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By Simon Bowkett, of Symco TrainingLast month we looked at how sales managers can make sure their sales executives follow the dealership's 'road to the sale' process when dealing with a customer, starting with a quick review to see if they have qualified them correctly.This time my video looks at the second review stage, when the salesperson has come back from the presentation and demonstration. It's a simple but effective three-stage process: ask them what trial close question they just asked, re-sell the deal to them to boost their confidence, and remind them that 'no customer walks until the boss talks'. Keep your sales staff on track with their customersImprove your selling skills - for freeFor a link to more free online videos, email me at or call on 01829 760 679. Or follow me on Twitter @SymcoSimonDecline in dealership numbers to continueThe latest Trend Tracker report has high-lighted a significant reduction in the number of used car retailing sites in the UK over the last decade.Its market analysis, The Future of the Used Car Market in Great Britain 2012 to 2017, asserts that there were 11,610 sites in 2001, comprising franchised dealers, independent used car sites and used car supermarkets.In 2011, there were 25% fewer sites, with franchised dealers and independent used car retailers experiencing similar declines in numbers. Further still, the report forecasts that the number of sites will continue to decline, with 11% predicted to close between 2012 and 2017.Robert Macnab, Trend Tracker's lead analyst, said: "In a new car market that will continue to be weak for a while, some franchised dealers will face a shortage of working cap-ital as their showroom costs cannot be cut in line with already marginal profitability in new car sales. "There is likely to be some decline in single-brand sites as manufacturers sanction multi-franchise dealerships to preserve local representation."Dealer groups can be expected to close some of their least profitable sites, especially in the regions which will experience the slowest recovery from recession - Wales, the north-east and the West Midlands."New car marketNewsCV ShownewsUsed caranalysisNewsRecruitmentdigestDealerprofileShowroomAdvertisement feature

Uncertain future despite optimistic start to yearBy Mike Allen, analyst at Panmure Gordon As we exit results season, most UK-listed plc companies have indicated that order books for March are at least 10% ahead of last year, which has had a positive impact on their respective share prices. Has this sector therefore now turned the corner and can we look forward to a geared recovery from here?Looking at the glass half-full scenario, we might have just averted a double-dip recession with general inflation starting to ease, taking some much needed pressure away from the consumer. Interest rates are also low and look set to stay low until at least 2014, putting consumers in a stable job in a strong position. According to the Finance & Leasing Association motor finance sales were plus 42% year-on-year in January driven by promotions, low-rate deals and motor dealers providing lower deposits. However, let's take a more pessi­mistic view for a moment. Has consumer confidence really turned the corner? Buying or changing a new vehicle remains the second biggest deci­sion most consumers will make. Household disposable income is forecast to be flat this year, after a circa 8% fall over the previous three years, according to Longview Economics. But low wage growth and rising mortgage and fuel costs are likely to put downward pressure on this forecast in our view. The average UK consumer is, therefore, not getting any richer at present. With new cars increas­ingly reliable can this decision not be delayed until the economic outlook becomes clearer? If consumer confidence is improving from here, what is certain is that this recovery at best remains very fragile. The threat of unemployment is still a key issue for many con-sumers, and with this likely to remain structurally high for years to come. At current levels this is above 8%, not quite the early 1990s peak of 11%, but certainly well above the trough point of 4.7% seen in 2005 when the new car market was comfortably over two million registrations. Improving confidence is therefore likely to be slow in our view. With Government austerity measures also in full swing, public sector unemployment is likely to gather further pace, especially as we move into start of the new fin- ancial year. Fuel prices are our primary concern following the recent Budget. They have risen 5% since the start of the year and the confirmed 3p increase in fuel duty in August will likely bring about the £100 tank of fuel. We see two impacts from this. Firstly the negative impact on household finances which reduces income available for discretionary purchases. Secondly, the psycho­logical impact of a £100 tank of fuel or 150p per litre (as will be the case for diesel) may make more consumers think twice before using the car. What does this all mean for the prospects for motor retailers in 2012? Q1 trading certainly appears to be ahead of expectations, March data from the SMMT showing a 0.9% increase year-on-year. Does this Fuel prices remain a key concern as pressure continues on household budgetsAM PROMOTION Economic assessmentCar Volume Trends2."What is certain is that this recovery at best remains very fragile" Source; SMMT Demand for new cars has been on a rollercoaster ride since the start of the UK's economic turmoil. Although fleet sector registrations picked up last year, the retail sector has only recently shown any stability Source: BCA Used Car Report 2011Data from motor auction group BCA revealed a steeper decline in annual UK used car sales volumes, partly due to reduced supplies. However sales are recovering as consumers seek greater value for their spendNew car registrations, rolling year total, Jan 2007 to dateCar volume trends