Published 21 Jan 2020
This article was originally published in the Autofile Magazine - June 2018 issue.
10 second summary
READ TIME APPROX 4 MINUTES
I’m more perplexed than ever at the moment, but more disappointed than anything with how many dealerships clearly don’t want to sell cars.
Yes, you read it right. There are a heap of dealerships in this market that don't realise how many more cars they could sell if they were aware and proactive with prospective customers.
This isn’t about price, or not really being in the market to buy. This is about all the reasons you present to your customer to not do business with you.
Our team hears plenty of commentary around how quiet it is and that people are just not purchasing at the moment. On the flipside, there’s plenty of commentary from dealers who are crazy busy and selling plenty.
The key is that when prospective buyers are presented, you and your sales people have to make the most of the opportunity.
Recently, I have personally enquired on specific vehicles online with different dealerships across the country. From these enquires, I’ve had only 40 per cent respond and engage with me as a prospective buyer. From the other dealerships, I’ve had nothing – do they not want to sell me a car?
This is frustrating because, as a buyer, I’ve put in time and effort to narrow my search down. Obviously, therefore, I continue my process with the ones that have been proactive enough to show they want my business and ultimately sell to me.
There are even some who I didn’t end up buying from, but still gave memorable service and an experience that represents what it should be for a customer. Referring a friend or relative to them in the future will be easy as I know they’ll get looked after and the service they deserve.
Can I, or should I, follow up with the ones that haven’t got back to me from my enquiry? Maybe if the vehicle they had was of greater value to me than the others, but they aren’t too different so the best use of my time is with those interested in my business.
Maybe they are in the mindset of not bothering with online enquiry and just wait for customers to turn up at the dealership to look at cars. The reality is there are other options and other dealerships that do seem to want the business, so the ones that don’t respond have literally told me to look somewhere else.
A recent Harvard Business Review on the importance of timely responses when it comes to following up with online leads found companies that contact potential customers within an hour of receiving queries are nearly seven times more likely to have meaningful conversations and convert to a sale.
Engage with prospective customers as they are potentially your clients for life from the moment they begin to experience your dealership. Help them on their buying journey. Make the process enjoyable, informed and respected.
When they get to the dealership, ensure every single aspect in the process is perfect, and centric to their needs and eyes. It’s not hard, but often overlooked.
Don’t spoon-feed them potential objections for them to regurgitate back at you as to why they need to leave. Present them with every reason to choose you and the car you have that they want to buy.
As a business owner or dealer principal, it’s important you know what your staff are doing with regards to handling enquiry.
Opportunity management and the visibility of this is of great importance to ensure you aren’t giving customers reasons not to do business with you.
The Motorcentral blog is intended for educational purposes only. All writers opinions are their own and nothing published on this blog should be interpreted as a recommendation or advice in any way. Motorcentral is also not responsible for and does not verify accuracy of any of the information contained within this blog.
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