I recently went to Digital Dealer and saw my colleagues present THE DEALERSHIP CROSSROAD: Basing Your Sales Strategy On Quality & Value Versus Lowest Price. They talked about quality and value with regards to car sales. They are giving a similar presentation via webinar this Thursday, consider attending!
My colleagues’ presentation has gotten me thinking a lot about price versus value lately. What’s more important… how much value you get out of something or how much you pay for it?
Think about buying a new house. You buy a house to make it a home… for the experiences you will have. The thought of how you will gather around the kitchen or a new area to host a holiday meal. You don’t buy a house based strictly on the price – you’re willing to pay the price for the value you imagine though your emotional connection with the house.
When we buy a car we also buy on emotion and value… we aren’t buying on price alone. But so many of today’s dealers try to sell a car based on its price versus the value of the car a perspective buy is considering. What if dealers built excitement, trust, confidence and perceived value to lead us to an agreed upon fair price? Do you think our buying experience would be different?
With back to back shows in Las Vegas, a common theme that prevailed was customer experience. In a world that is constantly changing and with a rise of the internet age, it’s essential that dealers adapt their sales processes to match a customer’s expectations, both online and on the lot.
At DrivingSales Executive Summit, CEO Jared Hamilton discussed how consumers want their shopping experience to be as transparent as possible. If a dealership is not adjusting their sales process with that belief in mind, they will lose customers to a competitor down the road who is selling on trust and transparency. The CEO of DrivingSales explained making this part of your sales strategy, you can expect higher close rates and retain customers.
Like Hamilton stated, I shared a similar view at Digital Dealer. During my speaking engagement, I spoke about our annual research studies that show consumers are more likely to buy vehicles based on quality and value at a fair price than a vehicle with a low price. By easily and transparently allowing customers to see the value of a car, they will be able to place emotional value, which holds much more weight than price.
Customers today want product expert’s not sales people. Throughout each stage of the customer buying experience, car shoppers are expecting information that justifies the price, not beat the price. Sales experts understand that when you offer transparency you gain trust. Trust gains sales.
At both conferences, I learned and networked with a lot of different great dealers and vendors. I understand that every business is different and what works for one, may not work for the other. However, there is one technique that can work for everyone – and that’s making a transparent shopping experience part of your sales process.
Recently, Gallup conducted a poll on what professions Americans trust the least. Car Salespeople are still towards the bottom of the list. Why? What are the reasons keeping the trust factor low? Are Car Salespeople really that bad?
No, they aren’t.
As I travel the country and work with dealerships, I meet a lot of hard working, dedicated sales consultants. People that will greet you at the door and truly want to sell you a car. They support themselves and their families. They wear their polo shirts with pride and ensure that they absorb the latest training on the new products. So why don’t Americans trust them? Because the Dealership, the media and Third-Party Lead providers continue to perpetuate both the perception and reality of a bad car-buying experience.
For example, why does a dealership still have a “Lot Price” vs. an “Internet Price”? How confusing is this for the Sales Consultant? Why punish the guy that takes the time to get up off of his couch, drives through traffic and shows up in-person at your store, versus the guy who still has his slippers on and gets the best price while belittling the Internet Manager over email? Yeah, that makes sense… Let’s “club” (I actually heard this term at a store recently) that guy who doesn’t know the Internet Price but yet knows where your store is and choses YOUR store to visit. Let’s reward the guy that doesn’t give two hoots whether he buys from your store or some other dealership??? Oh, I get it, we can “club” that guy that doesn’t know the price and get a $3,500 front end, but what happens when he checks the internet later to show his friends the car he bought and sees your Internet Price? What happens when that customer asks your Sales Consultant what the price is and he can’t answer it with confidence? You probably won’t hear from that customer ever again and he won’t be giving you a referral.
So what’s the solution?
Get rid of the Price Sheet, everyone has a smart phone now. Get rid of the “Lot Price”, price your cars within the market range, and give your sales team the tools they need to build VALUE in the car both online and on the lot. Use technology to prevent the Double Discount by showing the customer value points that proves the price of the car is valid and needs no further discount. We used to do Walk Arounds? We used to take pride in product knowledge. Let’s get back to that as an industry, let’s become experts on what we sell and change the perception of the car business. Stop supporting Third-Party Lead Providers that run commercials about not trusting hard working Sales Consultants. Reward the customer that takes the time to come to YOUR store.