1. This is the group where training your staff really pays off.
According to EY’s Automotive retail 2030 study, 27% of shoppers said salespeople are the most crucial component of purchasing a vehicle. Second and third included price and brand respectively. In the same study, customers said service orientation and expertise of the salesperson are the most critical. As engagement with the sales team moves away from the dealership and closer to home, you must equip your team to engage in a dialogue relevant to the shopper.
I often hear dealers refer to all leads as though they are the same conversation. If your digital retailing efforts are to work, it’s necessary to invest in training for your sales team and BDC. Prepare them to recognize the various ways shoppers start a buying conversation and adapt their style accordingly. Focus these adaptations around the following:
1. The reason they submitted a lead
2. Answering the questions they asked
3. Taking proactive efforts to fulfill their needs before they come into the dealership.
It’s time to re-think your approach to lead follow-up and adjust to the post-Covid reality.
2. Reinforce a culture of responsiveness.
Four out of five customers buy from the first salesperson they come into contact with. Prior to Covid fewer leads were submitted online. The onus rested on your sales team’s responsiveness on the showroom floor. In a world of digital retailing, you must have the tools (chat, sms) to respond with urgency and the mentality (a well-trained sales team) to be the first to respond in a relevant way.
Another way to support this culture is to invest in marketing initiatives that identify shoppers at the start of their buying journey. This puts your team in position to be the first contact. Dealers tell us this approach, when combined with the Daily Active Shopper Network®, drives success and conversions during Covid-19 as this group of buyers changes their paradigm and buying style.
Although they are more prevalent in metropolitan areas, a surge of individuals purchasing their first vehicle due to Covid-19 has been observed. These are also the buyers most interested in a digital buying experience. These buyers tend to be digital natives and make up the buyer pool that was the smallest prior to Covid-19.
Today, 45% of those under age 35 who have never owned a car are interested in buying one. According to a Capgemini report, these individuals consider it the safer option to ride sharing and public transportation. Because of this, they are taking action. In a recent interview with the Wall Street Journal, it was reported that this group accounted for 60% of VW’s car buyers as the country re-opened. Most of these first-time buyers are Millennials and that in itself, informs how dealers should be preparing to engage this group.