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Mercedes Doing the Best to Close the Deal

The Internet has changed all the rules of car buying, shows new study.

by on Jul.13, 2012

Closing the deal.

Mercedes-Benz dealers are most likely to deliver customers the sort of shopping experience they want – and then close the deal, according to a new study.

Asian luxury dealers were close behind, along with Jaguar and Cadillac, according to the latest Pied Piper Prospect Satisfaction Index which uses so-called “mystery shoppers” to measure the way potential car buyers are treated.

The study looks at 60 different sales activities, from the simple act of greeting a customer when they walk into the showroom to providing a test drive.  Surprisingly, salespeople proved reluctant to take one of the most important steps of all, actually asking a prospect if they’re ready to close the deal.

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“The world has changed dramatically with the advent of the Internet,” said Pied Piper research chief Fran O’Hagan. Twenty years ago, the dealer was the gatekeeper, controlling every aspect of the car buying process.  Today, however, “A customer can go to the showroom knowing as much as you want.  So, the role of the salesperson has changed.”

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Mercedes-Benz Tops at Handling Shoppers, Finds New Study

But even the best makers have slipped coming out of recession.

by on Jul.11, 2011

Mercedes-Benz leads the industry when it comes to treating customers in the showroom, says a new study.

Mercedes-Benz is doing the best job treating potential buyers when they walk into the showroom, reports a new study, which is one reason the maker has continued building demand as the luxury market recovers.

But while it’s the third year in a row that the German marque led the annual Pied Piper Prospect Satisfaction Index, its score actually slipped from last year, and the industry, on the whole, has seen a declining in the handling of “ups,” or customers who come to the showroom, cautions analyst Fran O’Hagan.

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“Industry-wide, treatment of car shoppers has declined almost across the board,” said O’Hagan, adding that “the easiest explanation is that the number of salespeople declined during the recession and has yet to bounce back, even though sales are picking up again.”

The Pied Piper Study relies on 3,524 “mystery shoppers,” anonymous researchers who visit tens of thousands of U.S. showrooms to see how they are treated.  They attempt to engage salespeople to see how they pitch products, explain their advantages and whether there’s an effort to close a deal.