Lost sales research

Date of publication: June 15, 1996


The Audi experience illustrates a number of more general points for consideration. First, that good lost sales research should encompass both the ‘buyer’ and the ‘seller’; the insights gained in this study and the specificity of resulting actions resulted from the ability to compare and contrast these opposing forces. Secondly, that the tendency to regard dealers more as a liability than an asset is misplaced. This lost sales research process could not have worked without the insights of those at the grass roots of the business, and whilst the findings in this particular case will lead to still further revisions in the network, these revisions are finally in everybody’s interest. A dealer who is not in tune with a brand and its customers will know that there are other brands with whom their skills and outlook are more synergistic. The research process can bring clarity to the appropriateness of this outcome. More importantly, dealers who are in tune with a brand and its customers can genuinely act as an ambassador for the brand and in the 1990's this is an essential for any brand which gives more than lip service to the concept of serving customers; a business can advertise, it can add value, but unless this is supported from the grass roots, it is unlikely to succeed.

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