Mystery Shoppers Rank Tesla Dead Last for Sales Effectiveness Again

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems
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mystery shoppers rank tesla dead last for sales effectiveness again

Every year, Pied Piper Management sends phony car buyers into dealerships to rank how much deal-landing prowess their salespeople can muster.

This year’s dealership effectiveness rankings put a number of high-end automakers at the top, but the industry’s most innovative company sits at the very bottom for the second year in a row. According to Pied Piper’s Prospect Satisfaction Index, Tesla Motors ranks last by a mile.

Why does an automaker that builds fast vehicles have so little hustle in the sales department?

It all comes down to consistency between dealers, said Fran O’Hagan, Pied Piper’s president and CEO. Sales processes aren’t always followed to the letter, and the greater the variation, the lower the score.

“Tesla leaves me scratching my head,” O’Hagan told WardsAuto. “They own all of their stores, so you would think each one would be doing the same thing. But they’re not. Tesla is consistent in its inconsistencies.”

The variation in sales effectiveness between Tesla retailers is great, O’Hagan said, with some salespeople performing very well and others acting like “museum curators.”

Pied Piper’s index ranks Infiniti as the best-performing brand, earning a PSI score of 114. Close behind are Lexus and Mercedes-Benz, each with 112. The industry average is 103.

Tesla’s score of 86 is by far the lowest, with Volvo ranked second last at 96. Mitsubishi, Mazda and Jeep round out the bottom five.

The mystery shoppers sent into dealerships rank salespeople on specific actions. In the latest ranking, dealer staff improved in the amount of times they offered different financing and lease options, asked about factors preventing a sale, and listed features not offered by other automakers. The downward trend involved salespeople asking why customers chose the brand, how the vehicle will be used, and offering printed materials.

According to Pied Piper, high PSI scores pay off. On average, brands in the top quarter of the ranking sell 16 percent more vehicles than those in the bottom quarter.

Steph Willems
Steph Willems

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  • SCE to AUX SCE to AUX on Jul 12, 2016

    Tesla spends $6/car in advertising: So the 'sales' process is pretty much moot.

    • ToddAtlasF1 ToddAtlasF1 on Jul 12, 2016

      Exactly. You know who had terrible salesmen? Honda in the early '80s. I knew a Porsche salesman who demanded bribes for a spot on the 944 waiting list when they first came out. You don't have to be nice when demand exceeds supply, nor do you want to dilute your desirable brand with subsidized leases like the crumbling former status symbols from Germany. Why pander when the customer wants to buy the whole cow?

  • Mchan1 Mchan1 on Jul 12, 2016

    Why should Tesla care? Tesla sells its cars to people with money! Period! The average buyer can not afford a Tesla. I equate Tesla as the automobile's version of Apple. Tesla is a 'brand' and it's a luxury brand which very few people could actually afford. There's a 'demand' for Tesla vehicles and people are willing to pay. When you have a demand for a product, why do you need to advertise or make nice with the person who walks into a Tesla showroom to 'look' at a Tesla? Whether one likes Tesla vehicles or not, it's a brand that sells and people want to be seen driving in, you know, to help satiate their E-G-O!

    • SCE to AUX SCE to AUX on Jul 12, 2016

      You're mostly correct for now, but the mid-range Model 3 - starting at $35k - is just about what the average car sells for today. And its pre-order count matches a year's worth of Honda Accords.

  • Analoggrotto I'm trying to find a way to bash this vehicle using the Telluride, ATPs , AVMs, DSDs or STDs and I'm still working on it... stay tuned.
  • God'stime nice
  • MaintenanceCosts Mercedes coupes should not have B-pillars and this one is dead to me because it has one.
  • EBFlex Pretty awesome this thread is almost universally against this pile of garbage. Tesla really missed the mark.
  • FreedMike I suppose that in some crowded city like Rome or Tokyo, there's a market for a luxurious pint-size car. I don't think they'll be able to give them away here in the U.S.