When shopping for anything, especially big-ticket items like cars, shoppers compare prices. It’s natural to try and find the best deal and save as much money as possible, however, times have changed, and the best price is no longer the sole determining factor when it comes to where and when consumers purchase. The ability to comparison shop online has made it necessary for dealerships to compete in areas other than price alone. Instead, they must specialize in many of the other things that are gaining the attention of today’s empowered consumers.
While a rock-bottom price is tough to beat, there are a few priorities that help to round out the list of necessities for car buyers. Competitive pricing speaks volumes, but check out 5 things your customers are really looking for when they set foot in your dealership:
1. Customer service will always remain at the top of the list in any business. Especially when it comes to larger purchases, consumers are looking for a dealership experience that reassures them they’re in the right place to spend their hard-earned money. Expectations are high, and from the moment shoppers walk into your dealership, everything matters—from the smallest details to the biggest gestures. It’s not surprising to note your competition is already putting the shine on the experiences they offer customers, so to stay competitive, that’s what you’ll need to do as well. You can meet and exceed shopper expectations by first putting yourself in their shoes. Think of comfort and convenience; and then think of ways your dealership can meet those needs to show shoppers you’ve got their best interests at heart. Whether it’s free wifi, quick check-ins, or early maintenance hours, your customers will appreciate the things you do to make the dealership experience better for them. Imagine this: if you have the best service and the best prices, shoppers will turn to you every time.
2. Honesty is your best friend in today’s marketplace. Shoppers arriving at your dealership are well-educated and already know quite a bit about the vehicles they want to buy, so it benefits you to ensure your sales team is on the up-and-up about prices, products, financing, and all the other details involved in the car-buying process. Customers will pick up on your forthrightness, and you’ll earn their trust by offering genuine answers and insight. Along that same note, when in doubt, be sure to find the correct answers instead of guessing. It’s always better to take a little more time and pass along accurate information in order to build trust. It also helps to remind your sales team to give clear, concise information that’s easily understood; your shoppers will see your efforts at great communication, and you’ll build better, stronger relationships that stand the test of time.
3. Product knowledge is also high on the list importance. When your sales team demonstrates in-depth knowledge of the vehicles they’re selling, they will instill confidence in potential buyers. A vehicle purchase is likely the second largest purchase many consumers will make, and although shoppers come in having done quite a bit of research on their own, NADA confirms a full 90% of consumers find dealership visits to be the most important source of information during the buying process. This means your sales staff can make all the difference by anticipating questions and being prepared with the right answers to inform and educate shoppers. Dealerships that take advantage of technology like AutoAlert’s Pando app can easily access on-the-lot comparisons and reviews to ensure customers get the answers they need without having to look to outside resources. A knowledgeable and tech-savvy sales staff can ensure your dealership succeeds in reaching customers and sharing important product information that will ultimately help you sell more cars.
4. Consistency can be easily overlooked, but it’s an important aspect in building and maintaining your customer relationships. By kicking off your relationships with a bang and providing top-notch service, you’ll leave customers with a great impression; but it’s equally important to follow up and be consistent throughout the course of the relationship. That new-car shine makes everything exciting, so it’s pretty likely most buyers will leave your dealership in high spirits. In order to build a relationship, however, it’s important to ensure that trend continues by carrying the service well past the sale. Be sure your sales team is well versed in post-transaction service, including follow-up calls, helping new customers schedule maintenance, and answering any questions that may come up in a timely fashion. When the performance and responsiveness of your team remains exceptional, customers will continue to turn to you when it’s time to buy, repair, and maintain their vehicles.
5. Long-term attentiveness lets customers know you will be there for them weeks, months, and even years after their vehicle purchases. By being accessible, open, and great at communicating, you’ll make customers more comfortable in doing business with you. Work toward creating a social media strategy, an interactive and easy-to-use website, and exceptional follow-up plans for your team—and customers will know they can reach out to you at any time and receive the same level of interest and attentiveness as they received on Day 1. That kind of service is priceless, and it will pay off for your dealership’s bottom line. It’s important to keep in mind customers are willing to invest in shopping experiences that will last for years to come.
While a low price is important, it’s also essential to build customer relationships that let them know you’ll be there for the long haul—not just in the moment of purchase. Your attentiveness, product knowledge, and superior service will guide them when it’s time to consider future purchases, and they’ll be more likely to share their great experiences with friends and family. Shoppers have spoken; and they’re letting us know price is only a portion of the big picture when it comes to earning and keeping customer trust.