Selling cars is a challenging yet rewarding career. And like almost any profession, there are certain skills that are shared by all the best employees in the industry.
Below are five skills all new car sales team employees should learn if they want to succeed in the business.
How To Sell Cars in the Digital Era
#1. Master Your Inventory
You don’t have to know every last nut and bolt under the hood, but a good car salesperson should be able to explain different trim levels, demonstrate various features, and talk intelligently about options and packages.
#2. Know How to Discount
Today’s car shoppers spend an average of 11 hours online compared to less than four hours offline during their buying experience. That means they’re showing up to dealerships armed with information about MSRPs and market comparisons and come to the table ready to negotiate.
A good sales employee will understand how market pricing works and will know what types of discounts and incentives can turn a knowledgeable browser into a dedicated buyer.
Just be careful that you aren’t discounting too much. You don’t want to eat into your store’s bottom line with unnecessary discounts.
#3. Read Your Customer
Sales associates need to know how to read their customer and respond accordingly to their needs. Family man? Time to talk safety. Recent college graduate? Let’s check out that Bluetooth technology. There’s a car for everyone, and your job is to be a matchmaker.
#4. Build trust
It’s no secret that car sales employees have to work extra hard to gain a shopper’s trust. In fact, car salesmen ranked at the bottom of a Gallup survey — along with politicians — of the least trusted jobs in America. Successful car sales employees know how to change a shopper’s mind within minutes of stepping on the lot.
#5. Ask the Right Questions
Ask a customer how you can help them and they’ll tell you they’re just browsing, then walk away. Ask them if they are thinking about a sedan or an SUV and they’re more likely to engage. Ask direct, open-ended questions that can get a conversation rolling.
MAXDigital: Your Highest Selling Employee
In this digital age of car shopping, the most valuable member of your sales team can be MAXDigital. Our software will turn your sales team into product experts, provide real-time inventory and pricing information, vehicle history reports, market comparison and so much more.
Contact MAXDigital today and set up a free product demonstration to see what’s possible for your sales team.
It’s no secret that technology has changed the way people do everything, and car buying has been no exception. Consider the fact that around 88 percent of people use the internet at some stage of their car buying process.
As technology continues to evolve all the time, so does the way it impacts automotive marketing. Below are five ways technology is expected to change automotive marketing in 2017.
Automotive Marketing is Changing for the Better
#1. Customer connection
One would think that the internet has created more distance between dealerships and their customers. But in fact, new technology is now bringing them closer than ever.
The latest web technology allows dealers to track customers’ online activity and then make the appropriate engagement. Dealerships now know what cars, price points and features a particular customer is looking at and can target that customer accordingly.
#2. Marketing efforts that are in sync
No longer must dealerships have marketing channels that are so segregated. Technology is helping to sync up direct mail, digital, and traditional marketing platforms under one single dashboard. This linear approach makes for better budgeting, reporting, and spending.
#3. Automated payments
Discounts, incentives, and dealer-defined pricing are more uniform and more aligned with one another thanks to improving technology. Dealerships are more in tune with manufacturers and customers alike, which can help reduce wasteful discounting that eats away at bottom lines.
#4. Leads, leads, leads
Automotive dealerships rely on leads, and technology is delivering more than ever before. Names, phone numbers, and email addresses are now captured with greater efficiency so you know who is looking for cars in your area.
Smartphones are getting smarter all the time, and so too are car dealerships. With the use of smartphones and tablets for car shopping on the rise, dealerships must ensure their websites are mobile friendly and adaptable to third-party apps.
MAXDigital: Keeping Automotive Dealers Up To Speed
MAXDigital helps automotive dealers keep up in today’s technology race. As more consumers turn to the internet for their car buying experience, MAXDigital provides digital merchandising, retailing, inventory management, and analytics to car dealerships everywhere. We help bridge the gap between the technology car shoppers use and car dealers need to generate improved acquisitions, pricing, marketing, and most of all — sales.
Schedule a free product demonstration to see how MAXDigital can provide the technology your dealership needs in today’s automotive market.
If your inventory page is the bait, your vehicle display page (VDP) is your hook. And in order to reel your customer in, that hook better be sharp.
MAXDigital specializes in optimizing the online presence of car dealerships and among the many ways we help dealers better reach their digital audience is by refining their vehicle display pages.
Below are a few helpful tips for improving your VDPs.
4 Tips for Fixing Your Vehicle Display Pages
Engage your customer with rich content.
An effective vehicle details page will engage a customer through well-written and informative content. Car shoppers don’t want another sales pitch. They want information, details and descriptions.
Show off your vehicle with high-quality photos.
Looks aren’t everything, except when it comes to car shopping. Make the investment to capture each and every vehicle in high-quality imagery that shows off both the inside and outside of the car in a quick-loading and easy-to-scroll fashion.
Highlight relevant information.
If you’re selling a truck, make the torque or towing capacity the lead item. For a minivan, highlight safety features and ratings. With SUV’s, make a push for cargo space and fuel efficiency.
Anticipate what your shoppers will be curious about for each respective vehicle and waste no time giving it to them.
Price accurately and accordingly.
The pricing of your vehicles is where you will either gain or lose the trust of your customer. Car shoppers lean on your competition and on third-party sites like Kelley Blue Book to see if they’re being offered a good deal. Price your inventory according to the market and keep your customer in the driver’s seat.
VDP’s the MAXDigital Way
The tips above are just a few of the ways you can improve your vehicle display pages. When you entrust your VDPs to MAXDigital, we’ll help you welcome your customers to your dealership at the appropriate stage of the buyer’s journey. And because they’ll have all the information they need to kick the tires, customers won’t be leaving your site to investigate elsewhere.
Schedule a live, personalized demonstration to see how we help dealerships everywhere increase customer engagement and boost sales through enhanced vehicle displays pages. With a strong VDP, there’s no such thing as the one that got away.
With so much information available to today’s online consumers, auto dealerships have to work harder than ever to gain their customers’ attention. Studies show that around 60 percent of the car shopping experience now consists of time spent on third-party sites. This means a dealer’s online merchandising efforts must be properly aligned with the information customers are looking for.
Luckily, MAXDigital has done the research for you and identified the five things a dealership’s website must address on their vehicle details page. Answering these needs will help you effectively win over today’s digital consumer.
5 Details All of Your VDPs Must Tell Your Customers
1. Explain why the car is right for them.
Your customer likely landed on the car that they did because of a filtered search. Filters can account for a wide range of criteria, and you want to give that person a clear sign that they found the right car.
If they selected a low price point, tell them about the great fuel efficiency and reliability. If they selected only four-door vehicles, talk up the roominess of the cabin.
Reiterate the fact that yes, this is the car that is right for them. These efforts begin by acquiring the right cars for your market and we have just the tool to help you with that.
2. Ensure them they aren’t buying a lemon.
Buying a lemon is the worst fear for any used car shopper. Make the vehicle history report visible and accessible with just one click<.
Go a step further by extracting some highlights from the history report, such as “no accidents” or “regular oil changes,” and putting that information in front of the customer.
3. Reassure the customer that it’s a fair price.
Have a market comparison readily available so customers can see how the price of the vehicle stacks up to both the competition and the Kelley Blue Book value alike. Our market-based pricing tool can give you with the precision you need to drive sales.
4. Convince the customer the car is better than the other ones they’ve seen.
Have a comparison tool on your vehicle details page that allows the customer to conduct a side-by-side comparison of features. The majority of online car shoppers visit a dealer’s website for the purpose of checking out inventory, so it’s important for them to know that this is where their search ends.
5. Tell them why they should buy from you.
It’s no secret that dealers have to try extra hard to win over someone’s trust. Highlight anything that makes your dealership trustworthy, whether it’s your number of years in business or online reviews or ratings. Better yet, utilize >our custom tool to do it for you.
Car shoppers want to test drive a vehicle before committing. So take a test drive of MAXDigital’s suite of merchandising solutions by scheduling a product demonstration to see how we can help you win over your customers.
As MAXDigital customers know, we have been warning about a shift in the industry since late 2015. Now it’s been confirmed. This month, J.D. Power reported that after years of climbing used-car prices, they’ve fallen into what analysts are calling “the first material decline we’ve seen since the recession.” Read more about what we expect to happen next, and how dealers can overcome continued pricing and profit pressure.
Over the past year, used-car prices have declined about 4 percent on average compared with 2015. Not just in one or two categories: J.D. Power’s Used Car Guide found that 14 out of 16 categories were affected.
How did we know it was coming? At the onset of the recession in 2008, consumers were holding onto their cars when they ordinarily would have bought new ones. This created scarcity in the used-car market, pushing prices higher. It was only a matter of time for the recession to ease and the pendulum to swing back.
Add to this the growing popularity of new-car leasing. According to Experian Automotive, the auto industry’s increased willingness to offer leases with low monthly payments helped fuel a rise in leasing from 20% of the new-car market in 2011 to nearly 35% currently. This, in turn, has led to a wave of late-model, recently-leased vehicles flooding into used-car lots—according to Manheim Consulting, about 570,000 more than in 2015.
So here we are, in a flooded used-car market with correspondingly depressed prices. And the future, as forecast by us and other industry watchers, is no better: all signs point to prices continuing to drop for at least the next couple of years. With gross margins tighter than they’ve been in years, how can any dealer profit or even survive?
The key is in not letting your gross margin drop any lower. That may not sound like an easy thing to do, as pressure increases to move vehicles at lower prices. But you can target one of the leading causes of margin erosion: consumer haggling.
Today, consumers spend hours researching vehicles before they set foot in a showroom. They know what you’ve got, they know what your competitors are charging for similar vehicles, and if your sales team isn’t equipped to answer all their questions, they’ll negotiate hard—cutting into your already-low gross margin.
How can MAXDigital help you “stop the drop?” By demonstrating to consumers that your prices are fair. When they see your customized Value Report complete with MSRP and OEM package information, and trusted third-party evaluations from the likes of Kelly Blue Book, NADA and Edmunds, consumer haggling is reduced or eliminated. So instead of being negotiated away, maintain your profits through communicating quality and value. Start protecting your margin by setting up a demo today.
CHICAGO — January 26, 2016 — MAXDigital, a premium end-to-end software provider for automotive dealers, announced today a number of software innovations including a newly re-designed MAX Digital Showroom mobile experience, added recall alert features for appraisals, and an enhanced mobile application.
The re-designed MAX Digital Showroom features an updated user interface with larger photos, interactive map, native phone features, a photo carousel, and a singular scrolling screen, resulting in a better user experience for both dealers and consumers.
“Our mission is to identify opportunities that make our software more convenient and easy to use for auto dealerships,” said MAXDigital CEO Steve Fitzgerald. “This re-design provides an outstanding user experience and better functionality. It will empower dealers to increase gross profits by selling the value of each individual vehicle and avoid additional discounting. The end result is a more satisfied customer because they have a better overall customer experience.”
Other notable enhancements include:
• Recall Identification & Remedy: Allows users to quickly learn if a vehicle has any open recalls, and if there is a remedy, during the appraisal process. The inventory management software pulls data from multiple sources to provide the most accurate recall information on each vehicle.
• Mobile to Desktop: The MAXDigital mobile app now includes two-way communication allowing information to synchronize between the phone and desktop. It also features an improved design and appraisal functionality.
• Group View in Digital Showroom: The inventory of all dealerships within a group can now be viewed in Digital Showroom. By having all inventory in one location, a salesperson can keep a customer from shopping with a competitor if the desired unit isn’t on their lot, but is located at a sister store. New group reporting has been developed to allow side-by-side store performance, so best practices can be duplicated.
MAXDigital provides cloud-based software and mobile applications to the automotive industry. As the industry’s premium end-to-end software solution for automotive dealers, MAXDigital empowers thousands of dealerships across the U.S. to manage inventory, increase gross profits and sell more cars through digital retailing. Founded in 2001 with the FIRSTLOOK inventory management product, the MAXDigital suite of products now includes the innovative MAX Ad®, a content generation and distribution system, MAX for Website®, a vehicle value and content creator for dealer websites, and MAX Digital Showroom®, a real-time inventory and pricing tool for desktop and mobile that builds trust and transparency with customers. For more information visit MAXDigital.com.
Car buyers are becoming more educated in the way they shop. They are more informed about prices, terms, and car values than ever before. So it’s imperative that dealerships keep pace with this knowledge race and learn as much about their customers as their customers know about them.
One dealership in particular that displayed this desire to learn was Rainbow Luxury Imports in Covington, LA. Rainbow acquires higher-end models such as BMW, Infiniti, Lexus, and Audi at auctions and reconditions them before displaying them on the lot. The only thing missing with this business model?
General manager Mark Rose didn’t know how many cars to buy, how much to buy them for, how long to keep them on the lot, or how to price them. All of these metrics are critical influencers of a dealership’s bottom line. And Rose had no proven method of figuring them out.
Rose sought out help from MAXDigital and implemented the FirstLook Inventory Management Platform and the MAXDigital Marketing and Sales Platform to help acquire, price, merchandise and sell vehicles more efficiently and cost effectively. Rose is now able to utilize valuable data to validate prices, create focused advertising and generate vehicle information listings for every step of a buyer’s journey.
“What MAXDigital did for me was to put all the marbles on the top of the table so that I can deal with one champion partner to help me have a holistic look at my business,” Rose said.
Selling Vehicles the MAXDigital Way
Luxury Imports is just one of many dealerships that have benefited from MAXDigital’s suite of solutions. We help dealers everywhere in the four critical areas that make up a successful and profitable dealership:
- Acquire. Acquire and stock your inventory with the right type of cars for your market and perform accurate cost-to-market appraisals.
- Price. Properly price vehicles to remain competitive and profitable while still allowing for discounting.
- Merchandise. Improve the online shopping experience for your customers in a way that will sell the vehicle before the customer ever sets foot on your lot.
- Sell. Improve your Customer Relationship Management to differentiate your vehicles from the competition.
Schedule a free demonstration of MAXDigital’s solutions today and become our next success story.
If you haven’t made plans to attend the 2017 National Automobile Dealers Association (NADA) Convention and Expo, now’s your last chance.
The convention, commemorating the 100th anniversary of NADA, will be held Jan. 26-29 in New Orleans. Among the many attractions at this year’s event will be the keynote speakers. Included in the lineup are:
- Jeff Carlson, NADA Chairman. Carlson is president of Glenwood Springs Ford and Glenwood Springs Subaru in Glenwood Springs, CO, as well as Summit Ford in Silverthorne, CO.
- Jim Gaffigan, comedian. Automotive dealers will no doubt recognize Gaffigan from his hilarious television commercials for the Chrysler Pacifica as well as The Jim Gaffigan Show.
- Mark Fields, President and CEO, Ford Motor Co. In less than three years at the wheel, Fields has driven Ford’s growth and investment in its design, manufacturing, marketing, financing, and servicing while also making a commitment to Ford Smart Mobility
- Mark N. Scarpelli, Incoming NADA Chairman. Scarpelli is president of Raymond Chevrolet/Kia in Antioch, IL, and represents metropolitan Chicago’s franchised new car dealers on its board of directors.
- Amy Purdy, adaptive snowboarder. Purdy overcame the loss of her legs at age 19 along with a 2% chance of survival to become a three-time World Cup Para-Snowboard winner and a 2014 Paralympic bronze medalist.
In addition to the keynote speakers, the following two guests will engage in an intimate conversation with Keith E. Crain, Editor-in-Chief of Automotive News, Autoweek, and Automobilwoche.
- Roger Penske, Chairman, Penske Corp. Anybody in the car business is familiar with Penske Corp. and its retail automotive, truck leasing, transportation logistics, and motorsports success.
- Hélio Castroneves, professional race car driver. A three-time winner of the Indianapolis 500, Castroneves is one of the most accomplished drivers of all time and the face of Team Penske.
Visit MAXDigital at Our Booth for a Chance to Win Prizes
In addition to catching the guest speakers, be sure to swing by the MAXDigital booth where you can fill out a survey for a chance to win a $250 gift card or receive a $100 gift card just for participating in a product demonstration.
We’ll also be giving away framed autographed jerseys of Joe Montana, Dan Marino, and John Elway, and hosting a pop-a-shot tournament with prizes. Visitors can enjoy a drink and watch games on one of 10 televisions in our sports bar.
Come to the expo for the guest speakers. Stay for MAXDigital. We hope to see you there.
Dealerships 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. On average, they spend 12 hours researching vehicles online, and many times are still researching while in your showroom. This new buying process means it is time to reevaluate and adapt your sales processes to make sure you win over today’s digital consumer. Where to start?
MAXDigital SVP of Strategy and Innovation, Patrick McMullen, will outline how to understand today’s consumer. How do consumers search? How do consumers buy? Can they be separated? Today’s consumers purchase based on a combination of quality and value and consequently want to know they are buying the vehicle at a fair price, but they are not buying based on price alone.
Building trust with your consumers is a crucial step to winning them over and you can only do this by being fully transparent across all information sources.
To hear more from Patrick about how to sell in an increasingly digital marketplace, attend his NADA session:
Thursday, Jan 26
Everything from professional sports teams to retail stores to news organizations are using analytics to gather data, measure performance, and make decisions that will influence their bottom line. Even Netflix uses analytics to determine which movies it will drop into the queue of a given subscriber.
A car dealership shouldn’t be any different. In fact, the nature of a car dealership’s business should place it at the forefront of analytics use. Here are just a few ways that analytics can help your car dealership.
Are You Making the Most of Your Dealership’s Data?
Get a detailed measurement of your online marketing efforts.
Analytics can be used to see a page-by-page breakdown of how your online listings are performing. Which listings are generating the most traffic? What details are online shoppers most interested in? Analytics can answer these questions to help you shape your online marketing efforts accordingly.
Learn which models in your inventory are performing — and which ones aren’t.
Different models sell better in different markets and car dealerships can use analytics to identify which models are moving off their lot and which ones are taking up valuable space. This information can be used to invest in the right kind of inventory for your dealership’s demographic.
Calculate the impact of discounting on your bottom line.
Discounting can help you sell a car, but at what expense to your bottom line? An analytical report can pinpoint which types of discounts are beneficial and which ones are leaving your profit margin in the dust.
Improve your time to market.
The right analytics can track the average time it takes for a vehicle to get online and help dealerships better manage their inventory.
Know your cost per click.
Dealerships can use analytics to find out the average number of Vehicle Details Pages viewed as it correlates to the number of leads generated to help you better understand your true cost per click and how you should allocate your online investments.
Get Analytics from MAXDigital
MAXDigital provides powerful analytics to help car dealerships optimize their online marketing and merchandising efforts to maximize sales and profit margins. Schedule a demonstration today to see how our analytics platform can change the way you do business.