Adam Dorn’s secret to success in the showroom is to not act like asalesman. In fact, the sales consultant at Mohawk Honda in Glenville,N.Y., doesn’t believe he’s ever sold a car.
“I’ve never sold a car in my life,” Dorn says. “I’ve educated people on my product to earn their trust enough to have them know that they are getting a fair deal from me.”
Last year, Dorn “educated” enough shoppers to sell 326 vehicles for the year for an average of 27 vehicles sold per month. In March, based on his customer satisfaction index (CSI) and overall sales, Dorn was named top volume sales consultant in his volume group for Honda’s 2012 Council of Sales Leadership program, one of only 33 sales consultants out of 14,000 to obtain the distinction.
“He was also our top certified used Honda salesperson last year,” notes Nick Bonarrigo, Mohawk Honda’s general manager.
Bonarrigo says Dorn consistently demonstrates a strong work ethic and is always available when his fellow salespeople need help, whether it is in the process of selling a car, delivering a car or filling out paperwork.
Dorn started his career in sales selling cellphones and pagers at the age of 18. At 21, he went back to school to earn an associate’s degree in elementary education, but found himself drawn back to sales after the birth of his son.
Dorn then landed a job at a local Honda dealership in 2003. By 2011, he had moved on to Mohawk Honda as a sales consultant.
Dorn says that his years in sales have taught him that today’s customers don’t respond to techniques from a decade ago. “High-pressure tactics don’t work anymore,” he says. “I take a very laid-back approach.
“I think listening to your cus- tomer’s first impressions is really important,” he continues. “Greet your customer with a smile. Don’t ask, ‘How can I help you today?’ but ‘How are you doing today?’”
Dorn explains that asking a customer how they are, as op- posed to what they want, serves as a nice icebreaker on the road to a sale. “If they feel like you’re a car salesman, you have less chance of selling them a car,” he warns. Building rapport and asking questions is how Dorn uncovers his customers’ needs. “If they have kids, safety is important. If they are a younger person, then maybe speed, looks, the aesthetics of the car or the technology in the car is important,” he says. “You’ve really have to focus each presentation around what the customer’s needs or wants are.” Where Dorn really shines is on social media sites like Facebook and Twitter. Bonarrigo says Dorn uses his Honda Facebook page to post photos of satisfied customers. He also uses both sites to promote specials and customer events.
“I think the biggest attribute that allows him to sell 27 cars a month — and make it seem effortless — is his marketing skills,” Bonarrigo says.
Customers Dorn has worked with often refer their friends to his Facebook page for deals on vehicles. He believes 40 percent of his business consists of repeat customers or referrals.
To avoid becoming “fat and happy” after a good month, Dorn works on his follow-up skills when he’s not in front of a customer. In fact, he e-mails his customers every 90 days. He uses his initial communications to make sure they’re enjoying their vehicle. Af- ter that, his e-mails include holiday deals, requests for referrals, and, at the end of the year, an offer for a free vehicle inspection.
“You can’t come off a great month and then take the next month off,” Dorn explains. “I’m the type of guy who always has the pedal to the ground. There’s no time to slow down. There’s always time to make more money.”
To Bonarrigo, the best thing about Dorn’s presence on the showroom floor is he embodies what the dealership is all about.“If there’s one thing I would say about his job performance, it is that he, as one of our top performers in our store, exemplifies Mohawk Honda's motto: 'We go out of our way to please you.' And that's what Adam does with everyone."