The Driving Sales whitepaper series shows research that consumers, particularly millennials, want a better car buying experience. Is there anyone who likes spending the better part of their day at a dealership? Sales pitches, test drives, financing, waiting, so much waiting, so much paperwork.So if we know that selling and testing and paying and form filling and yes, waiting, are part of the car buying process, what can be done to improve the experience before we all resort to vending machines for our next new car purchase?
Millenials want things to happen fast. Like Siri fast. Ok Google fast. There’s no way to condense a vehicle purchase into less than five minutes, but there are reachable improvements to be made.
Comfort is key | Create a sit down and stay a while atmosphere. You should have good coffee. Is it too much to ask to splurge on the K-cup variety pack? What about food? We've all seen the Snicker's commercials. How can your customer make a financial decision of this magnitude after several hours of decision making if their stomach is growling? Just take a look at this article on how hunger affects your decision making skills. That's right. Hangry is a real thing. And while you’re making your customer comfortable and fully caffeinated, don’t miss the opportunity sitting right in front of you—a captive audience who made the choice to walk in your dealership. A consumer excited about the idea of their new hunk of metal. Use the waiting period to capitalize on this focused and excited mind. The mind that’s already in buying mode. The mind that just chose their vehicle based on their lifestyle and personality. Now’s the time to let your customer sit comfortably and relaxed and personalize their vehicle.
Environment matters | I can't think of one waiting room I'm excited to get to. (Does anyone else's doctor's office have old magazines and Oprah re-runs?) The reality is, waiting is part of purchasing and maintaining a car. Whether your customer is waiting on F&I or an oil change, your goal is to create an environment that's relaxed and welcoming. Your chairs should be extremely comfortable. Can you have some that aren't as low to the ground for your older customer who has trouble getting out of a couch with deep seats? As a mom, I always appreciate a waiting area with toys and toddler seats. What about a small bookshelf with options ranging from Dr. Seuss to The Catcher In The Rye? Is there a television? Is there a computer? Can your customer look online at accessories they have to choose from? Can they comfortably sit outside (with their coffee) on a nice day? How far can you go to ease the dread that is a waiting area? Think outside the box and try to cater to customers of all walks of life.
Invest in your staff (it shows) | According to American Express Open Forum, consumers naturally assume sales men and women are pushy and annoying. Chances are, the person is neither of these things outside (or inside) of the sales situation. Get to the root cause of what would cause someone to push the deal to the point of turning the customer off. Have a process in place that's easy for your sales staff to follow, and make it easy for them to give the customer what they want. Make every effort to ensure your sales staff is adequately trained and confident. Give them the authority to make decisions on the deal. Can we just nix the "let me talk to the manager" thing? Seriously. Everyone hates that, and it reduces your sales person from a professional to the middle man between your customer and the Wizard of Oz.
The point is, no customer is looking to spend the day at the dealership and no sales person wants to spend all their time on one transaction--and that still doesn't change the marathon process that is car buying. How can you go the extra mile? Until we can whittle this down to 45 minutes, focus on making your customer comfortable, maintaining a positive environment with professional staff, and capitalizing on vehicle personalization. You'll be glad you did.
By: Whitney Williams, Social Media Expert at Insignia Group