In 2012 BMW has started a pilot of the ‘BMW Genius’ program. At the time, the pilot was conducted at 10 BMW dealerships who collectively employed 14 Geniuses, and produced an extremely high level of customer satisfaction.
Two years later BMW is ready to launch the new i3 in the United States and the dealerships are beginning to hire their Product Geniuses. A latest report from Automotive News says BMW dealers in Europe taking part in the automaker’s Product Genius program are getting a financial boost. According to BMW, 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 Future Retail program 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.
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,” says Ian Robertson, BMW Head of Sales and Marketing. “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.”
Each BMW Genius will be steeped in the increasingly sophisticated technologies and personalization options available from BMW to help guide customers through every step of the ordering, buying, test drive and handover process, and will be on call to help with any subsequent queries or service updates.
The Product Geniuses, who are paid a fixed salary, do not sell cars. Buyers who want to make a purchase are handed over to a sales person.
The average age of BMW’s Product Geniuses in Europe is 23 and their backgrounds are mixed.