "Up" system. As a salesperson I love it because I never miss a "fresh Up" cuz when me turn is coming up i get a text on my phone, I have all the time to do whatever I want. Managers love it cuz they don't have to worry about having bunch of guys standing outside making the dealership look bad and scare away customers.

Anonymous said...

There's company called "The Next Up" (Home | The Next UpThe Next Up).

They offer a great solution to the issues you are having and more importantly allows the salespeople to manage their time better. They can explain it better, so I'll try to do it quickly, the system monitors the floor traffic and alerts the salespeople when it their turn to grab the next up. Because the system secures a salesperson opportunity to get an up it allows the salespeople to make calls and do other tasks as they wait for "The Next Up". For some reason the dealerships I worked at put the BDC at the back of the showroom with no windows, so time sent in there cost you floor traffic. Do you make calls or sit near a window to watch for the up bus? I demo'ed the product some time ago and thought it was an awesome idea and it would have relieved all the problems with trying to grab ups or all the salespeople racing to the shopper's vehicle and jumping on the hood to claim the up. The system also provides real accountability for the floor up traffic the dealership receives and sees which salespeople are going through ups at an alarming rate without closing deals. Some salespeople "pre-qualify" the ups and decide to turn them loose without following the road to the sale and you'll be surprised with who burns through tons of ups. Plus the system secures the salesperson's place in line so that they can properly work with their existing up and not just up jump.