In today’s automotive market, shoppers want a variety of choices, especially when it comes to how they purchase and the opportunities they’re given to save time and money. When your dealership stands out as the one offering the options they’re looking for, it makes it easier for shoppers to make you their dealership of choice. Keep in mind, consumers are on the lookout for dealerships that are efficient, knowledgeable, and trustworthy—so the more dealership reputation management you do to shine in these areas, the more likely you are to stand out from the competition.
Most dealerships know their customers are constantly on the move, but there’s still quite a bit of opportunity when it comes to meeting the needs of mobile-driven consumers—especially those who arrive at your dealership already having done a majority of their vehicle shopping research. Modern shoppers are accustomed to quick transactions, and their expectations for dealership experiences are no different. While the car-buying process is lengthy and detailed, consumers still expect efficiency and speed. They are coming in prepared because they don’t have time to sit at a dealership all day long. So how can your dealership cover all its bases at the same time it meets customer needs for quick, efficient buying experiences?
It may take some thinking outside the box, but there are ways dealership reputation management can make the car-buying process smoother and more efficient for shoppers, ultimately earning their trust and likely their repeat business in the long run. Keep your eyes open for ways you can make the buying process more efficient and pleasant, creating a more positive shopper experience. To get started, consider the following:
Most of your shoppers do a good amount of research in preparation for their actual shopping experiences. Not only does this arm them with essential information as they walk onto the lot, but they’re likely hoping to speed up the overall process by narrowing down their selections before they arrive at the dealership. Online tools and social platforms make it easy for consumers to research exactly what they want—and they can even verify in-stock models at specific locations once they’ve narrowed down their choices.
What does this mean for you? This makes it vital for your dealership to make a great online impression. Not only do you need to be easy to find, but your website should be up-to-date, easy to navigate, and loaded with your latest inventory.
Make your greeting count. Customers are looking for pros that are capable, excited about their jobs, and willing to go over the top to offer a positive buying experience. When customers immediately feel welcome and comfortable in a dealership, they’re more likely to interact and spend time there, increasing the odds they’ll purchase from you. First impressions count!
What does this mean for you? By ensuring your salespeople welcome shoppers into your dealership, you’re promoting personal interaction and conversation. Be sure your pros give out their business cards and contact information immediately, and remind them to ask questions that encourage responses. Rather than asking “How can I help you?” try a question like “What models are you looking at today?” to encourage shoppers to give more information.
Online applications are becoming more popular, and by utilizing them, you can help speed up transactions for shoppers. By applying for loans and getting approved online, shoppers can cut down on the time spent working on financing at the dealership. Not only does the dealership end up with less paperwork to do during the final purchase process, but shoppers are able to move through the buying process more quickly and with less stress.
What does this mean for you? When you offer shoppers the opportunity to complete their applications and a portion of their paperwork online, they’ll see you’re making an effort facilitate the process for them, fortifying your dealership reputation management. You’ll end up gaining shopper trust by shaving off some of the time-consuming paperwork that’s usually completed in the dealership.
Test drives are key; from virtual test drives to overnight vehicle trials to standard spins around-the-block, the way your dealership handles this portion of the shopping experience says a lot about the opportunities you’re willing to create for shoppers. Today’s consumers are on the lookout for innovation—from the beginning of their buyer journeys all the way through the purchase of their new vehicles—so a variety of approaches are being considered in order to meet their needs when it’s time to give their top choices a test run.
What does this mean for you? About one third of drivers take a single car out for a test drive before deciding to sign the paperwork and drive it home for good. This means there is a much higher chance of selling a car if you get your customer to sit in the driver’s seat and take it for a spin. It’s a good idea to consider innovative ideas as they become available, as shoppers will gravitate toward opportunities that put them in the driver’s seat and give them more choices throughout their buying experiences.
Once a vehicle is sold, your job isn’t done. Customer follow-ups are a great way to ensure previous shoppers keep coming back to your dealership. Keep in mind a steady brand presence, coupled with a quick and efficient process, is the best way to attract customers, get them in for a test drive, and then coax them into interacting on a personal level to successfully sell more cars. By going out of your way to improve the dealership experience for consumers, you’ll gain credibility and trust from shoppers who are looking for the best overall car-shopping experience they can find.