Car-Buyer Survey Shows Soft Sell Seals Success

Asked to rank the most desirable qualities of the car-buying experience – minus the obvious answers of price and choice, honesty and confidence in the salesperson and improved customer service were the most important factors.

Alan Harman, Correspondent

February 18, 2016

2 Min Read
Dealers advised customers already have done homework
Dealers advised customers already have done homework.

New U.K. research shows the benefits of the softer sell by dealerships.

A survey by of more than 700 consumers across the region found that while price and choice remain the key considerations, when it comes to car sales, the four “Rs” of reputation, relationships, recommendations and rapport still are important.

Manheim U.K. Group owns, which operates the region’s second- largest car-search response network for vehicle dealers. In turn, Manheim U.K. Group is part of Cox Automotive, which describes itself as the world’s largest provider of automotive services to fleets, vehicle dealers, vehicle manufacturers and traders.

The research shows 30% of consumers say having confidence in the dealer greatly influenced their decision where to buy their car.

Some 36% of respondents said whether they had heard of the dealer and whether it had been recommended by other car buyers was important, and 18% said having a good rapport with the dealer was important.

When asked what was the most desired improvement to the car-buying experience –  taking the most obvious answer of price (17%) and choice (16%) out of the equation –  honesty and confidence in the salesperson (15%) and improved customer service (12%) ranked as the most important factors.

Peter Watts, director of dealer insight at, says the research shows that upon initial contact with the dealer, the consumer already has decided after hours of research that the vehicle they have selected will fit their lifestyle and financial requirements.

“Therefore, dealers can benefit by switching their focus to helping the customer validate their decision using soft skills to cement the sale,” Watts says in a statement.

Quick and simple measures, such as ensuring scheduling test drives suits the customer’s personal and work schedule, will further strengthen the consumer’s confidence in the salesperson.

“These findings highlight the importance of aligning the basics around price and choice with softer skills, making sure everyone within a dealership who is responsible for sales is also focused on delivering the very best customer service,” Watts says.

About the Author(s)

Alan Harman

Correspondent, WardsAuto

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