Not every dealer is rolling in dough. For low to mid-priced brands, it can feel impossible to compete with luxury dealerships that can deliver a VIP experience. However, customers are looking for more than aesthetics, and bootstrapped dealers can still provide an experience that makes the customer feel as if they are the most important person in the dealership. Here are four ways dealers can implement a luxury experience on a mid to low sized budget. A little creativity can go a long way.
Reach Out Before They Walk in the Door
Before the customer enters the door, dealers need to cultivate the employee experience. If a customer fills out a lead form or expresses interest through the chat function, dealers should ensure that someone on their team reaches out to the customer personally. They should be willing to answer any questions they have in a timely matter and invite them to the dealership to meet with them. The process should make the customer feel that someone at the dealership is always available to guide them through the process of purchasing the vehicle that best fits their lifestyle. One customer discussed how online responsiveness impacted her car buying experience with AutoTrader and made her choose one dealer over another.
Salespeople Should Embrace the Role of Consultant
At luxury dealerships, salespeople recognize that customers are likely coming in with an idea of what they are looking for. If they have always driven a Corvette or Porsche, it is likely that they are coming in for another and just need help navigating to the model they want. At that point, the salesperson becomes more of a consultant than someone trying to push a sale. Customers of low to mid-priced brands will feel more in control of the experience if salespeople act as consultants to help take care of any concerns the buyer has and establish a trusting relationship.
Personalize the Experience
There are many ways dealers can do this. If a customer spoke with an associate on the phone or through email and made an appointment, the dealer should ensure as much as possible the associate is there to work with the customer. Greeting them by name and being aware of what they are looking for can add a personal touch to the experience that makes consumers feel like a VIP. In addition to this, many dealerships are now utilizing iPads in the showroom and dealer lot. The iPad can include data on each car including mileage, customization options, and lot location. It can also help provide pricing and financing information so salespeople can give customers more information to make a well-informed decision.
Differentiate with Perks
While it is not possible to have a fully catered meal for every customer, there are some things dealerships can do to make customers feel like they are receiving a top-notch experience. Customers may be visiting a lot of dealerships in one day, having a coffee station or offering water bottles will be appreciated. Some dealerships also provide free Wi-Fi for customers to compare prices or receive targeted messages about specific cars and deals. Dealers can also make consumers feel luxurious by offering a complimentary oil change or routine check even after the car’s warranty ends.
Compelling customer experiences at dealerships matter, and contrary to popular belief, many are willing to pay more for it. According to V12Data, 54 percent of consumers would buy from dealers who provide better experiences compared to lower prices. If dealers create a personalized experience that starts before they walk in the door, not only will customers feel appreciated, but it is more likely to lead to an increase in sales.