Digital Retailing Is The Gateway To Transparency – Like It Or Not!
The Game Has Changed
While some still believe that giving the customer as little information as possible, or refusing to provide worksheets to customers out of fear that they will shop the competitor for a better price, leads to more deals and higher PVR – the opposite appears to be coming true. We’re beginning to see that the most performant dealers are adapting a more transparent and modern approach to “working” deals.
Does this mean we think Salespeople should quarterback their own deals? Absolutely not. What we do think though, is that the process from test drive to write-up should be seamless and professional, and that desking a deal should never include the use of a sharpie!
A 2019 survey revealed that only 8% of people viewed car salespeople as “honest and ethical”, which leaves a huge opportunity for us as an industry to change that perception. What once was a winning strategy no longer seems to be effective – lack of transparency is turning away potential buyers – people that have become accustomed to having endless information at their fingertips.
As we wrote about back in our blog post “Say Goodbye to Your Four Square” it seems customers know exactly what they’re looking for by the time they make it to the dealership (or in 2020, make it to your website or digital retailing tool). They’ve likely researched which model, trim and colour combination they would like – and even watched some YouTube reviews and virtual test drives. They’ve gone on the manufacturer’s website and gotten payments long before they asked you for a quote.
Visiting most dealership websites to view payments or get pricing often results in a confusing experience and a selection of either terribly low or super-inflated vehicle payments. This makes for a less-than-ideal experience for a consumer trying to understand exactly what it will cost them to purchase their next vehicle. How many of us have heard the “Wow! I was expecting the payments to be a lot less than that” or the “But the [Insert Manufacturer Website Here] said the payments were $75 less than that”? The reason for this is that dealers have not had great solutions to present customers with up-front, all-in, accurate pricing and payments for the last decade – which drove consumers to the manufacturer website or resulted in them taking the payment from your website as the actual number they used to budget. But this is changing. And it is changing quickly.
How We Win
With the recent onset of COVID (I wanted desperately to write a blog post without using that term, but I just couldn’t escape it, I promise!) dealers are finally getting tools that they can integrate into their websites that offer real vehicle pricing and payments. A side effect of this is that deals in the store need to reflect those same numbers – there’s just no way around it.
So…why write about this topic? Well, the truth is that we think dealers need to closely examine how they are transacting with customers and stop thinking about each interaction as digital vs. in-store. Let me explain below.
Remember when we used to ask a customer “what brought you in today” and they would respond with something like “we saw your ad in the newspaper”? We would then mark that as the traffic source in our CRM and then each month we would say that 11 deals came from our newspaper ads. Well, as we all know, times have changed, and we’ve all grown to realize that consumer behaviour is driven by a variety of contributing factors – there is no single marketing source driving 90% of our deals. The same is becoming true for our transactions – consumers are relying on a variety of sources now to establish pricing and payments, which means we better have the same pricing in all the places we display it: the vehicle window, the website, the worksheet, the…you get my drift.
Having a single solution for Desking and Digital Retailing is not going to be optional in 2 years – it’s going to be the only way to not go crazy trying to manage vehicle sales.
Transparency is the net result of Digital Retailing – like it or not. And the dealers that understand this are pushing themselves to make their in-store process exactly as transparent as their digital retailing process.
If you would like to see how our dealers are succeeding both in-store and online, let us know, we’d love an opportunity to understand the unique challenges your team is facing right now! Drop us a line at 1-855-388-0145 or Contact Us and we’ll reach out to you.
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