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Automotive Digital Retailing: What Every Dealership Must Do

Ardent Learning
Feb 23, 2021 9:30:00 AM


The internet has changed everything. Digital media has disrupted the way people access information and shop. The automotive industry has struggled to keep pace with the technology revolution. The sales consultant’s role is evolving. Selling in the digital age means higher expectations. Customers want the convenience of Amazon and the ease of Uber. They expect similar shopping convenience from automotive retailers. 

Traditional automotive sales training falls short of digital culture. If your automotive sales and skill development strategy does not include connecting with customers on social media platforms, we can start there. Social selling is the price of entry in automotive retail. Some dealer groups are making progress and have found success. But gaps exist between the brand awareness being generated online by manufacturers, regional market awareness, and the transactions occurring at dealers.

Can Your Sales Consultants Connect with Customers Online? 

Most sales consultants don’t know how to connect with customers in a virtual environmentToday’s customer has multiple browser windows open, and they are looking at vehicles from multiple stores. They do not want a phone call, nor do they have time for an appointment. Without saying so, they shared their communication preferences. They know you have the model, trim level, and the color they want. They see several in your inventory. What do you think they want? 

Before we answer that for you, this is what they get: a voice message asking them to schedule an appointment to talk about their needs.  But they already know what they want. 

Let’s simplify the customer journey to illustrate an important point. It’s a three-step process to the sale: Awareness, Consideration, and Decision. Most sales processes assume the customer is in the Consideration phase. That’s incorrect. Dealerships don’t get past Awareness unless they address three fundamental needs with digital customers: 

  1. Answer the questions – Most BDCs and sales consultants sell the appointment. The customer just wants information.  
  2. A virtual walkaround – Most dealerships think it’s easier to post file photos on their website. Customers want to see actual photographs of the vehicle they are trying to buy. That’s why a virtual walkaround is necessary. 
  3. Your best price – They want to know cost. The lowest price doesn’t always win. Instead, many dealerships believe engagement is an email message. They don’t list the price and force the customer to inquire. Force isn’t good for sales. 

Sales Process or Customer Journey? 

It’s time to rethink things. We need to help sales consultants and retail networks unlearn what they’ve been doing for decades. Forget about traditional customer profiles and demographics and let us show you how user personas can prepare your sales organization for success in digital retailing. It helps consultants sell with empathy from the customer’s point of view. It helps them connect and appeal to customers' emotions as people and not just see them as another up. 

And, when we develop sales training solutions for digital retailers, we stop talking about processes and people like robots. We explore the customer journey. We look at all of the touchpoints. Let’s do a journey mapping workshop to help inspire your sales organization. 

Are you ready to discover where human interaction is most wanted? Would you like to know where digital retailing is most valued? Let us be your partner in optimizing digital retailing so you can enable your teams to do a better job of interacting with customers when the human touch is required. Ready to seize the opportunities? Contact us to get started. 

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