Haggling. It’s an age-old process every dealership is intimately familiar with. But why do customers feel like every visit to the lot will be a battle? It’s a sad and simple truth: they’ve lost trust in car salespeople.
While that may be hard to hear, there are steps you can take to make your customers more comfortable — and ultimately increase your bottom line.
It’s time to learn the ins and outs of the digital customer’s car-buying process.
Understand These 4 Steps to Bridge the Digital Disconnect
Step 1: Gather
Modern car-buying is just that: modern. This means customers are using their digital technology to help them shop. The first step for consumers isn’t making a trip to the nearest dealership to browse inventory on the lot anymore. Instead, they begin the process online where they start gathering information.
The information they seek includes everything from make, model, year, color, price, and mileage. And it won’t necessarily come from your website alone. Consumers have become avid fact-checkers and will usually browse many sites before making a decision.
But what’s the point of all this information gathering? Because there is a lack of trust in the automotive industry, consumers will compare the data they gathered to what they see in your physical showroom. If it doesn’t match up, the battle will begin.
With an average of 10+ hours being spent on online research alone, it’s important to have the information on your site as accurate and accessible as possible.
Step 2: Quote
This is the next stage of consumers testing the trustworthiness of your dealership. In Step 1, we learned that having accurate, straightforward information on your website can build trust with consumers. Step 2 is more specifically about clarifying and validating the numbers they saw online with what they see in your physical showroom.
Consider this potential scenario:
Let’s say that a customer is researching a specific model online. They look at the OEM site, your site, and a few popular reviews. Your dealership has the car listed at a higher price than the consumer’s research suggests it should be. Without providing that consumer with detailed, accessible information — online or in the physical showroom — as to why your dealership raised the price, you will most likely lose that sale.
Needless to say, that’s not a result that will ultimately raise your bottom line. So what’s the key? Consistent, transparent price quotes for your entire inventory will build trust with consumers and help you maximize on sales.
Step 3: Decide
Building your digital presence is important because, at the end of the day, studies show that 80% of consumers still make their final decision on the lot — not online. Step 3 is when customers finally apply the information they have gathered and decide to trust in your dealership.
Offering transparent prices usually leads customers to see that they are fair prices as well. The result? There will be less of a need to “battle it out” over the final price. How do we know? Our data shows that 79% of customers place the most value on quality at a fair price, rather than price alone.
Step 4: Purchase
Everything about the modern car buying process comes back to value. While Step 4 is about the financial transaction and closing of the deal, it’s also about the value your dealership applies to this process. When customers agree to buy a vehicle from you, they also expect quality service. This means you should provide them with an easy and expedited final transaction.
What to Do with Your Knowledge of Modern Car-Buying Behavior
Now that you know the steps consumers take, what can you do to modernize your sales process to meet their changing needs?
This is where MAX Digital’s available Inventory Management Platform steps in. Using our many years of experience in the auto industry, we created a way for you manage inventory effectively. We can help you acquire, appraise, and price your inventory in a way that builds the necessary trust with today’s customer.
Other solutions like the MAX Digital Showroom allow you to prove the value of your inventory to customers across all devices. With this technology, you can justify all your prices easily and make the customer feel like a product expert.