I have a dream of the perfect car buying experience and here’s what it looks like
Justin Ashton, Sales Director, CDK Global Middle East
Today I’m going to talk about the sales process – If I’m a potential customer looking for a new car what do I want and expect from my dealership?
I want to be able to browse your models, see accurate information, compare trim levels, check options and view a final total price (both cash and finance / leasing options). I want to be able to do this sat at home on my sofa. Pictures are a must, video walk-arounds even better. It would be really great if I could click through to independent reviews and perhaps live chat with a product expert to confirm something. A gold star would be given for an approximate valuation of my current car. And please do warn me of cars that you don’t actually have available.
Maybe you’ll need to ask me for some basic contact information, but if it’s contextual, such as to send a brochure or directions, no problem.
From here, I need to make the step from online to offline, get the feel of the vehicle in person. I would like to receive directions and opening hours for your nearest location straight to my phone. Top marks would be given to the dealer that asks me if I want one brought to my home to see it in the metal. Failing that, allow me to schedule an appointment. Please though, be ready for my arrival.
Once face to face, I would have pretty much decided between one or two models, so please make it easy for me. I am HOT! Don’t ask me for information that I have already given. Tell me that you already have it. Show me the car, be able to answer my questions about the features, present some choices that maybe I didn’t know of, then allow me to test drive it (again points for a 24 hour test drive on my doorstep). Whilst I am test driving the new car, evaluate my old one and prepare me a great deal. You should know my payment preference, but maybe give me some options, so I feel that I am in control. By the way, I will not come back for another trade-in evaluation.
Once back from test drive, present me with the offer, explain the details, don’t miss anything out and then back off, perhaps go have a coffee while I mull it over. One thing I don’t want is a back and forth protracted negotiation where we both feel that the other guy won – be clear and transparent. If need be get the manager out to meet me and sort out the deal.
If I want to go think about it, that’s ok. Make sure you know why I’m hesitant but if I do want to go, lay out how I would need to proceed (remember make it easy for me). You could even offer to come round and collect my documents and sort the paperwork.
Then follow up with me – I’m looking for a fine balance between ignoring and harassment. Anything I still need to know? What concerns do I have? Remind me of the benefits. You may have already captured my communication preferences, if those are over the phone, email or SMS.
If I do decide to go ahead, again make it easy for me. I want to pay by card online without me visiting the showroom – this is 2018 after all and cash / cheques are not practical. If I’m buying without finance, maybe I want to pay the whole balance by debit card – I don’t have the time or inclination to go to the bank. If I am buying with finance, I want you to do the running around for me. I want to give you the details, complete the paperwork, get a fast approval and then complete when I collect my car ideally.
A couple of other things I don’t want – I don’t want to wait an age for my new car if I don’t have to. I don’t want to visit the dealership multiple times in between sale and handover – the ideal is zero or one visit. The maximum I would tolerate is two or three visits in total. Come to me - I have a job and a family, whereas your job is to help people buy cars. The other thing I really don’t want is to be without a car in the meantime – it seems common practice to take the trade-in off me at time of order. I am NOT getting a taxi home!
In between order and handover, let me know occasional progress. Remind me what I need to bring when I collect the car. At handover, explain the fancy new features, pair my phone to the Bluetooth and make sure I know where to go and who to call should I have a question or issue.
Then call me after a couple of days and check I’m ok, the car is fine and remind me of when my first service is due. You could also offer me something if I refer friends at this point.
So that’s it – the key to winning my business is to make it as easy as possible to buy a car from you. Information, pricing, choice, convenience and reassurance are the motivators.
Does technology make it easier for you? Sure it does – a strong digital presence with a website connected to your DMS, information at your fingertips, workflows for trade-ins, discounts and offers, mobile tools so you can visit me, reminders of upcoming tasks, CRM, Loyalty, CSI. These are all available today. I am not asking for anything super advanced.
How does your sales process compare?
One final thought – is 60 month finance still the right approach? Could a more flexible lease or PCP option be a better fit for me?