BMW dealers in Europe taking part in the automaker's Product Genius program are getting a financial boost. The tech-savvy employees' no-pressure explanation of the features available in BMW’s vehicles has increased the purchase of high-margin options by 10 percent to 15 percent, the company said.
The Product Geniuses are part of a comprehensive new program called Future Retail that BMW started rolling out at all of its 3,250 dealerships worldwide this year. The total number of Product Geniuses will rise to 2,000 in early 2015 from about 1,000 now, Ian Robertson, BMW board member for sales and marketing told Automotive News Europe at the Geneva auto show last month.
Initially, Robertson said European dealers were concerned by what they saw as an added cost. “But when they understand it and see what results are possible, it’s a minor cost,” he said. Dealers who were the early adopters of Product Geniuses have seen such an increase in revenue and margin that they plan to change how they staff their showrooms. “We were originally thinking of having one Product Genius per dealer, but some dealers now have four or five.” He added: “One big dealer group recently told me that they want to completely rebalance their sales force: from the current four sales guys and one Genius, they are planning to move to three Geniuses and two sales guys.”
BMW currently has about 20,000 sales people worldwide. Even at 2,000 Geniuses, they will still be outnumbered by salespeople by a 10-to- 1 margin. That, however is expected to change over time. “Once this process rolls, we’re going to see those ratios mix up a bit,” Robertson said.