The 5 Senses? Really?


Over a great many years, I have enjoyed the science of the mind, and how people react to what they see, touch, taste, smell or hear, and it made me wonder how much do dealers pay attention to the 5 senses as it pertains to their customers.

I can tell you from experience not many. So on a quest I went to read and study as much as I could about the processes of the brain in decision making and how something as simple as the 5 senses are not taken into consideration working in a dealership day to day, at least not in most dealerships.

In this 5 part series I will talk about the factors that influence peoples decisions and how the 5 senses can impact your business negatively or positively. And I am going to start with the following quote from Dr. Christine Weber, Clinical Psychologist Seaford NY

**“Cognitive flexibility is generally required when learning new tasks, and necessary in sales and marketing success. **
As our understanding of neuroplasticity expands, the potential for those in sales to pick up on that knowledge, and make use of it, will increase by leaps and bounds.”

So what Dr. Weber is saying is the more we know about how people learn and how people’s minds functions the great an opportunity for success in sales and marketing.

Now let’s jump right in with the most prominent and obvious sense, **SIGHT**. Thinking about your business and its visual aesthetics to a consumer, how would you rate what a customer might first see when they drive onto your lot or enter your building? Would it be a positive impression? You see not a lot of people think about this. I would even go back before they get to your business and what they might see on your own website. Is the site clean looking, easy to navigate, are they bombarded with pop ups? Our visual interpretations are quite strong in influencing opinion, for example if the website or the lot is not well kept or there is trash on the property, what do you think the impression is from a visual aspect? Now entering the building are the work stations a mess, are their stains on the floor, does the business look in disarray and not well maintained? Do your staff look happy, do they make eye contact? All of these kinds of factors can be interpreted through visual cues and leave either a positive or negative sentiment with your customer.

Your eyes can push approximately 10 million bits of data from the retina to the brain every second according to the University of Pennsylvania school of Medicine. We then have to consider one’s ability to process it. If you want to have some fun walk with your head down to an area just outside your office or home and then look up for just one second maybe 2 and then go back and immediately write down as many items as you saw. You will be incredibly surprised at how many items you can actually write down and that was only looking for a second or two. Think about how much you might be able to write down if you were able to look at that same spot for 30 seconds and the data you could process. It is this type of analytical thinking that you should employ every day you walk into your dealership. If you think of the exercise and then think of customers who drive onto the lot, look around then enter you building taking a look at a variety of elements of your dealership how much are they picking up that might be interpreted as negative. You had a second or two and captured, most likely, a decent list of items, whereas the customers have a minute or more in most cases.

If you want to ensure that consumers see what you want them to see, then you had best make sure that you keep the elements in the customers view in the best condition possible. This does not mean “hide” stuff in drawers or cabinets as eventually you will need to open them, and it will be seen. What I am suggesting as a litmus test for your business is to stand at the front of the lot every morning to start and see what a customer might see. If it looks great move on to the front door and repeat looking at the showroom continue to do this exercise for the service area, and then customer lounge. We are really talking about spending a minute or two where customers will be and view your dealership. Taking 10 minutes 3 times a day will help to improve the customer experience and ultimately if you can keep your customers positive about your business your ability source reviews and accolades increases which then increases your potential for incremental revenue.

Remember, peoples first impressions are made within seconds of an experience. Let’s make sure you can get them onto the lot and through the door with the best impression possible.

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