The entire process of shopping for and buying a car has drastically changed over the years. The days of “kicking tires” and walking through a car lot and speaking with a car salesman that you may or may not trust are long gone. With so much information provided on the internet, most consumers already know everything they need to know about a vehicle before they walk through the doors of an auto dealership. Today’s salespeople of course need to know everything there is to know about the cars they sell, but to remain competitive and ultimately become successful and close the sale, they need to know even more about their customers.
According to a survey conducted by The Sales Management Association, “The very best salespeople outperform the rest because they truly and deeply understand their customers.” The results of the survey went on to uncover the fact that, “When correlated with the salespeople’s actual performance, the differences in their knowledge of their customers emerged as the primary characteristic of superior sales performance.”
In order to better understand the car buyers (and shoppers) of today, we have compiled a list of some interesting facts that were gathered from surveys and consumer profile data through Auto Dealer Today.
- Myth: By the time consumers reach a dealership website, they are ready to make a purchase.
- Fact: Seventy-six percent of dealership website users say they are not yet ready to buy at that time.
- Myth: All consumers on dealership websites want to be “sold.”
- Fact: Forty-six percent of consumers want to continue browsing inventory as an ideal next step, with twenty percent preferring to continue a broader search for information and only nineteen percent are ready for pre-approval.
- Myth: A quick and easy purchase is most important to consumers.
- Fact: Thirty-one percent of consumers say that incentives and discount information are the most important, twenty-seven percent feel that finance options are important and only twenty percent cite a quick and easy purchase as the most important.
- Myth: Always get the customer’s phone number!
- Fact: Only eight percent of consumers prefer to be contacted by phone, while sixty-seven percent prefer to be contacted by email.
- Myth: It is not appropriate to use text message to contact customers.
- Fact: Over twenty-four percent of consumers prefer a text message (and this number increases constantly).
- Myth: Customers need you to review every detail about the vehicle.
- Fact: Most customers already know most information about the vehicle and would prefer to discuss things like price negotiation and finance options.
While not every customer fits into these statistics, today’s salespeople have to be more attune to who their customer is, what they want to discuss, how they want to obtain information and be contacted and ultimately when they want to purchase a vehicle.
Sharma Levy, a sales executive who took part in the survey adds, “The best salespeople are simply more responsive to their customers’ needs. They know more about them, their knowledge is more relevant, and they tailor their sales approaches accordingly.”
Successful dealerships today need to know their product – but to excel, they need to know their customer even better!