Dealerships today face a constant struggle to sell in a digital marketplace that continues to grow. The vast majority of consumers research vehicles online before ever stepping foot inside a dealership. The average consumer conducts 14 hours of online research before they end up purchasing a used car (2016 Auto Trader Study). Is it possible they’re more informed than your salesperson who has 100 cars on the lot? You bet they are, especially since salesperson turnover rate for the automotive industry is a whopping 67 percent.
What does this mean for your sales? It means the second your team says something that doesn’t jive with what the customer “knows,” trust is out the window. That’s when you’re forced to drop price to save the sale. With customers becoming more and more knowledgeable, it is time to reevaluate and adapt your sales processes to make sure you win over today’s very knowledgeable consumer.
MAXDigital SVP of Strategy and Innovation, Patrick McMullen, will outline some very clear ways that you and your sales teams can level the playing field, focusing on three key areas:
- Embrace Technology: how to turn sales staff into the product experts they should be (hint: ditch the guess work)
- Make the Car the Star: how to implement a new selling strategy that focuses on quality and value behind the price
- Build Trust: how to build trust with consumers, so they’ll choose to come to your dealership over all others
It’s time to stop relying on price dropping just to make the sale. To hear more from Patrick about how to “Stop the Drop” and turn your team into product experts and increase profits, attend his Digital Dealer presentation:
Monday, September 18, 2017
1:30 – 2:20 p.m.
In today’s incredibly competitive and increasingly digital automotive market, dealerships need to do whatever they can to set themselves apart from their competition. Chances are there’s a dealership a short distance away that also sells the same vehicles you do, and at similar prices.
So, how can you make sure shoppers come to your dealership when it is time to buy? That is where having a strong automotive merchandising strategy comes in.
What is Automotive Merchandising?
The most simple definition of merchandising is any behavior taken to promote and sell a product. This includes more than you think, as every form of contact between your dealership and your customers, from ads and your website to speaking to your sales staff, fits under that umbrella.
A strong automotive merchandising strategy means optimizing as many of these interactions as possible.
Why is Strong Automotive Merchandising Important to Your Dealership?
Unfortunately, your cars don’t sell themselves, and others are trying to sell similar vehicles to your potential customers. Employing a strong automotive merchandising strategy helps you by:
- Helping your dealership be discovered by shoppers
- Convincing those shoppers to come into your dealership
- Converting prospective buyers into customers
- Encouraging those customers to return to your dealership
What You Need to Know to Have Strong Automotive Merchandising
As we’ve mentioned, strong automotive merchandising encompasses many aspects of your business, including:
- Marketing and ads
- Your website content
- Your website’s design
- Sales-customer interactions
- Customer interactions with any member of your staff
Keep these in mind as you learn some strategies for strengthening your own merchandising
Consumers Make Their Decisions Online
People used to shop around at multiple dealerships to find the cars they wanted. Now 46% of people only visit one dealership. They’re not doing any less shopping. They’re just changing the location. The average buyer spends more than 16 hours researching their automotive purchases online.
Consumers want transparency. Your online ads, VDPs, and other merchandising pages need to have thorough and detailed information on each vehicle. It is paramount that this content includes price justification, which lets customers know they’re getting a good deal.
Don’t expect this online shopping trend to slow down. If your dealership does not have an online component to your merchandising strategy, you will get left behind.
Trust is Important, Make Sure You’re Accurate
In past decades, auto salespeople have developed a reputation for being untrustworthy. Consumers just accepted dealing with this as an occasional part of life. With the increased emphasis on information and transparency, building trust has become a huge part of merchandising.
Customers can verify the information on your website, so make sure it is all accurate and up to date. They also expect similar accuracy and honestly from your sales team. If your facts are off, you run the risk of losing trust, and people will not buy from you if they do not trust you.
Visuals Can Be as Important as Content
It doesn’t matter how much online content you have, if your website looks unattractive or is difficult to read or navigate, potential customers will lose interest.
Web pages need to be well-designed and intuitive. The information should be organized in a way that is easy to digest and understand. Use of good photos and other visuals can also do a lot to enhance a page.
You Need to Make Each Vehicle Stand Out
Chances are, you’re not the only local dealership selling from your manufacturers, and you’re certainly not the only local dealership selling your class of vehicle. Give buyers a reason to choose your specific car.
People don’t shop based on price alone, and anyone can lower the price of a car. Shoppers want value, and by pointing out what makes your products unique, you demonstrate your value.
Mention unique attributes of the vehicles on your inventory. Maybe it has some luxury or tech package. Perhaps it has very low mileage. Include this information in your ads and website content. These details also help justify when a vehicle has a higher price than a competitor’s.
Make Your Automotive Merchandising Stronger with MAX
No one said strong automotive merchandising would be simple. Fortunately, MAX Digital can make it much easier. Our online auto merchandising platform helps you enhance your online content, create informative ads, and turns your sales team into experts on every vehicle on your lot. Sign up for a demo and learn how MAX can help your dealership.
Digital Dealer 2017 is upon us, and there are just a few days left to take advantage of the advanced registration rate. A meeting of many of the most influential thought leaders in the auto industry, Digital Dealer is a great place to find new strategies on growing your dealership.
See MAX Digital at the 2017 Digital Dealer Conference and Expo
The 23rd annual conference, 2017’s Digital Dealer conference is being held at the Paris Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada, from September 18-20. With 90 of the 100 top US dealership groups attending, Digital Dealer is a can’t-miss opportunity.
Digital Dealer also features an open exhibition hall of companies offering demos of all of the latest and most innovative tech advances for auto dealers, like MAX Digital’s platform.
Gain Insight from Industry Leaders
Guests can take part in over 100 educational sessions and panels, offering new ideas on how dealerships can thrive in the 21st century. This includes:
- A keynote address from Brian Benstock, General Manager and Vice President of Paragon Honda and Acura, the world’s top Honda and Acura certified dealers.
- A keynote panel on creating more friendly and fruitful relationships between dealerships and vendors.
- A keynote panel on utilizing the principles of disruptive growth to succeed in today’s highly competitive market.
Hear Patrick McMullen, MAX’s SVP of Strategy and Innovation
One of these education sessions is being led by MAX Digital’s Senior VP of Strategy and Innovation, Patrick McMullen. McMullen will be teaching dealerships how to turn their sales team into experts, and how doing so can build trust in customers and increase your sales.
Stop by the MAX Digital Booth for a Free Demo
You can also talk to us in person when you visit the MAX Digital at booth #713. There you will be able to experience our software platform first hand with a free demo. MAX Digital lets you enhance your online content to better merchandise your inventory.
Easy access to information through the internet has fundamentally changed the way people shop for cars. Ignoring these changes can mean massive losses in revenue for your dealership as you either fail to attract leads or need to drop your prices to sell your stock.
Fortunately, customers are looking for your products online right now. In a recent Driving Sales webinar Patrick McMullen, Senior VP of Strategy and Innovation at MAX Digital, and Chad Graves, Co-Founder and Director of Sales at Reunion Marketing, lay out strategies for increasing leads online and selling to the modern buyer.
Increase Leads and Sell More Inventory With MAX Digital
Auto dealerships are starting to see radical new competition from industry disruptors like Carvana. These changes come with an increase in used inventory to create a shift that can hurt dealerships who don’t adjust their strategies.
How Does the Modern Buyer Shop for Cars?
In the past, customers shopped with physical visits to multiple dealerships before making a decision. Now, a majority of customer decision making is done online. The average consumer spends as much as 16.75 hours on third-party and dealership websites choosing their next car.
After doing their research online, the average shopper only visits one or two dealerships in person. Success in increasing leads is dependant on having the online presence to bring those customers in. McMullen said, “It used to be that our… physical front line was the most important place. Now it’s our virtual front line. Our virtual front line is the first time we have to make an impression on that customer.”
Attracting the Now Buyer
The first key to attracting leads to your lot is being where they’re looking. Graves described how utilizing SEO and SEM strategies can help you appear near the top of the results when people search for your vehicles.
Consumers want transparency and information. Once they arrive on your website, you need to make sure that your content is optimized to give them the information they need to convert and choose your dealership.
Your website should have dedicated pages for vehicles that demonstrate their value clearly. Most customers don’t buy cars on price alone, instead choosing the car that offers the most value and quality. Your VDPs should mention specific package information and answer any questions a visitor may have about the car.
Selling to the Now Buyer
Your work isn’t over once you get customers into your store. With the massive amount of research they do before coming in, buyers are likely to know more about the car they’re after than even your sales team.
The MAX Digital Showroom app puts information about every car on your lot at the fingertips of your sales team. By having access to this information, they can have the expertise they need to build trust with your customers. It will also arm them with the information they need to fight price drops.
By adapting your strategy to the now buyer, you can increase leads, store visits, and profits for your dealership. Listen to the full webinar below for more insights, or schedule a demo to see how MAX Digital can help you.
Every month, MAXDigital recognizes and celebrates a dealership that demonstrates exceptional performance through our “Dealership-of-the-Month” program. This month MAXDigital is honoring Della Honda of Plattsburg as Augusts Dealership-of-the-Month! We are celebrating them because of their commitment to MAX AD, MAX Digital Showroom, and their efforts to value base sell. As a result, the team has seen a month on month increase of gross profit and units sold. Della Honda of Plattsburg is a growing and thriving dealership within the Della Group, which has 8 dealerships throughout New York and Michigan. We look forward to watching their steady growth, and continued use of MAX Ad and MAX Digital Showroom to build trust and transparency with customers by selling based on quality and value. Again, congratulations from the entire MAXDigital team!
The modern automotive customer comes into the dealership armed with information consumers of the past didn’t have. These shoppers have been researching their decision for hours before they step in the door, and they know the market value of the car they want. Often they know this value even better than your sales staff.
Intimidated and unable to back up the price, salespeople often drop it to make the sale. These discounts add up over time and can have a huge impact on your business. MAX Digital can help you stop the drop and get higher profit margins on the vehicles you sell.
Learn How MAX Digital Can Help You Stop the Drop and Increase Your Profit Margins
The first step to solving a problem is assessing the situation. How often are you experiencing the drop? MAX Digital’s “Assess Your Drop” quiz can help you see how well you’re currently protecting your profit margins. The quiz takes just five minutes and can highlight areas where you can improve.
No matter what your score is, you can always do more to prevent the discounts. The MAX Digital platform is full of tools that help you defend your price and stop the drop.
Justify Your Price Online
MAX starts fighting the drop before your customers even step onto the showroom. Our comprehensive merchandising tool and content generation engine create thoroughly detailed VDPs for your web page. These VDPs include price justification with several proof points, including market comparisons. With the knowledge that they’re getting a fair price, shoppers are less likely to try to lower the price more.
Turn Your Team Into Experts
It is impossible for every one of your salespeople to know every vehicle inside and out. MAX puts the information they need to become experts at their fingertips. The MAX Digital Showroom app lets your team instantly access the vehicle information they need to hold firm on the price.
MAX can do even more to give you the higher profit margins you’ve always wanted. From sourcing affordable cars to providing powerful analytic tools, there’s something for you on our platform. Schedule a demonstration or contact us at (888) 841-0884 to learn more about what MAX can do for you
As the United States automotive continues to transform, record numbers of Americans are choosing to buy used cars. This is great news for used car dealerships. However, with this increase in demand comes an increase in the need for a steady supply of well-priced used vehicles.
This need for cars was a major concern for Michael Cavanaugh, Chief Operating Officer of CARite. CARite is a chain of 24 dealerships spread across 10 states. Cavanaugh said, ““When all you do is used cars, you need to source a lot of cars.”
Recently CARite switched to MAX Digital and now experience a significantly improved vehicle acquisition process.
Learn How CARite Improved Their Used Inventory Management with MAX Digital
Most used dealerships have similar problems sourcing cars. With a recent major expansion, this issue is particularly pressing for Cavanaugh. However, finding cars is just a small piece of the problem.
“One of our mottos is ‘Better Cars, Better Experience,’” Cavanaugh said. “We source late-model, low-mileage cars and price them at or below market.” With the increase in online car shopping, consumers are aware of the value of cars, leading used vehicle dealers like CARite to price their cars very close to market value.
To be able to price their vehicle appropriately, dealerships need to be able to buy at a fair price. Cavanaugh says, “We don’t have the luxury of paying too much and then making it up by selling for more. Finding the right cars at the right price is paramount to us.”
MAX Digital’s Inventory Management Software makes it easy to find cars for the right price. The software’s Acquisition function finds you nearby vehicles for sale based on your dealership’s sales history and market data.
Vehicles are appropriately priced by the Appraisal tool, so you get a fair price before you buy. With their focus on providing no hassle low pricing, this helps CARite get the most from their sales.
MAX doesn’t stop at inventory management. The MAX Content Generation Engine generates detailed VDPs and ads for your website. “One of the reasons we like MAX is that they not only have good market data before we purchase, but their program generates really good content and descriptions on each vehicle for the consumer,” Cavanaugh says.
MAX Digital: Helpful Software, Attentive Service
MAX Digital is more than just a software solution. Once you start working with MAX, you’ll get a full-service partner. It is this attribute that Cavanaugh enjoys the most.
Cavanaugh says, “It’s a really good value for us. They have been better to work with than any other tech vendor I work with… Every employee genuinely cares about you and wants you to be successful. MAXDigital is a core part of our business; we wouldn’t be as successful as we are without them.”
Every month, MAXDigital recognizes and celebrates a dealership that demonstrates exceptional performance through our “Dealership-of-the-Month” program. This month MAXDigital is honoring BMW of Murrieta as July’s Dealership-of-the-Month! We are celebrating them because of their commitment to MAX Digital Showroom and a culture of value-based selling. As a result, the team there has seen a 45% improvement in their average price drop since March. BMW of Murrieta is a growing and thriving dealership within the Hendrick Automotive Group, which has more than 100 dealerships throughout the United States, and is very involved with their local BMW Club. We look forward to watching their steady growth, and continued use of MAX Digital Showroom to build trust and transparency with customers by selling based on quality and value. Again, congratulations from the entire MAXDigital team!
The unfortunate truth is, people just don’t trust car salespeople. They consistently rank as one of the least trusted professions in the US, and there’s one central reason why: people need to buy cars, but don’t like being sold to.
MAXDigital wants to help you change the narrative of automotive sales.
Innovations in information technology have changed the automotive market in profound ways. These same changes have created new opportunities for salespeople to build trust with customers. The MAX Digital Automotive Merchandising Tool lets you train your sales team to become automotive experts who can gain the confidence and sales of modern consumers.
How Your Automotive Sales Team Can Gain Customer Trust
88% of consumers use the internet to shop for cars, and increasingly, larger portions of the decision-making process happen online. These shoppers are looking for honesty and information once they make their way to the dealership. They’re looking for someone to facilitate their purchase, not a salesperson. MAX Digital gives sales staff the power to give consumers the facts they desire.
Today’s car buyer isn’t willing to just take your word on a car. They want to know the value of things before they buy. They’ll want to know what they can expect from the vehicle, and they’ll do much of their research before stepping through the doors of your dealership.
MAX for Website creates highly informative Vehicle Detail Pages, and MAX Ad distributes thorough ads to hundreds of third party websites, giving them all the information they need. These pages also list heavily supported prices, letting consumers know they’re getting a great deal.
Be an Expert
With the amount of homework consumers do before they stop in the dealership, it is very likely they know more about the vehicle they want than you do. It is almost impossible for every salesperson to know everything about all the cars on your lot.
MAX Digital Showroom puts this information at your sales team’s fingertips through their smart devices. Consumers can easily take on any question or concern with confidence thanks to MAX’s effective platform.
A simple method of gaining trust is to connect with your customer on a personal level. Don’t just talk at them, but listen to them. By listening, you can get a better idea of what they want from their new vehicle. This helps you better craft the experience to the individual and helps the customer feel like you have their interests in mind. People in the digital age are having individualized buying experiences. Why should they want automotive sales to be any different?
Consumers need information. MAX Digital provides your automotive sales team with a unique tool to gain customer trust by providing transparent and thorough information. Schedule a product demonstration to see what our software can do for you.
Every month, MAXDigital recognizes and celebrates a dealership that demonstrates exceptional performance through our “Dealership-of-the-Month” program. This month MAXDigital is honoring North Park Lexus San Antonio with our June Dealership-of-the-Month! We are celebrating them because of their exceptional achievements in consistently using MAX Digital Showroom to sell their vehicles at internet price. North Park Lexus San Antonio is part of the Kahlig Auto Group, which has 14 dealerships throughout New Braunfels and San Antonio Texas area. Not only is North Park Lexus San Antonio a fast growing dealership but they are very active within their community, giving back to more than 35 organizations. We look forward to watching their continuing growth, and constant use of MAX Digital Showroom to sell at asking price. Again, congratulations from the entire MAXDigital team!