Dealing with Today's Shoppers

You think you're being serious. But they think you're kidding. Does your next customer really think your old standby loser deal in the local media touting the Sale of the Century is enough to win them over? No, they don't. If you do, then you are ignoring that: 20% more time is spent by consumers buying a car, although you can sell a car faster than ever before. 66% of car buyer do not buy from the

You think you're being serious. But they think you're kidding.

Does your next customer really think your old standby “loser deal” in the local media touting the “Sale of the Century” is enough to win them over?

No, they don't. If you do, then you are ignoring that:

  • 20% more time is spent by consumers buying a car, although you can sell a car faster than ever before.
  • 66% of car buyer do not buy from the car dealership of initial contact, although customers are very close to buying once they begin to contact dealerships.
  • Today it takes 6.5 walk-ins, 8.5 phone-ins and 13.5 e-mails to sell a car. And each one of these types of contact brings a different kind of buyer.

Clearly, some customers feel they can do much of their car shopping without dealer help. Some even have a false sense of confidence that they don't even need the dealer at all, except to consummate the deal.

What can you do to be relevant to today's smarter “empowered techno-buyer”?

First, convince your sales people the old-school dealer tactics of yesteryear are behind us and that the reason so many people disdain buying cars is because of these tactics.

Consumers do not fear buying, instead they fear being put in the position of “over-buying.” In other words, they fear getting taken. I can speak from personal experience having purchased a Nissan by myself at the tender age of 18. I found out later that what I paid amounted to a gross profit that must have been a world record.

Burn the customer once, and say goodbye for good. (My Nissan-buying experience.)

Treat a customer right, and they will sing about you as if you can do no wrong. (My current Lexus dealer.)

So what can you do to get started? Here's what:

Re-evaluate not just your media mix, but your message statement as well. If you are still trying to kid the customer, many will pass on your offer and you'll never even know it. No amount of marketing and advertising can overcome the long-term damage of customer deception.

Make sure your message creates a feeling of exclusivity. Why must they shop your store?

Make sure that it shares a sense of value. Why is your car a better deal beyond price only?

Make sure that our advertising is congruent with your sales training. Why do some sales people not know lot inventory without “checking”?

I respect dealership owners and sales people. Selling a very expensive branded product to an emotionally charged consumer is one of the toughest sales jobs in America.

The fact is that car and truck sales people have never been better. The industry has matured at lightning speed. And so it's important that the advertising that the customer sees “out there” is better too.

Adam Armbruster is a partner in the retail and broadcasting consulting firm Eckstein, Summers, Armbruster and Company in Red Bank, NJ. He is at [email protected] or 941-928-7192. His firm offers complimentary consultations to Ward's readers in a limited number of cities.

Questions or comments about this column? Send us an e-mail at [email protected].

Hide comments

Comments

  • Allowed HTML tags: <em> <strong> <blockquote> <br> <p>

Plain text

  • No HTML tags allowed.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.
Publish