The auto industry has made some big changes in the way a vehicle is advertised and sold. The consumer has so much available to them by way of technology before they even step foot into a car dealership to speak with a franchise dealer.
Because certain steps to the automobile purchase are now being completed outside the dealership, such as online financing and vehicle trade-in offers, the car salesmen need to start taking on a new approach to how they go about selling a car.
The customer now does their ‘homework’ online and when they get to the dealership they want to be able to pick up where they left off during the online process. They do not have the time nor the patience for being made to feel as though they are being sidelined or their efforts disregarded. However, often times a salesperson, when going through the typical showroom practices, is doing just that.
Automotive dealers tend to want to take control of the entire process of selling a car. However, many customers have already gone through a large chunk of the sales steps at home on their computer. With these newer technologies, a customer can go online in the evening and pick the car they want, get their financing approved and they are ready to go to the dealership the next morning to complete the transaction.
You don’t like being made to feel as though your research efforts and decisions are not important so don’t make your customers feel that way. Automotive dealers need to start re-training their staff to simplify the sales procedure and work with technology.
Dealerships need to keep up with their computer-savvy consumers who are much more knowledgeable about the car buying experience. Some dealers have tried the ‘one-price’ model like Saturn did in the 1990s. Another sales technique is to offer consumers the same price they give to their employees. One of the most common sales strategies is to offer consumers a ‘price match guarantee’. If the consumer can find the same vehicle at a better-priced deal during the 60 days following the signing of the contract, the dealer will match that deal and reimburse the difference to the consumer.
When a prospective customer comes to your dealership, they have probably done some sort of research, which peaked their interest in the type of cars you have and how your sales staff treats prospective buyers. The research process prior to them arriving at a dealership will be the first step. Within that research, prospective customers will really take into consideration peer reviews regarding their experience at your dealership. Aside from how your salespeople treat the customers, the second most important thing they’ll be researching is your technological capabilities. You want your dealership to appear as a technology savvy organization that appreciates consumers hard work.
Consumers still prefer to purchase their vehicles offline, however, a lot of the purchasing process has become digital. Online car buying is on a rise and it is up to the dealership to ensure that customers are given the opportunity to take part in the digital experience as confidently as possible. Therefore, it is imperative for the dealership to create a digital strategy, by use of social media and other online advertising techniques. It is critical that dealerships learn how to efficiently use their customer analytics to progress the implementation and functionality of overall sales, customer service, and marketing strategies.
It is important that dealerships and their sales staff are aware that customers are much more knowledgeable about this new atmosphere of digital technologies and social media. Information, as varied as vehicle financing and performance to the cost of vehicle ownership and the experience after the sale is finalized, are all available online if the consumer wishes to access it.
Dealerships need to be prepared for a higher competition rate with other dealerships because of these new digital technologies. If a customer is not pleased with the customer service that they receive at your dealership, they will go to other dealerships until they find one that will treat them more to their liking. Now that the consumer no longer needs the dealership to do the financing or other information, the only thing that is needed at the dealership is getting the car and finalizing the documents.
Some ways to get the customers to want to come to your dealership to buy a car might be for you to offer them some sort of incentive. By offering customers little extras to entice them into coming to your dealership, such as free movie tickets or lunch/dinner for two if they test drive the latest model of car on the lot. You can also start a reward program to offer customers who are loyal to your dealership; as well as offering an incentive for second and third-time repeat customers. You could also offer an incentive for customers that refer a friend or family member to buy a car at your dealership. All these are good ideas to help the car dealer think of new and innovative ways to bring in customers and sell cars.
Since customers are spending a lot of time on the internet searching for information about purchasing a car, you, as the auto dealer, need to purchase a lot of additional space for online advertising of your dealership. Perhaps even start a Facebook and Twitter account that the customers can visit. In this new digital world, you need to ensure you are keeping up with the times and being as competitive as possible with the other dealerships.
As a final note, when attempting to rethink the way you sell cars at your dealership, you need to ensure that your employees are all on board with you new concepts and incentive plans. Provide training for all your staff members so they are able to provide your customer with the best customer service possible. With so much competition out there in the digital car sales world, everyone needs to be at their utmost peak standards of performance and abilities.