By Toni Anne Fardette, President and COO of The Billion Dollar Girl, Inc.
August 17, 2018
I don’t know how many of you are aware, but the in-market shopper would rather have a root canal without Novocain than come to a car dealership. See, they need a car, but they don’t want to go through the process of buying or leasing one, because of what we have created that process to look like. One of the GM’s I have worked for in the past and one of the best operators I have seen in my time in this industry, always used to tell us this: “The customer should never have to feel the pain of our process.”
Well, amen to that but we really do the opposite! They intensely feel the pain of our process!
So, knowing this, the way that I see it is that we have two choices.
- Keep doing what we have always done expecting a different, more favorable result. (which is the definition of insanity, by the way)
- Come up with solutions that put the in-market shopper at ease and makes them more comfortable.
In other words, be part of the problem or be part of the solution. It’s really that simple.
One major thing that we can easily drop into our current process, no matter what it is-is to define the expectation and fulfill it. Let me expand on that. Most dealers spend a great deal of money advertising and what comes from that advertising is usually funneled through a BDC or CCC, some sort of call center that handles these opportunities. Some dealers do not have this model and their salespeople or managers handle these opportunities. Frankly, who handles them is not what matters. It’s the training and word tracks we provide them on how to set the expectation and follow through on it. We need to understand the fear and/or general distrust a potential buyer has when they arrive at the dealership. We don’t have to like it and we don’t have to agree with it. But the fact is their perception is reality and we need to deal with it. So here is an example of how I would close out a call after setting an appointment to set the expectation.
“Do you know where we are located? Great! I am going to send you a text and an email with our address and directions, as well as the following info: When you arrive, please come through the main middle entrance and check in with the receptionist for your appointment. Let her know you are here to see me. If for any reason I am not available, please ask for _______. At that point, we will greet you, and have the car ready for you to drive and we will review all the features and benefits of owning this vehicle. After that, we will make the negotiation process super simple, comfortable and fair, as well as respect your time spent with us. I would also love to have your favorite beverage waiting for you. What might that be?”
What are some of your favorite radio stations? I want to have them pre-programmed for your test drive. I look forward to seeing you then!”
Make sure you then send that text (compliantly with opt in of course and never from a personal cell phone), email (preferably a video email confirmation) right after the call.
Now what a dealer can physically accommodate in terms of having the exact vehicle ready or whether their receptionist is the check in point is irrelevant. Create a process that works for your model. Bottom line-have a process-set the expectation and deliver on it!