How car dealers can become more profitable by transforming the status quo

On the latest episode of Straight Talk, host David Lewis, President of David Lewis & Associates, discusses the truth behind the phrase “doing things the way they have always been done.” Customers are looking to the future and car dealers should as well.

Long ago, Lewis believed car dealers viewed customers as being the enemy car dealers had to conquer if they were going to sell cars to them and the primary goal was to outsmart them and do whatever it takes to sell them a car. While some car dealers were lucky enough to have not been trained with negative tactics to sell a vehicle, some believed “that’s the way we’ve always done it”, which Lewis says is one of the worst reasons to do about anything. 

In today’s marketplace, the internet has changed everything that has to do with customer empowerment. Car dealers could get away with tight control of car costs, trade in’s, and invoice prices along with many other things. But now, customers have access to all those things via the internet. Today, customers know how car dealers do business and come fully prepared to defend themselves against the pressure of manipulation, which was the standard of the industry of how cars were sold. Allowing them to leave and go elsewhere to find better customer service.

Lewis says the use of pressure selling tactics should never be viewed as the right way to treat customers. The value customers bring to their business is most important. Car dealers need to be consistent and do things that bring success and profits to the dealership. Research has shown customers who are treated with respect, honesty and fairness don’t mind paying a fair price.

Although most car buyers look online before coming to a dealership, Lewis says, they also want to see what other customers are saying about their buying experience. They’re gathering information not only on the car but possibly a salesperson, they would or wouldn’t recommend. Innovation is key in the digital marketing place. If car dealers aren’t flexible, they will miss out on the vast array of opportunities out there.

Customers don’t want to wonder if they are getting a fair deal. Lewis states the good news is, customers, don’t want to be the determining factor, but wants a buildable relationship that will make a great buying experience.

Lewis ends the conversation by saying, car dealers must know that customers are their greatest resource to building the career they want. Customers have the right to how and where they’ll spend their money. Don’t do things because that’s just the way you’ve always done it, be the change you want to see.

Did you enjoy this episode of Straight Talk? Please share your thoughts, comments, or questions regarding this topic by submitting a letter to the editor here, or connect with us at

Be sure to follow us on Facebook and Twitter to stay up to date or catch-up on all of our podcasts on demand.

While you’re here, don’t forget to subscribe to our email newsletter for all the latest auto industry news from CBT News.