App makes GM sales a 24/7 gig
DETROIT -- Larry White recently sold a Chevrolet Suburban -- while he was at his kid's hockey game.
A fellow hockey dad asked White, the co-owner of Patsy Lou Chevrolet-Buick-GMC in Flint, Mich., about the SUV. Until recently, he would have set a reminder on his smartphone for a follow-up from the office.
But a new sales app for dealership employees that General Motors launched last month gives White quick access to incentive information, models in his inventory and at other dealerships in his area, plus info on popular accessories.
So White ran out to his car and grabbed his iPad. "Within two minutes, I found the car on another dealer's lot and e-mailed [the customer] a copy of the incentives, pictures of the car, the invoice and a 72-month payment quote," he says.
White calls the app "the easiest and best tool that General Motors has ever given us to sell cars in my 25-year career."
GM's rollout of a tablet sales app is another step in the gradual digitization of the showroom sales process. Ford Motor Co. also has introduced apps for dealership sales staffs within the past 12 months.
Kurt McNeil, GM's vice president of U.S. sales operations, said the technology allows a sales rep to give the customer nearly all relevant information while standing shoulder-to-shoulder on the showroom floor, rather than sitting across a desk and hunched over a computer.
"We're trying to take some complexity out of the whole process," McNeil says.
The free Dealer SalesAssistant Tablet App is available for iPad and Android tablets. GM says it had been downloaded 3,800 times as of mid-February.
Half of the 22 new-car sales reps at Patsy Lou use it. White awarded the tablets through a sales contest and hopes to have the rest of his sales staff on board by April.
White has considered insisting his entire sales staff use the app. But he doesn't think that will be necessary. "Once they start using it," he says, "they're addicted."
You can reach Mike Colias at firstname.lastname@example.org.