As we move into 2019, there are three trends forecasted to largely affect dealership operations and the way customers buy cars.

 

The empowered customer

The empowered consumer who, largely because of the Internet, enters the dealership informed, serious about buying and knowing the invoice price.

 

A few years back, prospective customers would visit the dealer 7-8 times before buying a vehicle, whereas now they visit dealerships just twice, on average. Basically these visits are to negotiate, sign, and drive the vehicle home, after they have decided on the vehicle to buy, the dealership to buy it from, and the price-point.

 

Dealers now have to find, engage, and influence prospects before they even step into the dealership.

To influence prospects before they ever reach the dealership, dealers need to create a connected online identity that reaches and touches local prospects when they go online. This new omnipresent identity should extend to your car dealer website, social media including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, onto search advertising, blogs and more. Your technology should enable you to capture leads on the dealer website, as well as through social media campaigns, and flow directly into your CRM and onto the next available sales consultant.

 

What’s crucial is whatever engagement you have with prospective customers online seamlessly connects to their in-person showroom visit. If you don’t have a file of their previous enquiries, purchase history, or car preferences, you will most likely not close the deal as you will go into the sale unarmed of crucial information. The empowered customer comes to you for additional expertise — not to regurgitate what they’ve already learned online.

 

Greater spend on tech

Dealers are beginning to understand the importance of the sales funnel, and implementing technology within the dealership to help close more sales. 

 

With a world-wide decrease in new car sales over the past few years, dealers are starting to place importance on understanding basic sales principles to close more deals. We’re seeing more and more dealers invest in the right technology to help sales consultants focus on hot prospects, recover lost leads, improve test drive conversions, move prospective customers from Lead to Prospect and more. How much time do your sales consultants spend sitting at the desk? Advanced tools allow dealer sales consultants to capture leads and progress them from anywhere in and outside the dealership. Dealers jumping on this trend of implementing a foundation of advanced technology & analytics will bring with them a crucial competitive edge heading into the new year.

 

Lloyd Waterhouse, CEO Reynolds and Reynolds Co in the U.S. tends to agree.

 

Dealers and car companies spent $18 billion on local market advertising last year. Moving 5%-10% of that to IT products that leverage and target customer data bases would provide “a huge return,” he says.

 

“Don’t misunderstand me. Ads are extremely important. But moving some of that money for leads and closings would be tremendous,” says Waterhouse. It’s crucial to leverage information assets. Think of them less as an expense and more as “a strategic weapon.”

 

 

Staff retention

As employee turnover reaches an all-time high, dealers are beginning to place greater importance on keeping quality staff in order to deliver exceptional customer experience to prospective customers

 

As employee turnover reaches an all-time high, dealers are beginning to place greater emphasis on how to keep quality employees in order to deliver exceptional customer experience to prospective customers. When dealers have sales consultants leaving every few months, it’s hard to maintain the level of professionalism and expertise required to compete in today’s market.

 

One important trend we’re seeing is a transition to coaching, rather than just managing or training. It’s a critical part of the aureso business model – spending the time to coach the exact steps to tangibly improve KPIs. We’re seeing sales managers spend time with sales consultants on a daily basis to go over the crucial numbers and conversions that need to improve in order to deliver on end of month targets. This brief daily guidance and focus on the numbers helps sales consultants exceed KPIs, and learn the drivers that will help them get there before end of month targets hit. As employees begin to hit their numbers and even excel, they are motivated to perform better and deliver a greater customer experience to customers.

 

Key takeaways to consider for 2019:

 

  • Implement technology that enables a connected experience for your customer. Deliver greater expertise & fluent engagement for prospective customers to deliver an edge against competitors.
  • Spend less on broad-based marketing (in auto retailing, TV has the worst ROI than any other media) and more on establishing the right technology in place to help close more sales and give you insightful analytics for the future
  • Leverage information assets. Think of them less as an expense and more as “a strategic weapon”
  • Place emphasis on coaching employees to show them exactly how and where they can improve on daily conversions to hit their end of month targets. The happier and more successful they are, the more knowledge & expertise they will share with your customers.

 

 

Curious to learn more? Reach out to the aureso team & see how we can help.