The Age of the Informed Customer
BMW Product Geniuses Set The Standard for Building Trust With CustomersJuly 16th, 2015 by MAXdigital
According to Gallup, 92% of consumers don’t trust car salespeople. Our industry, while making strides, is still stuck doing business as usual. Customers will do anything in their power to avoid becoming a part of our process. Customers want facts. They don’t want to be sold; rather, they want to be educated. They want product experts not salespeople. While we know we have to change, not enough of us are willing to be on the front lines to enact that change.
In 2014, BMW introduced the Product Genius into their retail stores, whose sole purpose is to educate consumers on its vehicles and their increasingly more complex features without the stench of an ulterior sales motive (they are salaried employees). Their sole motivation is customer satisfaction. In doing so, BMW has put an inherent wall in between the customer and the typical salesman.
This massive overhaul in the sales process not only keeps them relevant, it secures their role as the class of the industry.
So what can you change in your process today to follow suit?
- PROBLEM: Most dealers put less information online as a tactic to have the consumer call and ask.
- SOLUTION: Make sure that your virtual showroom (whether on your website or 3rd party sites) is designed to speak the language of the consumer. Adding package and option information is crucial to building value and informing your customers before they show up on your lot.
- PROBLEM: Our employees are knowledgeable about their inventory, but they are not experts on all of the cars and their respective features.
- SOLUTION: Ensure that any consumer-facing employees (BDC/Sales) are truly experts on your entire inventory – both in-brand and off-brand. Give them the tools they need to turn them into “geniuses.”
- PROBLEM: Dealers still follow the “Road to the Sale” and force customers into their process.
- SOLUTION: Allow for the customers to access information without a salesman there (think Sunday shoppers). This lets them know that we are a different type of dealership that is not constrained by the “old way” of selling cars. CARMAX is piloting a model where consumers can use iPads to navigate their inventory while on the lot. Some dealers use their window stickers to employ these consumer self-service tactics as well.