Car buyers go online, that’s a fact. Think With Google research shows that more than 95 percent of car sales start with the customer searching and researching on the internet. And when it comes time for the customer to see their potential vehicles in living color, the average number of dealerships visited is less than two.
With so few visits made to the dealership, it proves that shoppers are more intentional than ever to complete their vehicle purchase with the salesperson who can connect them with the right car. So, if customers are so well researched before they walk onto the lot, is there really a need to perform a thorough walkaround?
Why the Walkaround is Still So Key
AutoTrader research shows that car shoppers spend between a lot time researching, on average: for used cars, 15.5 hours and for new cars, 13.75 hours. They’ve looked into the options they want and the colors available, the wheel designs and the ADAS systems they want to try. Still, the customer overwhelmingly wants to experience the car before making a decision. It’s a strong factor for why online car buying hasn’t caught on well… yet.
The customer’s first physical point of contact with the vehicle they think they want is at the dealership. A sales representative brings the car to a viewing area. The vehicle they believed they knew is now tangible and seemingly foreign in how it looks and feels.
Going straight out for a test drive would set the salesperson up for failure. A walkaround before driving the car serves a few crucial functions.
Concepts Become Reality
Online research tells the shopper what a vehicle has for options, safety systems, and technology. However, that knowledge is theoretical and untested. It needs to become practical and real, which is where the walkaround is helpful.
A salesperson should be equipped to explore the vehicle’s features and systems with the shopper and explain the real-life benefits they can expect from each one. By going through key features in this way, the two-dimensional screen view becomes three-dimensional and real.
The Salesperson Develops Authority
Some sales are lay-downs and the salesperson is only an order-taker. In the vast majority of cases, the customer expects the salesperson to lead the sale, and that starts with being knowledgeable about the vehicle.
As the walkaround is performed, the shopper typically follows behind the salesperson as they go through important cues. This action, along with being well versed on the vehicle’s functions, develops the salesperson as the authority on the vehicle. It’s an incredibly important position to obtain before sitting down after the test drive for negotiations.
Vehicle Value is Reinforced
Imagine if the walkaround was skipped altogether and the negotiations began. All that’s left to discuss are the price and the payments. The salesperson is left without any tools in their tool bag. To make the sale, the only position from which to negotiate is lowering the price.
If a walkaround is performed, though, it’s easier for the salesperson to hold their ground. The customer sees value in the vehicle and has already pictured the car in their driveway, their kids in the backseat, the boat towing behind the truck. They understand how the driver-assist systems in the upper trim level will keep them safer, and they don’t want to do without the upgraded speakers.
The walkaround in the sales process is a key function, regardless of how much online research a customer does. Perhaps reviewing specs isn’t as important, but demonstrating features certainly remains top priority. Practice walkarounds as a sales team to hone the skill and close more sales.
Did you enjoy this article from Jason Unrau? Read other articles from him here.
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