He doesn't prospect, and nor does he hand over products to his customers, yet award winning luxury car salesperson Tim Long still managed to sell 128 brand new Mercedes Benz vehicles in 2011.
The Mercedes Benz Star Guild winner of 2011 and one of the top selling sales person for his company in Australia, Mr Long attributed his success to how his team is structured, and having the right processes in place.
“We’ve got a delivery coordinator who delivers all our cars and we’ve got a business developing coordinator and he takes on all the enquirers, sorting the good from the bad, and passes them on,” he told Real Estate Business in an interview at his showroom.
Mr Long, who works at Marshalls Motors in Parramatta, NSW, said these well oiled processes eliminated the need for prospecting.
“My real estate friends might not be aware but we don’t need to prospect like they do,” he said, while acknowledging the power of the Mercedes Benz brand in helping create awareness amongst potential buyers.
“In fact, if there is a strong lead then it is pretty hot before it gets given to us, the client goes through that avenue with our business developing coordinator.”
According to Mr Long, all aspects of the car exchange is also dealt with by specialised teams of people, except the actual sales negotiation phase of the vehicle sale.
“We’ve got a team of people that look after the actual hand over of the car,” he said.
“The hand over is a massive job. It is at least 20 forms signed and tailored to get the car from us to the customer’s hand. You need driver’s license, rego papers, transfers.
“Then you’ve actually got to physically hand over the car, and we have a process here that could take two hours to actually go through the car.
“We’ve got walking talking owner’s manuals that will show the customer a step-by-step process. We don’t have to do that.”
Despite the time the client spends with other members of the Marshalls Motors team, Mr Long is adamant it does not affect his client relationships.
“We thought implementing a delivery coordinator would seriously affect our results but in essence it’s actually improved it,” he said.
“Because our processes are better. I am not running around like a mad man trying to get all the paperwork together when the customer is sitting out there.
“Before we had these systems in place I had a customer who sat in our cafe for a couple of hours while I got organized. You can only drink so many flat whites.”
Mr Long's approach partly mirrors the Effective Business Unit (EBU) model that's popular in some agencies - this usually involves teams of three professionals operating their own business within an agency, with each member focused on performing a specific role. For instance, the sales agent lists and sells, a support sales person looks after prospective listers and buyers, while an adminstrator keeps the paperwork in order.
Mr Long's comments also come just two weeks after Julianna Forsyth, head of specialist divisions at Harcourts International, told Real Estate Business that she believed real estate agents could learn a lot from the car industry about how to create a positive experience for a client.
“Look outside the industry,” she said.
“Just 22 years ago the car industry and the real estate industry both had bad names for not looking after their clients, and right now the car industry is starting to do it really well, especially the high end car industry, and we should be keeping an eye on what they’re up to.”
Pick up the August edition of Real Estate Business - due out in the midde of next month - to read an exclusive profile on Tim Long.