We need to have a serious discussion about adaptability. There is currently a generational divide that is creating a rift in our industry. In fact, it is the same exact rift that is separating digital retailing from traditional shopping. There is a phrase that I keep hearing around different dealerships, and it is dangerous…“We have a certain way of doing things around here”. Have you heard that phrase thrown around lately? The mentality of not being flexible can really harm your dealership. You see, adaptability is the first step toward offering a superior customer experience. All too often this is overlooked in favor of continuing to do things in the same fashion. But here is the thing: Change isn’t bad.
For automotive retail, being adaptable has been a constant for a while now. New technologies have altered the way our business operates. We’ve gone from print ads to digital marketing in a matter of years. Consumers have changed the way they shop. And with that, their expectations are no longer the same. You can’t have the outdated mentality of a slick used car salesman in a checkered jacket anymore. Because expectations have evolved, so too must the customer experience. If you continue to do the things of the past, you’ll be pushing consumers away from your inventory to the competition. And trust me, you don’t want to do that.
As the bigger players continue their drive towards non-traditional shopping methods, it’s up to you to keep up with the pace. How you write your ads matters. How you position your inventory online matters. How your sales staff interacts with customers matters. Everything you do now is important. So, take the time to beef up your technology stack. Your goal should be to create a seamless journey where the customer can interact with your vehicles and staff from a variety of different touchpoints. Be a forward thinker and work through the experience you would like as a customer. Challenge yourself to be proactive in what you offer. Get away from making excuses and instead present your customers with opportunities to interact and engage with your dealership.
All too often, it’s easy to just continue doing things the way you are used to. But, I ask you, why not change it up? For some, they will be forced to adapt or be replaced. That’s never a good position to be in. Especially as customers are shopping more and more online, being adaptable simply means you are meeting consumers where they are. You’ll sell more cars, hold more gross, and stop racing to the bottom. As you grow into a digital-first mindset, you’ll attract more customers who want to complete a large portion of the buying process online. You give them what they want, and in return, they’ll give you what you want.
Marketing these days doesn’t have to be difficult either. It is cheaper and honestly, easier, to leverage your social media platforms for success. Just because you may not be on Instagram or TikTok doesn’t mean your dealership shouldn’t have a presence there. Your store is a brand all on its own. Manage the expectations of your customers by playing on the same court as them. That’s the point of being adaptable. Your flexibility sets you apart. And in the end, the customer is more likely to leave a good review, tell their friends, and ultimately come back for their next vehicle.
Attitude trickles down. The customer knows it and knows when you are being sincere or simply being a stick in the mud. I tell you now, do the work to create new touchpoints for your customer. Digitize the journey. Turn your salespeople into instant experts. Integrate next-generation technologies that elevate your dealership, not hinder it. If you aren’t sure where to start, email me. Call me. Whatever you need, MAX Digital is here to help. Adaptability is your key to success in the coming months. We can’t predict where the industry will go. But, we can control our attitude and our ability to provide a superior customer experience!