This was posted on BlueOvalForums.com by "roush235" Board Message and I am reposting it here in its entirety because it is fascinating.
On a recent morning I had one of my vehicles at the dealer for routine maintenance. As is customary, I toured the lot and proceeded to the showroom to see what was inside. Upon entering the showroom I saw the sales force having a meeting. I assumed it was a normal sales meeting, but after listening for a moment I learned it was a trainer from Ford headquarters. I asked if I could listen in, and he said it was OK.
He started with some points about the Raptor (one was in the showroom) then took the group outside for a presentation about the EcoBoost Flex. Then the group reconvened in the showroom for the main training regarding the Fiesta.
Using his PC and a small flatscreen monitor, the trainer went through a slick PowerPoint presentation. He started by highlighting the car itself, focusing on its attractive styling, many desirable features, 30+ year European heritage, etc. He discussed the competition, noting that the Honda Fit is a great car but many other B segment cars really aren't very desirable (e.g. Chevy Aveo). "We are making a car people WANT TO have, not just because it's all they can afford." Speaking of affordability, during banter with the sales force, he asked what was appealing to them about the car. One salesperson said, "it's cheap!." To which the trainer replied, "never say this car is 'cheap.' It may be inexpensive, but it's definitely not 'cheap'."
After this, the trainer proceeded to the next part of his presentation: a discussion of the sociology and psychology of the typical Fiesta buyer. Actually this took up most of the presentation. It included a detailed discussion of the Fiesta Movement, information about social media (Facebook, Twitter, YouTube), and demographics. Some of the statistics were staggering, such as how quickly these social media have become prevalent in society. There were many comments along the lines of --- the Fiesta customer may be young but they are very savvy, many of them have never set foot in a Ford dealership, we finally have something of interest to them so we must get the whole experience right, or within minutes the whole world will know about their bad experience.
Apparently there will be info forthcoming after the LA Show about actually being able to reserve a Fiesta. If I heard it right, he explained how those reserving a car will be assigned a "big brother" within Ford who will be responsible for helping them through the process, including keeping them posted on exactly when their car will be built. (Shades of previous well-appreciated insider help on this forum!)
At the end I thanked the trainer, noting that as a 'car guy' I found this all extremely interesting. I said that the whole thing had Jim Farley written all over it. He smiled and commented that the Fiesta Movement was a tough sell due to its cost and its out-of-the-box approach, but he noted that it had all the marks of extreme success. An example was that the name recognition for Fiesta is many times more than Flex, even though the car isn't out yet (I guess there are companies which count and analyze these sorts of things).
I also found it interesting that this training was being done so far in advance. I guess it will take some time to get the dealer network oriented to a new product in a new segment with a new customer base.
You sales folks may find training like this just part of the job, but I was fascinated by it. Hope you enjoyed the write-up.
PS The trainer was driving an orange Raptor.