Is Your Dealership Customer Focused?

Home > Insights > Is Your Dealership Customer Focused?

Most car buyers today don’t show up on a car lot until after they’ve already researched online. At that point, most are ready to buy. But they want to get to the car they’ve seen online, and get a deal done quickly and efficiently. Too often, a potential buyer drops out of the sales process and moves on, simply due to inconvenience, wasted time, and unnecessary steps.

How To Sell Faster

So, what’s a customer focused sales environment look like? Well, it won’t have long wait-times, hours of waiting on paperwork, or poorly described vehicle models. It might start with a simple welcome and a willingness to walk right over to the vehicle that customer has already fully researched. And it will likely include the transparency and confidence-booster of a trusted third-party vehicle history report.

Here are a few common friction issues and solutions dealers are tackling today.

What’s Your Customer Response Time?

According to Motor Financing Online, a recent survey found that it takes an average of 50 minutes for a dealership to respond to a customer inquiry, while the fastest-responding dealerships have an average response time of one minute and nine seconds.

The survey found that those dealerships with the fastest response times saw higher conversions to test drives and sales. It also found that up to 78% of sales go to the retailer that responds the quickest.

Ensuring quick responses to calls and online requests is a great way to reduce friction. Some dealers establish clear phone-handling rules and procedures. Others are launching online response centers, updating phone software, or investing in a range of high-tech solutions aimed at easing the friction of a dropped or delayed customer inquiry.

 Who’s Writing Your Vehicle Descriptions?

Another friction point is when consumers leave your site (either online or on the lot) because they can’t differentiate your model from another at a different dealership. In a recent Just the Fax podcast, hosts Bob Grill and DJ Sherwood discuss this issue in detail.

Some dealerships make significant investments to capture pristine images of the vehicle but then don’t do much to set that car apart from others. Yet, every used car has appeal to the right buyer. The podcasters note that consumers don’t mind spending money if they see value in the purchase. They suggest using your communication channels to describe why the car listed is worth the price asked.

In an interview with Wards Auto, Bob suggested that dealerships write rich “auto biographies” for all used cars on their lot. “Give the car personality,” Bob told Wards. “Good, solid descriptions make it stand out. If you charge more than average, you have to explain why.”

A CARFAX Vehicle History Report is an invaluable resource in writing an auto biography, because it delivers the most VIN-specific information, including accident and damage details unavailable anywhere else.

 Justify The Asking Price

In an article on reducing friction in the sales process, Digital Dealer suggests that it’s not enough to post standard pricing. The article states that if “the marketplace is only using price without incorporating considerations such as supply and demand and the availability of sub-trim levels like options and packages, then they are greatly adding friction by neglecting to tell the complete ‘why’ story behind the price.” In short, the better you can explain and support your pricing, the less friction in your process.

Adapt to the Online Shopper

A recent Deloitte/Harris Poll survey, as reported by Forbes, found that car buyers today want “to complete most of all of their research and paperwork online as well as guide their own financing process.” They’re spending hours online finding actual cars listed for sale, comparing different models and finding out what their current car is worth. But most still wish to test-drive and complete the deal in person.

That’s one reason many dealers are providing the transparency of a trusted third-party vehicle history report online. It helps connect the right car to the right buyer, and speed the transaction once they come in. Savvy dealerships recognize that. Instead of going through the traditional 10-step sales process (which can take some time), they move them quickly straight to the car they want.

The shift to online shopping has forever changed consumer expectations. Many are learning what’s on your lot before they show up to buy. While they prefer a traditional test drive, and a human touch, they still want a convenient and quick experience. Those dealers who respond quickly, offer online convenience, and deliver a low-friction experience at the dealership should see more sales, more quickly, than ever before.

For more information on CARFAX for Dealers Contact Us.

Stay Connected!

Keep up to date with the latest CARFAX news and insights.

CARFAX. Put the power of our brand and information to work for you.

CARFAX invented vehicle history in 1986—and has been investing in it ever since. CARFAX has the most accident, damage, and service information.