Match Game

The best salespeople always find the right vehicle for their customers. Far from pushing options that customers might want, good upselling can go a long way fostering long-term relationships and securing repeat business.

Out in British Columbia, Brad Trotman of the Trotman Auto Group sees a similar scenario with UConnect hands-free technology. It's not standard on many Chrysler vehicles, yet TAG's flagship store, Langley Chrysler orders a lot of cars, vans, and trucks with it. Read more.

"Many of need to stay connected today," Trotman says "and that includes when we're in our vehicles. Because of legal and safety requirements we can't hold our phones when we drive, so hands-free has become essential. The UConnect option might cost $750 but the majority of customers will consider it."

Another area where savvy dealers are seeing potential for upgrades is through factory authorized accessories, though some readily admit they have barely scratched the surface.

Mike Trotman, Brad's brother and CEO of Trotman Automotive Group, says that in many respects motorists today often view their vehicles as an extension of themselves, much like their smartphones. "Think about it," he says, "most of us have some customized element to our hones, whether it's a unique case or perhaps a unique ring tone. It says something about our character and our personality. Vehicles are often viewed in much the same way."

He refers to the group's in-house accessory shop as TAG Customs where buyers can add any number of upgrades, from bug deflectors and tonneau covers on trucks, to suspension life kits, replacement wheels and tires, spotlights and exhaust systems. With enthusiast customers, especially those into muscle cars, or off roading, accessories are the norm rather than the exception, he says.

At TAG customs, customers can choose to have the parts installed and in many cases maintain the vehicles original factory warranty, an advantage over many aftermarket vendors. However, both Brad and Mike state that while each individual accessory adds to the overall cost of the vehicle purchase, the purpose behind TAG Customs isn't to max out the profit on each vehicle sold.

"We aren't focuses on how many options and parts we can add," says Brad, "it's about providing customers with what they want. If the customer is happy, regardless of what they have spent with us, then we've done our job. We want to make the sales experience fun and enjoyable. Buying a car is a huge commitment for most people and it's an emotional experience, so why not make it a good one?" he says.

If you do, chances are they'll come back again. "Remember, when consumers are buying and or financing a vehicle, it's likely going to be with them for a long time. And put into that context, you have to think if you would rather have a few hundred dollars a month and stick with the no frills base model or spend a little more and get the options you want, especially when you're going to be in that vehicle day in and day out for three years or more. What ultimately is going to leave you more satisfied? It's a bit like walking into Starbucks and just ordering a plain black coffee; are you really going to be happy with it?"