First Impressions  (continued)
Management gets so busy, that it’s easy to overlook what your
prospects see when they come to your dealership. So take a minute
and step back to the other side of the curb and take a look at your
dealership from your customer’s perspective. What are they seeing?
Copyright © 2008 Automotive Dealers Network. All rights reserved.
By Joe Verde
Joe Verde Sales & Management Training
Joe Verde has been in the car business since 1972 and has
been through all of the “ups and downs” of the Automobile
Industry for over 35 years. Through hundreds of dealer
contacts monthly, Joe stays in tune with the immediate
training needs of an industry faced with rising fuel costs,
frightened consumers, upside down shoppers, and economic
uncertainty. For more information about the training they offer,
call (888) 457-2414  go to their website “” or
email at
The “First Impression” At Your Dealership...

 In the ads you run – will their first impression be about price or the value of dealing with your dealership?
Which is best for business?

 When they’re about to pull on your lot – as they glance at your dealership for the first time, what do your
customers see?

 When they first see your sales force as a group – do they see “Pros” or do they see your salespeople in the
“huddle”, gossiping, smoking, joking, spitting, clipping their nails and pitching pennies?

 As a salesperson approaches a customer – by their appearance, does your prospect see a pro or a...?

 Is each salesperson’s approach timely and positive with eye contact and a smile or do customers first see a
salesperson with coffee in one hand, sunglasses, sloppy wardrobe and a tie from the gift shop at Goofy World?

 When customers first see your inventory – is it a ‘value building’ experience or do they see dirty cars, dings,
dents, bad tires, price signs everywhere?

 When they drive a vehicle – is it clean, gassed, serviced, in good shape or won’t start, no gas, minor

 When your salespeople try to close the sale – do customers hear the same old “car stuff” or professional
selling skills?

 The first time they walk into your showroom – is it clean and professional or does it need work and

When they see the salesperson’s office – is it clean and professional or does it look like a closing booth?

 As the negotiation is set up – is it focused on them buying the best vehicle to fill their needs or on how cheap
you can sell it?

 As the salesperson starts the paperwork – are they trained and confident or untrained and clumsy?

 Your first offer from the desk – is it compliant, professional, starting at sticker plus or is it weak, starting at
invoice plus a couple hundred?

 When they first meet a manager – will they see a pro or will they mentally think, “That guy’s in charge?”

 What they hear from management – will it be professional or just more “car talk” and trade slang?

 F&I – will they meet a caring, helpful, compliant professional or a disorganized amateur called “Slick Willy”?

 The delivery of their vehicle – will it be professional and effective or “Hurry up and leave, so I can get another

 Their first contact from their salesperson after delivery – will it be professional and timely, no contact at all
or more amateurish car stuff?

 First service contact – will it be professional, prearranged and effective or will it feel rushed and “who’s next”?  
Do you see that we can’t even list all the first impressions customers make in your dealership that could make or
break sales in every department, every day? Go through this list with your management team, then start replacing a
poor or mediocre first impression with a great first impression, instead. In today’s market, it’s time to take every step
of the sale and every prospect on your lot more seriously. Start with a good first impression and you’ll set your team
up for more sales, better gross and improved CSI!