When you hear accounts of those who have purchased cars or articles that touch on the emotional side of the car buying process, many mention the feeling of anxiety. From walking into the dealership to deciding how much they are willing to pay, consumers can experience a range of emotions as they choose what car to purchase. These feelings make total sense. Outside of buying a home, buying a car is one of the most substantial purchasing decisions an individual will make.
In contrast, for dealership staff, the car buying process is a common one. Each day brings a new customer or acquisition. However, it is critical to remember that consumers do not have this everyday interaction with the process, and are therefore more likely to experience anxiousness or even fear. So, how can you and your staff help customers walk through these emotions for a pleasant car buying experience? Read on for four ways to help car buyers move past anxiety during their purchasing journey.
Find Ways to Build Trust
According to a study by Autotrader, 70 percent of respondents said they would walk away from a dealership that offered the best price on a vehicle if they found them to be untrustworthy. While building trust sounds like a no-brainer, sometimes it can be challenging to find the right mix of marketing and operational tactics to build a repertoire with customers.
Methods like pricing transparency, developing a solid customer experience and helping sales staff to be as attentive and knowledgeable as possible can help. However, let customers know you are listening. Send them surveys, and ask how you can improve your service. These acts can go a long way in showing that your dealership cares about meeting their needs.
Inform them of the F&I Process and Accompanying Products
The Cox Automotive Car Buying study revealed that interactions with the financing department had the second lowest satisfaction percentage (59 percent) during the car buying process. The consumers that were surveyed spent half of their time at the dealership negotiating or doing paperwork. One of the best ways to ease concerns and speed up the procedure is by offering information on the F&I process and accompanying products on the dealership website.
According to the study, consumers preferred learning about F&I products as well as the overall experience before they walked into the dealership. So, see how you can enhance the information you offer regarding these items. Include information about warranties, insurance, how you work with those who may have lower credit scores, and a price calculator. The results are a win for you and your customers.
Personalize the Experience
Customizing the car buying experience can help consumers feel that their needs are being addressed. Most are trying to find the right car at the right price, and anxiety can occur if it feels like these goals are not going to happen. You can combat this by asking as many questions as possible at every point of interaction. Use online forms to collect contact information, utilize the test drive to gain deeper insight into what they are looking for, and then tailor your offers and suggestions to their current situation and budget. When consumers feel like their needs are genuinely being considered, it is more likely for trust to begin to form.
Let Them Know What They Can Expect
While you may already have an efficient car buying experience, new customers may not be aware of this. Unfortunately, many car buyers have had a negative experience with a former dealership or may have heard stories from friends and family about problems they may have experienced shopping for cars. You have no idea what perceptions they may have of dealerships. Therefore, you can help them understand how your dealership is different by informing them of what they can expect.
Sonic Automotive is an excellent example of how to do this. They include a video as well as verbiage detailing what customers can expect when they walk into the showroom. For example, they discuss whom customers will meet, how long the process can take, and pricing methodologies. In general practice, more information leads to less fear and anxiety. So, give your potential car buyers a glimpse into the unique customer experience you can provide.
It makes absolute sense as to why consumers may feel anxious about the car buying experience. Whether it be the need to negotiate or taking on a considerable expense, the process of purchasing a car taps into many scenarios that can make customers feel uncomfortable. However, you can help ward off these feelings by putting yourself in the customer’s shoes. Think of what you would like to know and be aware of before you walked into a dealership, and provide this information to your customers. This tactic, coupled with listening to their suggestions can help you create a car buying experience that moves consumers from anxiousness to trust.