If you’ve been in the automotive industry for any length of time, it’s likely that you’ve heard of the four square. Some dealers love it and wouldn’t be where they are without it, while others either don’t know much about it or downright just hate it.
What is a four square?
If you’re one of the few visitors new to the automotive industry, or not a part of the industry, allow us to explain the four square:
The four square is a pretty simple concept, it’s four squares on a sheet of paper. In the top two squares you have the selling price and trade amount, and in the bottom two squares you have the down payment and a finance or lease payment.
If you want a more detailed explanation on how the four square is used check this article out here.
“But the four square works!”
Yes, we know, lots of you have made tons of money with it and it has probably served you well. We’re not here to argue whether or not it has had it’s place – we just think it’s time has come.
The consumer car buying process has changed!
There’s so much more information at consumer’s fingertips before they get to the dealership today! The average customer walks in the door armed with tons of information.
They know which vehicle they want, right down to the trim and sometimes even the colour. They’ve researched the different ways they can buy and have an idea of payments from the manufacturer’s website. Overall, they’re pretty damn prepared by the time they get to the showroom.
“Moving a customer with this level of knowledge to a four square is just a recipe for frustration.”
It’s worked for many dealers and still continues to be a successful strategy that is used in the industry, we just think there’s a better way. What we think dealers should be focusing on is the process. In fact, we would argue that many of the gains that dealers have seen from implementing a four square actually came out of designing a clear process around desking and payment presentation.
“Dealers don’t necessarily need the four square, but they certainly do need a well-thought out process.”
The Bottom Line: Having a Process Around Presenting the Numbers Separates Winning Dealerships
There are so many reasons why a dealership needs process, we could write a book on that topic alone (in fact, we already have), but we will touch on a few reasons why we think processes make winning dealers.
Salespeople become much better closers when they know what to expect when presenting the numbers. By ensuring that they always have the same worksheet, regardless of which manager they are working with, helps give them the consistency to become great at closing!
“Success isn’t always about greatness. It’s about consistency. Consistent hard work leads to success. Greatness will come.” ~ Dwayne Johnson
Implementing a process around presenting the numbers can have a significant positive impact on your front-end gross profits.
We did a case study with a Southern Alberta dealership (Subaru of Lethbridge) where we had them set up a well-defined process and present deals a certain way for two years to test our theory. After two years they saw a 54% increase in their average front-end gross profit!
Read more about it here: Driving Sales for Dealers with Autovance Desk (Case Study)
Build Trust through Transparency
Consumers do not trust car dealers! It is unfortunate that customers still think that car dealers are lying, manipulating, thieves, as that’s just not true today. With a solid process free of “tactics” and confusion, the customer will feel that you care and can be trusted. When people trust their dealer they are more willing to pay a little more and return for another vehicle sooner!