An Informed Customer Is NOT a Sold Customer

Dealer Solutions Magazine powered by Imperial Press Direct

It’s time to get over the 2014 Hangover. It’s February and we need to get moving! Let’s move forward with the basics of building value for customers.

How many times has a customer displayed a bit of knowledge about a car that they are interested in purchasing? Perhaps they ask for something specific, so they must be sold on what they want right? Not exactly. It isn’t always that simple.

The obvious trend to anyone who visits a dealership as a customer seems to be that most salespeople are no longer doing a good job of building value for customers. In some cases there appears to be an underlying assumption that, because some customers are so well informed about car buying from more transparent forms of disclosure from dealers, there is no need to build value. They have done it for themselves! Why waste time, right?

Well it’s time to stop being passive, feeling undermined and shortcutting. Things change, now it’s time to get creative and figure out a solution. Let me pose this question: What is it that customers CAN’T get from researching online? The ability to feel it, touch it, smell it, and most importantly drive it.

Sure a customer can watch videos of people driving a car online. Anyone can listen to reviews, read magazine articles, or tune in to the latest episode of Top Gear to see if that Fiesta really can outmaneuver a Corvette in a car chase through a shopping mall. To an extent, some value can be built there. The problem is that it doesn’t really matter what someone else says about the car that a customer wants. Ultimately, they must perceive value.

The person in the online review might find that new Challenger to be “just stunning,” but what if the customer drives it and thinks the suspension is too stiff. Maybe it feels too heavy for them, or it just doesn’t quite feel like they had hoped. They will never find out until they hop in for a test drive, and they may never hop into a test drive if a salesperson skips it.

Statistics show that closing ratios drastically increase after a test drive becomes part of the process, and it clearly builds a unique value for the customer.   Why are some managers not making this a priority? Perhaps it is due to the general ambiguity surrounding the current process for taking a test drive. As it stands, a manager may or may not know if and when a salesperson is taking a test drive. They certainly don’t have any informative statistics about the effectiveness of their test drives, what route is being taken, how long the test drive takes, etc…

No dealer would feel comfortable not knowing anything about his or her sales or internet teams’ performance. To put it simply, no one wants to be in the dark. It can be a bit terrifying, and in the face of fear lays inaction. No longer ignore our problems, let’s face them. Just as there are modern tools for managing a sales, BDC, or marketing team, there are also modern solutions to ensuring the test drive.

The Next Up is one of the fastest-growing solutions in the business. Our team of automotive professionals is deeply rooted in this industry. Through our understanding of the dealership environment, we have created a very specific process used by some of the most profitable dealers in the country. Our technology brings visibility and key insight into the strengths and weaknesses of your sales team. We will make you more profitable. Even in today’s up-and-down automotive climate, our clients outperform the competition.