Automotive has long been a business focused on turning a high volume of transactions. Consumers and dealers became conditioned to offering high incentives and garnering low gross to turn cars as quickly as possible. In this market, marked by continued inventory challenges, the pendulum has literally swung in the other direction. Inventory is in short supply. Demand (although dropping off slightly in the early fall) remains strong. As a dealer, you naturally respond to the imbalance of supply and demand by maximizing gross on every vehicle. Consumers experience these market dynamics differently and your dealership has the power to be a hero or zero in how you engage with them now.
How? Let building trust and providing transparency frame how you engage with consumers. Position your team as advisors and guides. Although the current supply and demand dynamics feel matter of fact to your team, consumers only know what they read or hear. And unlike your team who has been facing the reality on a daily basis for weeks or months, your team should anticipate consumers to experience sticker shock and respond accordingly.
Train your staff to then inform consumers about what is happening in the market to command higher prices, help them locate the new or used vehicle they want, and guide them through options. Let’s be honest, you are going to sell that vehicle anyway, likely at the higher price this market makes possible. Small investments of time and empathy now position you for long-game dividends.
For today’s consumer, trust and transparency are no longer a nice to have, as we addressed in previous articles. This is an opportunity for you and your team to “wow” a consumer and position your dealership to be their partner for their next service appointment, vehicle purchase and friend or family referral.