Published 18 Jun 2020
This article was originally published in the Autofile Magazine - July 2017 issue.
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When a customer first makes contact with your dealership, there's a 100% opportunity that they will purchase from you. However, you can erode this chance early on if you are not careful.
The old terminology of 'tyre kickers', and 'buyers are liars', needs to be buried once and for all. The reality is that ALL of your prospective customers are buyers in some way shape or form, and whether that is buying today, tomorrow, next week or next month, they are still buyers.
When a new customer makes contact about a car you have advertised, every little micro moment, from here on in, either keeps your chances up at 100%, or starts to slowly reduce through the experience you deliver them.
Whatever it is you do online, email, and on the phone, will determine what your starting point is when they visit your dealership to view and test drive.
Remember, it’s very likely this customer is only going to test drive one other vehicle, from one other dealership. That means you not only have the opportunity to make the sale, you also have all the power to reduce your chances of success, and not make the sale.
By the time the customer arrives at your dealership you may still be at 100% chance of success, or due to failure to answer any phones calls, or seemed somewhat vague in your email response when answering questions about the car, your chances may have already reduced.
The next phase is where dealership presentation comes in, starting with finding your dealership and then being able to easily park in your dealership. Remember if you start making things difficult, you start reducing the opportunity.
Keep in mind everything the customer sees and experiences contributes towards them either positively or negatively. Erode enough positive then you've done a great job at giving them every reason to buy elsewhere.
Have a think about all of those customers that didn’t buy from you last month and that you never hear from again. Unfortunately for you, they purchased somewhere else, and the chances are you don’t even know why.
Any negative experiences that are introduced on their buying journey gives them more reason to focus on price, and getting a discount, as you haven’t delivered a value added experience that makes a positive difference. Worse yet you lose the sale altogether.
He had recently moved back from overseas and had to purchase a car on the coming weekend. He needed a vehicle fast, and knew what he wanted. After doing some research he narrowed his search down to three similar cars at three dealerships.
Each dealership was contacted to discuss the vehicle in question and to advise that he would be coming in on Saturday between a specific time to view and test drive the vehicle.
Both of the vehichles at the 2nd and 3rd dealerships were both dirty and not as nicely presented as the car at the first dealership. This presentation and regard shown towards his desire to buy started to make his decision much easier. The least clean vehicle had him trying hard to look for any faults/damage on the vehicle as it naturally encouraged him to do so from the way in which it was presented.
Despite the vehicles being similar in value with price not being the only influencer in his decision, he went back to the first dealership where he was not only presented with a clean, tidy and ready to drive vehicle, it was where he felt his business was respected. So the decision to purchase from this dealership was easy.
Get the total experience you provide your customer right, first and foremost. That way the more you attract through advertising and marketing, the more you will sell to, and the less you will push away to buy somewhere else.
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