Stop Thinking Like a Dealer

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Article by Josh Mitchell

August 8th-10th at the beautiful MGM Grand in Las Vegas I will be speaking at Digital Dealer 21. My subject is “Stop Thinking Like a Dealer”. This topic is something that dealerships really need to start thinking about. For decades we have pushed our customers down a path that was designed by us for us. As the years have passed, the customer’s expectations have risen and yet we have stayed the same.

Let’s start out by saying we created this problem. We have no one to blame but ourselves. We hide information. We don’t tell them the rate or term and we created the wonderful foursquare. We created pushy salesman and follow up that is a joke.

The auto industry is not the only one feeling the pressure to change their model. Just recently the taxi business was disrupted. With Uber and Lyft entering our world the taxi business has been flipped upside down. The customer gets to customize their travel experience from the comfort of the one thing we hold closer than our families. OUR PHONES!!! No more guessing how much the taxi driver is going to charge and no more sketchy taxi drivers. It’s all about the experience.

As dealers we have to understand that the best price isn’t what the customer is seeking. It’s the experience. Not only the purchase experience but the lifetime experience. From your virtual showroom (AKA BDC) to your actual showroom. Your BDC has to treat each and every lead as if that customer is sitting in front of them. Speedy and quality responses are key. Just FYI if you are not answering within 5 minutes you are losing deals. We have to communicate the way they want to communicate but never should we rely on one type of message. Utilize text, email, video and for the love of god. PICK UP THE PHONE. Give information overload. Those who hide information appear shady to the customer and they will lose out to the people who will give it freely.

This culture goes hand in hand with the customer that is in your showroom. Give information and leave the slick used car salesman reputation in the past. The days of the 50 foot gorilla and the circus show are over. We are professionals and it’s time to start acting the part. Lose the high pressure sales mindset and go at the customers pace. This is about them, not you.

Our industry is booming. Some of you may think there isn’t a reason to change but it won’t be this easy forever. When it gets really hard and when times get tough, those who have used this time to refine our business by putting ourselves above the rest will be reaping the benefits. Join me in Vegas to learn more about why you should start thinking like a customer and not like a dealer.