A Dealership’s 4 Step Guide To Success
In 2019, the new car sales process is as competitive as ever. The journey a customer makes from the top of the sales funnel to the bottom (final purchase stage) is a long one.
An informed buyer, someone who is good with their money will take their sweet, sweet time in making a purchase of a new car. Rightfully so too, as it is the second most important financial decision a person makes in his or her life after buying a home.
So we asked ourselves, “what makes a dealership truly successful? What do the most successful dealerships do to remain at the top of the market share?”
These questions are answered and much more in this blog post. So take only 4 minutes out of your busy day to ensure your dealership is on the right path to success. You won’t want to miss out on this read!
It’s absolutely necessary to advertise your dealership. The average car buying cycle isn’t nearly as quick as something simple like if you were selling haircuts or trying to get diners to your restaurant. In fact, it takes the average buyer 108 days to make a final decision once they enter the market for a new or used car.
The number 1 thing dealerships need to do is maintain a relationship with potential customers. Install pixels (cookies) on your website and slam those who visit your website with ads reminding them of your services. This pixel/cookie is a small piece of code that “follows” the user around the internet.
Maintain an online presence! Be ACTIVE on social media, post engaging content and communicate with people on social media platforms! This is crucial nowadays. In a study done by Cox Automotive, 60% of a customer’s time is spent online researching and learning about cars.
You NEED to be online and to put your brand in front of the eyes of folks on these car buying sites, forums, social media, etc. Not only do you get your brand in front of people in the market for a car, but it’s also one of the best ways a brand can create a loyal following and develop brand retention.
Boost your social posts! Not only should you be posting on social media, but you should be actually boosting these posts to cast a larger “net”. You can effectively hit thousands of people on top of your current followers with your content.
When you maintain that relationship with a customer throughout those 108 days through retargeting online ads. What do we mean by retargeting online ads? These are display ads you find on websites all over the internet.
When paired with pixels or “cookies” we can effectively follow users around the internet! Say a user hits your website, they are hit with a pixel/cookie. After they visit your website, the user may go to YouTube or another website on the Google search network. Your ad can be put in front of the same user on different websites so they don’t forget about your brand.
When you pair retargeting ads with powerful social media engagement, you are much more likely to be the dealership the consumer ends up doing business with than those who DON’T maintain a relationship.
2) Good Business Practices
This goes without saying, but don’t take advantage of your customers! Be HONEST. It’s more important than ever to be open and transparent in the sales process. When a customer is treated with respect, they are much more likely to continue doing business with you.
Tied into this, is the training and retention of quality employees. Ensure your workforce is informed, prepared and educated to help customers the best they can. It wouldn’t do anyone justice if a salesperson cant answer questions confidently, wasting a customers time, driving them to another dealership and losing your dealership money.
No business is going to retain a loyal customer base with dishonest business practices and poorly trained employees. Be upfront about your pricing, don’t be hiding extra fees in the paperwork! It’s actually illegal in certain places, like here in Ontario for instance. People want to be aware of the real cost of the second largest financial decision of their lives (and we don’t blame them.) When employees aren’t trained properly, they may mislead customers (not intentionally of course) but nonetheless, it leaves a sour taste in a customer’s mouth.
Customers also know more than your salespeople give them credit for. People are more informed than ever as most everyone is online nowadays. When customers are feeling talked down to, or if they feel they are being mistreated they will simply walk out the door. You should be going into a sales pitch with the attitude of “this customer already knows just as much as me about this car.”
3) Do You Know Who Your Customers Are?
This is a loaded question, we know. What we mean here is to better understand what people want when looking for a vehicle. Are you offering the products they want? Do you have a dealership in their country, and have a fleet of unsold small passenger cars? Analyze who your average customer is, do they want trucks? Stock up more trucks, order less small cars.
Do you live somewhere where it’s likely to have lots of snow and freezing rain? Offer customers special winter packages! You can offer customers a free set of winter tires to go with that brand new $40,000 truck they want. Another offer could be including a complementary anti rusting service in your fixed ops department!
Research the area your dealership is in. Look into the demographics of who makes up your town. Are there more farmers who live around you? Offer a wider selection of trucks. Maybe there are a lot of environmentalists? Offer more hybrid vehicles. When you know who you’re serving you can get a better grasp of what to offer people. You should even be looking into things like the average income! This gives you a better idea of how many people are buying or leasing their cars and the likelihood of add-ons being accepted by the customer.
A good dealer management system could really help you out here. AutoServe1 integrates with top DMS systems to ensure seamless workflow in dealerships.
4) Streamlined Workflow
On average, when buying new car customers spend about 3 hours in a dealership during the sales process. To our surprise, according to a Cox Automotive study, half that time is spent doing paperwork! That’s simply no fun for anybody.
The car buying experience should be a fun one and should be as quick, and straightforward as possible. 77% of car buyers were satisfied with the test drive. That’s not bad, but when F/I were factored into the sales process customer satisfaction plummeted to just 59%. People simply aren’t happy with how long it takes to get through all the paperwork and financing.
What can your dealership do to fix this? Implement online workflows to speed up the process. This could allow customers to complete parts of the sales process before arriving at the dealership which would speed up the sales process.
Workflow doesn’t stop in the sales office either. Service is just as important! With Workflow1 by AutoServe1, dealerships are given the opportunity to really ramp up the service process.
Now, when customers pull into your dealership, they become engaged and informed through every step of the inspection process. Customers feel like they are right there with technicians as they essentially take part in the walk-through at every step.
Service advisors can begin inspections as soon as the customer pulls up without any front desk check-in or entry into the dealership system.
Service advisors scan the vehicle’s VIN and immediately create the customer’s inspection report and profile in the dealership system. As the service advisor performs their digital inspection, they can instantaneously input needed repairs as they walk while keeping in contact with the customer.
Customers can then receive extremely detailed digital inspections sent directly to their smartphone where they can even approve service repairs!
When your service workflow is streamlined and digital like service centers all over North America are, customers really appreciate it. So much so, they even become more willing to approve more service work driving up YOUR average repair orders! We actually conducted a case study where we saw an average increase of 25% on average repair orders.
Service departments can further improve workflow by having custom checklists in place.Thats why AutoServe1 developed Builder1 .With Builder1, dealerships can create custom checklists for all the inspection services the service department provides. Create custom checklists for break service, fluids, you name it!
Implementing these custom checklists give dealerships, and customers peace of mind in knowing nothing is missed during the inspection process. Not only does it give peace of mind, but When technicians follow a streamlined checklist, it should take them less time in completing inspections as well, thus improving workflow.
If you want to learn more about AutoServe1, you can schedule a free demo by clicking the link below