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Q&A with CATAlyst, instructors of CATA Learning University

November 18, 2010

Q: How can I drive home the importance of a really effective facility tour and introduction? We have insisted for years that this is store policy. But in the real world, I sometimes wonder if some of my sales staff don’t quite understand the true purpose of the facility tour and key introductions.


 A: Wow, what a great question. I know exactly what you mean. Some of our most professional sales staff members don’t understand the true benefit of a quality facility tour and staff introduction. We have been under the impression that we must do a service walk because the factory survey may ask about it on a survey, so "I gotta  just do it," or our sales manager says "it helps slow the customer down" and "it’s an exercise in control." 

While their is some truth to the above statements, the No. 1 and most important reason for a facility tour is that it is what I call a "high payoff activity."


Simply put, if you tracked facility tours as an indicator, you will find a direct correlation to higher closing ratios, gross profits, and customer experience feedback. Here’s why:


  • A facility tour helps build value in your dealership. (A good deal is when perceived value exceeds price.)
  • It builds value in your staff.
  • It allows us to continue building rapport. Emotionally connecting sales staff to prospects lowers anxiety.
  • It supports a "why buy here?" statement.
  • It empowers the customer with knowledge and confidence. (When I am confident and informed, my guard will lower and I am more likely to buy someone’s product or service.)
  • Now that the sale is complete, it allows us to build a comfort and trust level with the departments (profit centers) that now have the opportunity to satisfy the customer’s needs (Service and Parts).
  • It is during this tour that the Sales Consultant puts your dealership on the top of the customer’s list when the customer restarts the sales cycle two to four years down the road. Say it with everyone: "CUSTOMER RETENTION!" 

So give some thought to having your desk managers track "high payoff activities" and review the results. You might be surprised; I won’t be.


Dealers, please submit your question for our next article. Go to and click on Ask Catalyst. The Web site also has more about "high payoff activities" and real-world solutions, plus links to enroll in CATA Learning University courses.