December 2016, Auto Dealer Today - Feature
Photo by Michelle Warren Photography
Amy Bannor doesn’t play games. She believes in openness and transparency, and she makes sure the people she interacts with professionally know where she stands — including her bosses at Corwin Automotive Group.
“I walked in and said, ‘Where do I get an application?’” she recalls. “I did my interview, called the next day and said, ‘Did I get the job or not?’ I started at Corwin Toyota as a salesperson in June 2009 and, in 2010, I was salesperson of the year.”
Today, Bannor serves as Internet sales manager at Corwin Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram in Fargo, N.D., which is part of a metropolitan market with just under 250,000 people. She has worked at a few different stores in various roles since that fateful first day, but she has stuck with Corwin for the duration.
Her philosophy of never saying or doing anything she can’t back up has served her well. She has built her technique around absolute transparency, and it has paid off. She averaged 22.5 units per month in 2015 and has already begun to enjoy repeat business from loyal customers.
“It’s a combination of good communication skills and really explaining things to each customer,” she says. “At every step, I tell them exactly what I’m going to do and how long it will take. It’s very much just being clear and concise about the whole thing. I ask a lot of questions and I work at the pace they like to work at.”
Bannor recognizes that relationships make or break the process, so she makes sure she meets every customer on their own terms. It doesn’t matter whether they say they only have an hour to get the deal done or want to spend the entire afternoon shooting the breeze.
“Selling is much more of a customer service than a retail business,” she says. “I’m a big closer, too; don’t get me wrong. I have a sense of urgency. But I really, genuinely care about my customers. My ultimate goal is to keep a customer for life.”
Business Manager Amber Christl describes Bannor’s approach as “very direct” and says she knows Chrysler’s products and the dealership’s processes — from sales to F&I — well enough to answer any question or concern. All Bannor asks in return is a testimonial she can post to “Just a Girl Selling Cars,” a Facebook page she built to market herself and her sales technique.
“With all her customers, she tries to do a picture or video, posted to her sales Facebook page, which attracts other customers who may be nervous or intimated by the whole car-buying process and makes her current customers feel appreciated as well,” Christl says.
By creating advocates, Bannor believes she is doing her part to advance the role of women in a traditionally male-dominated industry and shatter some of the negative stereotypes about the sales process.
“I don’t know if I ever hear ‘I would only work with a female,’ but a lot of customers say, ‘It was so nice to work with a female salesperson,’” Bannor says. “It changes the whole dynamic of the process for them. The experience shifts their perspective.”