As one of the preeminent car dealerships in southern Louisiana, Trapp Cadillac Chevrolet Inc. is locally owned and has been in business for more than 45 years. The dealership has the passion, experience and knowledge to offer its customers new car purchases that are stress- and hassle-free.

Located 55 miles west of New Orleans, Trapp Cadillac Chevrolet caters to all of southern Louisiana. Its central location paired with the dealership’s unparalleled customer service and live market prices have kept customers coming back for years. 

Heinke Trapp, dealer, owner and president, says the Chevrolet and Cadillac new and used car sales, service and body business includes two showrooms on 10 acres. The secret to its success is “a consistently well-trained staff,” Trapp shares. “Knowledge is power and we believe that thoroughly. It is not only sales training but also training for service advisors, technicians, sales management, Internet staff and receptionists. We train every aspect of the business so everyone knows what they are doing.”

A major objective of the training is to provide customers with a pressure-free environment, he says. Interestingly, Trapp Cadillac Chevrolet prefers to hire sales staff without experience from other dealerships. “We’d rather train them ourselves,” Trapp says. This reduces turnover and prevents the spread of “bad habits” brought from other dealerships, Trapp says. 

At other auto dealerships, new salespeople simply follow a more experienced coworker for several weeks and then jump right in. “They call that training. We just don’t do that,” Trapp says. “We put them through a comprehensive sales process training which includes an outside sales trainer we bring in once a month. It takes eight weeks to teach how to sell a car.” 

The training teaches how to answer phone calls, steps to follow in sales meetings and greetings, how to structure deals, respond to customer emails and methods to handle objections from customers. Trainers also instruct new hires in how to turn customers over to sales managers and educate them about the product. “Knowledge is very important,” Trapp says. “The vehicles are changing every day and becoming more and more complicated with added bells and whistles. They need to know the product they are trying to sell and it must seem simple, so at the end of the day it is a very simple process that makes sense.”

Web Investments

Trapp Cadillac Chevrolet has made several business moves to ensure its success recently. It has retained Mudd Advertising Group, which helped revamp its website and added service apps for the dealer. “We have never had an ad agency before and we’ve been with Mudd Group 19 months now,” Trapp says. “It has been a great, great partnership. Sales have increased along with our exposure. We now have a better website; it is easier to navigate and it flows better.” The site also displays daily and weekly incentives. “It has better, quicker information for the customer,” Trapp explains.   

Now in its fourth-generation of family leadership, Trapp Cadillac Chevrolet has seen many ups and downs over the decades. The local economy is reliant on the energy business so oil prices impact sales. Hurricanes are an ever-looming threat, as well. Another challenge has been the recent surge of vehicle recalls. “That has been a real nightmare,” Trapp says. 

Nonetheless, the new products Chevrolet is coming out with are excellent, he says. In particular, “they knocked it out of the park” with the Suburban, Tahoe and Silverado. “They did a nice job with the Camaro and Impala, too. It is much better now and all good stuff.”

Trapp Chevrolet Cadillac is often recognized for its inventory of new Cadillac and Chevrolet models, but its selection of used cars is equally as impressive. Trapp says the dealership’s low turnover and laid-back attitude are two top factors for its success, which ranked it in the top 250 Chevrolet dealerships in the nation last year. “We have very low turnover and the same customers come in,” he says. “It is pretty progressive here; there is not a lot of pressure.”  

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