For years, dealers have dealt with inefficiencies in their sales process, including bottlenecks in the sales department, consumer expectations, and information overload. Our guest today knows these problems all too well and he has some solutions and strategies to bridge the technology gap between the in-store CRM and DMS systems. Today on Driving Solutions, we’re pleased to welcome Joe St. John, Vice President of Training at AutoFi.
1. St. John first notes the swift and transformative changes going on in the auto industry, particularly in digital retailing. He emphasizes that dealerships must adapt to these changes to reduce friction between in-store and online car shopping.
2. St. John describes various inefficiencies that dealers should take note of, including:
a. Bottlenecks in the sales department: These often happen because of a backlog at the sales manager’s desk. Meaning, that salespeople have to wait in line to get approvals or deal structures from the sales managers.
b. There is also a disconnect between the sales and internet departments. This gap can lead to inconsistencies in handling customers who start their buying journey online and then transition to in-person interactions.
c. St. John discusses how the process of finalizing financing and insurance options can be slow and cumbersome. Financing involves many systems and can lead to delays in completing the sale.
d. Reliance on manual processes, such as handwritten deal sheets, or manually inputting data into different systems slows down the process. It also increases the likelihood of errors.
St. John has had his own lengthy and frustrating process of finalizing car deals, pointing out the need for streamlined operations.
3. St. John reflects on his early days in car sales. He contrasts it with the current situation. Almost every customer is well-informed due to extensive online research. This has altered the traditional dynamics of car sales.
4. AutoFi’s platform focuses on integrating various dealership operations into a single technological solution. This alleviates many traditional pain points. St. John elaborates on how this integration speeds up the sales process. It also provides a more transparent and satisfying experience for the customer.
5. Adopting technologies like AutoFi can fundamentally change dealership operations. It reduces the cognitive load on sales managers. and enable sales staff to handle deals more effectively. It also has a positive effect on the customer experience by reducing time spent in the dealership and increasing trust in the process.
Don’t forget to stop by the AutoFi booth #5012W at the upcoming 2024 Nada Show.
"What I believe is, the more that the customer feels like we're transparent and we're trustworthy, the more they feel like they're in control of the decision." — Joe St. John