So, here we are. Staring at a new audience that continues to evolve but has clearly demonstrated that trust is the key to winning their business. It’s time we as an industry, face the music. Trust has always been a factor in winning repeat business at a dealership. Today, it is the most important currency to consumers. Whether we are talking about pricing of vehicles, personalization of marketing or online retailing, every day consumers make decisions to spend money with companies they trust.
So, what is the best way to create trust with consumers? One word – transparency.
Transparency in experience:
Like anything, shoppers want to know why a car costs a certain amount and don’t want you to have to get prices “approved” from you manager. They don’t want to feel like anything is happening under the table. In fact – they are more likely to accept a higher price if they fully understand what they are paying for instead of sliding it in the quote. They want to feel confident that they are receiving the best price.
They also want to work with transparent and trustworthy people. Salespeople, whether online or in person, are an integral part of a consumer’s experience at your dealership. Salespeople who are not fully upfront with the consumer are going to undercut all of your hard work in changing the narrative of your dealership. Train your people to understand the importance of a transparent experience for the shopper built on trust and you’ll create long-term relationships with your customers.
Transparency in data privacy:
Transparency doesn’t just stop with price, not if you are trying to gain a consumer’s trust. You also need to work with vendors who are transparent with their data privacy practices. One of the quickest ways to lose trust with a consumer is if your vendor partner is utilizing their data unlawfully. Ask your vendors what they are doing about data privacy and how they are protecting your consumers. As a dealer, you are now an advocate for consumers. Make sure your vendors are as well.
Now, there are obviously ingrained beliefs when consumers think of automotive. Some of the stigmas we are currently battling are being confirmed by many dealers to this day. But the more you prove that you can be trusted through your transparency, the more consumers will start to see your dealership as different from the rest of automotive. The key is consistency. The quicker you get your team and your vendors on board with this fundamental way of doing business, the more trust you will garner and the more long-term customers you will create. You want to have an edge over the competition? Trust me, when you become the most trusted dealership in your area, your competition won’t be able to keep up.