Five Benefits of Mystery Shopping

It’s no secret that buying a car is one of the most painful consumer experiences there is.

Who doesn’t dread the proverbial aggressive car salesperson and the agonizingly long negotiating process? But according to the 12th annual “U.S. Auto Industry Benchmarking Study 'In-Person ,” in which mystery shoppers visited nearly 3,500 American auto dealerships, it turned out Audi offered the best customer service experience of any brand, while Tesla tanked out at the bottom.

Wouldn’t you like to know how your brand stacks up against the competition and, more specifically, what your salespeople are doing to make it happen?

Mystery shopping can provide insights that conventional review processes don’t. Here are some reasons to try it: 

1. Mystery Shopping Instills Good Salesmanship Early.

Get your sales team comfortable with mystery shopping early on. Let them know it’s part of the training process and will be used to track progress and review salesmanship methods down the road.

If you institute mystery shopping early in the training process, you will not only set expectations from the get-go but catch poor sales methods before they become habits. If sales staff know they could receive a mystery shop anytime, it will keep them on their toes!

2. Mystery Shopping Can Foster Some Healthy Competition on Your Own Team.

A little bit of competition goes a long way. Offer special incentives to your sales team members for high scores on mystery shops--maybe a paid day off, a gift card, or special recognition in the company newsletter. 

3. Mystery Shopping Will Help You Find Out What Your Competitors Are Doing.

Is a competitor outrunning you on sales? Do you know why? While it could be special incentives or sales they’re offering, it might also be the result of better salesmanship. Find out by ordering a mystery shop of your competitor. A video mystery shop, in particular, can give you insights into a competing salesperson’s approach.

4. Mystery Shopping Helps You Determine What’s Wrong Quickly.

Are sales down? Are you receiving customer complaints or maybe getting some poor reviews on social media? While there are an array of methods for assessing why, a mystery shop can often help you get to the bottom of things quickly. Maybe a particular salesperson has a delivery that customers find off-putting, or maybe he or she is having trouble with the close. A mystery shop will often help you pinpoint a problem immediately.

5. Mystery Shopping Can Be A Critical Part of Your Ongoing Review and Assessment Process.

While many companies use mystery shopping periodically, when they sense a sales problem or during an initial training process, fewer take advantage of mystery shopping as an ongoing sales assessment tool. 

Companies that make large but infrequent sales (like home builders or real estate agencies) can use a twice yearly mystery shop to assess the effectiveness of sales team members. Retail companies are probably going to want to do it more frequently, at least once per month.  

But the more often you do it, the more likely you are to uncover problems that are ongoing and avoid putting too much emphasis on a one-time shop where a salesperson was just having a rough day.

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