There is no denying the retail car business has changed. But in which ways, and to who’s advantage?
In this world of immediate information, simplified research and comparison shopping, it was only a matter of time before the retail car industry had to re-position itself to align with this new phase of car buyers.
Let’s face it, most car consumers these days don’t just “walk-by” a retail car dealership and buy their new automobile on a whim. Nor, can they routinely order a vehicle on-line and have it shipped overnight to their door!
Today’s auto consumer is savvy, more educated and more prepared to get the deal they want. And auto dealers must prepare for this new brand of car buyer. Gone are the days of the salesperson having all the answers about a particular automobile, its features and its advantages over the competition, car buyers-when they arrive at a dealership– already have these things all figured out! So, what is a car dealer and salesperson (who is seemingly on his heels when a consumer walks in) supposed to do? Well, the most successful ones start with a plan.
Auto dealers and salespeople today-if they are smart– know that the future success of their dealership relies on the “long-game.” Dealers must provide an “experience” for the car buyer. They must go out of their way to give the consumer something they weren’t expecting. This does not mean tossing in extras like floor-mats or seal-coating…the dealer must be a friend, a counselor of sorts, and a trusted member of their family. “From our Family to yours…,” ring any bells?
From the CEO on down, the new philosophy should be; everyone is starting on the same page (meaning, the salesperson knows what he/she wants to sell and the customer knows what he/she wants to pay) so now that that is out of the way, the road to the transaction is essentially 60% complete. A relationship is what the salesperson and consumer should be building; the car itself is basically just getting in the way.
“A satisfied customer,” a “Happy buying experience,” or “Recommend us to your friends,” are no longer just buzz words or taglines, these things are the life blood of the dealership. Remember, this is a marathon, not a sprint. The success and longevity of the dealership relies on this new philosophy.
Regardless of the type of research technology available to consumers, or the kinds of social media everyone interacts with, or even the advertisement or special offer that gets people in the door, auto dealers and salespeople who treat their customers like “smart,” “knowledgeable car buyers” as well as those who continue to build “relationships” and provide “positive experiences” to their customers, these are the sales teams and dealerships who will continue to serve generations of families with new automobiles for years to come.