The Rules of Engagement: 5 Powerful Ways to Win Consumer Trust and Improve the Dealership Experience

dealership experience

The Rules of Engagement: 5 Powerful Ways to Win Consumer Trust and Improve the Dealership Experience

Dec. 28, 2017

Today’s consumers are educated and in search of businesses that can meet their needs when it comes to providing products and services to fit seamlessly into their busy lifestyles. Those who can offer speed and convenience, along with an appealing price tag, will be the ones to stand out in shoppers’ eyes. So what exactly are the rules of engagement when it comes to capturing consumers’ attention, earning trust, and ensuring your dealership is top of mind when it’s time to buy or service vehicles?

The first thing your dealership must realize is that the game has changed when it comes to marketing your brand. Consumers are looking for fast, efficient solutions to their automotive needs—something you’ve likely already heard. However, once you know that, the question then becomes how to respond to consumer demands and provide a quality experience that both benefits your dealership and satisfies modern consumer needs. Not only are shoppers seeking efficiency, they are also already armed with the information they need to make informed decisions when they arrive at a dealership. They are savvy researchers, and more often than not, show up at your dealership feeling ready to move forward quickly.

Let Shoppers Take the Wheel

There are several things your dealership can do in order to be prepared for consumers before they even set foot onto your lot. By being open to a new way of serving and empowering shoppers to take the wheel when it comes to the overall process of buying a car, you’ll make great strides toward earning trust and respect in the marketplace. Consumers are changing the rules of engagement, and you can ensure you dealership comes out on top by checking out the following 5 Powerful Ways to Win Consumer Trust:

1. Don’t hold your shoppers hostage. While the car-buying process has typically been an all-day ordeal that leaves shoppers feeling financially and emotionally drained, today’s consumers are looking for exactly the opposite. It’s unrealistic to think dealerships can completely turn the process into a vending-machine style process where buyers push a button and quickly walk away with a vehicle, however, be aware of pain points regarding time constraints and work to find ways to shorten the process when possible. Are you able to run financials without the customer onsite? Can you offer no-haggle pricing to eliminate time-consuming price negotiations? Once the sale is underway and the paperwork is in process, can you get your detail team started with the vehicle get-ready process in order to cut down on wait time? All these things go a long way toward showing your customers you truly care about their time and are working to make the car-buying process as smooth as possible.

2. Give consumers the knowledge they are looking for. Shoppers are researchers, and the majority of them will come to your dealership equipped with stats, information, and even price ranges they have found through online research. In the past, consumers turned to dealerships for initial product information and research, but today’s consumers have online tools that provide nearly everything they want to know—so in order to be seen as a trusted thought leader, your dealership needs to stand out online and provide shoppers with valuable information. On your dealership website, Facebook page, Twitter feed, and other social sites, post useful consumer content that will help your customers and keep your dealership front of mind for shoppers.

3. Go mobile to get noticed. You probably know mobile is a big deal, but now more than ever, it’s imperative your online messages are accessible across multiple devices. Consumers are utilizing mobile in their shopping and online research at an increasingly accelerated pace; in fact, 71% of auto shoppers use a smartphone or tablet to research vehicles at some point during the car buying process. Don’t sell yourself short with today’s savvy shoppers; ensuring your site is accessible via mobile is integral to the success of your dealership and will garner shopper trust by proving you are up-to-date in the tech world.

4. Provide visuals to get consumer attention. Think back to the days of “Show and Tell.” It was always the kid who had something really cool to SHOW that got a lot of great attention. That’s because humans are very visual in our thinking and processing, so when you put together your social media strategy, be sure to be thinking about pictures, videos, infographics, or an image of some kind. What will make your post really stand out? What will drive home the message you are sharing and capture viewer attention? Find an image to reinforce the message you’re sharing, and you’ll increase interaction with your post. In fact, tweets with images receive 150% more retweets than those without images. Those percentages indicate social media users are looking for images, and when you are able to provide what users are looking for, you’ll position yourself as a go-to source.

5. Get to know your shoppers. It used to be enough to get to know consumers as soon as they walked onto the lot, but waiting until they show up at your dealership just won’t work anymore. Now, it’s all about your social media strategy and getting to know shoppers where they are doing their research and getting product feedback. Shoppers are flocking to online social media sites for many reasons, one of which is to get product recommendations, and if your dealership isn’t putting itself out there and getting to know consumers on an individual basis, it’s missing out on sales. By building your online reputation, gaining friends and followers, and providing quality content, you’ll soon find yourself in the position of having influencers on your side who speak up for you and your brand—and we all know online word of mouth spreads like wildfire!

The rules of engagement are fairly straightforward when it comes to interacting with your consumers. Everyone is looking for a dealership that can meet his or her needs in a timely, professional manner, and while it may be impossible to promise a transaction that’s as quick as purchasing a pair of shoes on, the little things you do to make the car-buying experience smoother and easier end up building your credibility. By taking the steps to get to know your customers and learning what they are looking for in a dealership experience, you’ll be seen as a business that cares and wants to continuously improve the buying process. It’s time to turn your dealership into a game-changer by providing for shoppers in new and innovative ways!

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