- Product specialists, not salespeople, welcome visitors to JM Lexus, handing them a Bill of Rights outlining the dealership's transparent philosophy.
- Car shoppers bypass the middleman, negotiating a price directly with a sales manager.
- The new system shaves an hour off the dealership experience.
MARGATE, Florida — JM Lexus, the world's largest-volume seller of new Lexus vehicles for 22 years, has dropped the traditional salesperson car selling model.
General Manager Jim Dunn replaced his sales team with product specialists, who help shoppers find the right car to fit their lifestyle, but only after handing out a Bill of Rights explaining the dealership's goal of making the car-buying experience smooth, game-free and transparent.
Then when it comes time to negotiate a price, the product specialist introduces the sales manager, bypassing the middle man. The results are a quicker deal that shaves an hour off of a typical purchase, Dunn told Edmunds.
"We just feel the old way creates a lot of cat-and-mouse games that are totally unnecessary, so we will cheerfully give up every piece of information," Dunn said.
Dunn also knows the Lexus customer considers time his or her most precious commodity. "This method respects the guests' time more," he said.
Dunn rolled out the product-specialist sales method in 2012 after General Sales Manager Craig Martinez quietly tested the business model for a year initially with two product specialists and one sales manager, doubling those numbers at the six-month period.
Now the dealership has 35 product specialists and 12 sales managers.
"It takes a lot of courage to buck tradition and we obliterated the seller process, so we started informally calling the testing the 'Break It' process," Dunn said.
Customers immediately took notice. The dealership sold 5,974 new Lexus vehicles in 2013, a 27 percent increase from the previous year. Applying the same process to used-car sales, it increased sales by 3 percent to 2,400.
Dunn noticed it, too, because a part of his job is a bit easier these days.
"There is always that hated phrase, 'buyer's remorse,'" he said. "I can't tell you the last time I had to deal with a situation where a guest felt like that. It may happen again at some point, but it's nowhere near the frequency we've had in the past and in past places I've worked."
Edmunds says: Innovation in the car selling industry that saves time, drives sales and, most importantly, results in customer satisfaction.