Never Get Caught Playing “Ketchup”
Three tomatoes are walking down the street. Papa Tomato, Mama Tomato, and Baby Tomato. Baby Tomato starts lagging behind, and Papa Tomato gets really angry. He goes back and squishes Baby Tomato and says: “Ketchup.”
Like any business trying to succeed in today’s ultra-competitive market, your dealership should avoid playing “ketchup” or risk getting squashed. At a minimum, you must meet the pace of your customers’ changing expectations. There are two particular expectations that heavily influence dealership processes and give forward-thinking dealers a competitive advantage: adapting a modern, streamlined sales approach and staying ahead of the technology curve.
Change management can be an agonizing task. At a dealership, change is often avoided or unenthusiastically embraced. Between rapidly changing consumer buying habits, high employee attrition rates, and sales reps with “old school” mentalities, it is extremely difficult to introduce new sales techniques and tools effectively and efficiently.
One thing is clear: Dealers must make these changes fast or risk falling behind. The competition is expanding into new arenas at an accelerated pace. Digital syndication is just one aspect where there are so many different technologies available to dealers, from devices to software to hardware, it may be difficult to determine the best strategic approach to optimize ROI. Based on our observations, top dealers across the country tend to stay focused on a handful of best practices.
Back to the Basics
Technology aside, consider how cars are sold and why repeat customers come back to a dealer again and again. Simply put, it’s relationships.
The best technologies take up less time “computing” instead paving the way for staff to connect with customers. It may sound counterintuitive, but good technology fosters engagement, builds trust, and increases the likelihood that a customer develops loyalty and purchases from you time and again.
Where to Begin
You should start with a simple, intuitive platform that offers various extensions that can be customized for your dealership’s unique needs. Look for a solution that is constantly evolving and offers integrated tools that work together across all areas of the dealership. A platform with separate tools that don’t work in unison tends to complicate the process instead of simplifying it.
According to a J.D. Power study, the use of tablets draws substantially higher customer satisfaction ratings, while the use of handwritten pencils and verbal quotes has a negative impact on buyer experience.
J.D. Power explains, “Verbal quotes and descriptions produce some of the lowest index scores; this method is not aligned with how today’s consumer prefers to transact.”
So how do consumers prefer to transact? They want a dealer that makes use of the same familiar technology they are using, which is mobile.
You can significantly increase customer satisfaction by leveraging devices such as tablets and smartphones into the sales process. By simply utilizing mobile technology, your CRM can make a bigger impact than ever before.
According to DealerSocket’s 2015 Dealership Action Report, only 52 percent of dealers implement mobile devices into their sales strategies, yet it is estimated that 75 percent of shoppers use their mobile device in-store. If dealers utilized mobile platforms as part of the quote process, they would never have to excuse themselves from the customer, reducing the likelihood of that customer going on their phone to research or shop competitor websites during the negotiation.
Employing mobile technology on the sales floor not only simplifies transactions and puts a modern face on your dealership, it encourages trust-based activities for your sales staff.
Here are a few recommendations to get your dealership started on a mobile sales process.
Cut back on desktops and invest in tablets. Giving your sales team desktop stations sets them up for failure. In order to input customer information, they either have to walk away from the customer or put off information entry until after the customer leaves. Providing tablets to all sales staff allows them to input customer info as they receive it from anywhere on the sales floor, during a test drive, or out on the lot. It also builds trust by granting customers visibility into what your sales reps are doing.
Being able to capture information anywhere and anytime also allows the sales process to proceed without interruption. Delays in the discussion only provide opportunities for the customer to develop objections.
- Provide mobile apps that empower your sales staff. Selecting the right mobile apps streamlines the sales process and builds a stronger bond with your customers. Apps such as mobile CRM and a driver’s license scanner allow your salespeople to capture important facts about the customer at any point of in sale without leaving the customer. Mobile presentations reduce the number of times your salesperson has to retreat to the desk, which builds engagement and trust.
Set up inventory access. More than 70 percent of today’s car buyers have used online resources for research and have a vehicle in mind before they enter your dealership. Merchandising vehicles on your website with well-lit photos and full product descriptions allows you to guide them through vehicle specs without having to walk them from car to car through the lot.
Providing VDP information to your sales teams via their mobile devices engenders customer confidence. Someone looking to invest tens of thousands of dollars in a purchase doesn’t want to feel like they know more about their purchase than the salesperson who is assisting them.
Many dealerships are making great strides to implement new technologies on their sales floor. The increasing prevalence of technology-based solutions breeds greater competition and improves customer experience. In today’s market, introducing mobile to your sales process is really table stakes. It is an easily employable option that can have a remarkable impact on customer retention and your shop’s bottom line.
Understanding your staff and your customer demographic will help you determine how mobile can improve the customer experience at your dealership or in your dealer group. Coupled with the right technology partner, you can implement an effective mobile process through effective change management and avoid playing catch-up.
To about all the mobile offerings available to you, visit dealersocket.com.