Advanced Topics    July 24, 2021

Quality Connections in Car Sales

Insights Team
Insights Team

In the hallowed halls of Applied Concepts, we often discuss a question that is central to helping our dealers sell more cars: what makes a customer interaction good or bad?If you ask 100 people that question, you'll likely get 100 different answers. After all, each interaction is unique (and should be unique). But it's important to have a framework, and, with 35 years of experience, our perspective is that each interaction with a customer typically has 4 components.

The Basics

There are 5 components that drive a quality connection between a customer and a sales rep at a dealer. Taken together, these 5 components result in the customer's total experience across all interactions.

Interaction Equation

1 | Value

Key Question: Is the customer getting what they need from the sales rep?

In a customer-centric, transparent world, each interaction the customer has with a sales rep needs to add-value for the customer. This is something we reiterate time and time again in our training programs.

One of the most common challenges we see is failure to answer direct questions. Not answering a customer's question detracts from providing a customer-centric experience and erodes customer confidence that you are acting as a trusted advisor, which is a core tenant of modern auto retailing.

2 | Discovery

Unposed group of creative business people in an open concept office brainstorming their next project.

Key Question: Is the rep getting what they need from the customer?

Even when you are in full Educate & Inform mode, selling a car is still a two way street that requires the customer to provide information to the sales rep. This requires the sales rep to learn about the customer's needs by asking probing questions. 

Why is the customer looking to purchase? Why make the switch from an SUV to a sedan? What about their last car did they like the most? What annoyed them the most? The more information a sales rep has about a customer's unique buying journey, the more likely they are to close a sale.

3 | Professionalism

Key Question: Was the interaction professional?

When you think about professionalism, you often think about how someone dresses or speaks. The fancier the dress and the fancier the vocabulary, the more professional they are, right? There's more to it than that.

Professionalism requires empathy, active listening, and thoughtfulness. In the context of emails and other digital communication, it includes formatting and grammar as well as the "vibe" it gives off, such as that spammy feel that everyone knows all too well.

4 | Conversion

Key Question: Was there a successful and appropriate call-to-action?

Put simply, conversion is the sum of Value, Discovery, and Professionalism. If you get those 3 things right, you're likely on the road to successful conversion.

But one of the most common problems we encounter in our mystery shopping is the use of inappropriate calls-to-action that sink the proverbial ship. Each customer is on a unique buying journey and has a unique buying persona. Therefore, your calls-to-action should be informed by those factors (among others). Don't repeat the same calls-to-action over and over again. If a call-to-action was not successful in your first email, then there's a good chance it won't be successful in your second email.

5 | Process

businessman hand draws gear to success concept

Key Question: Was the process connecting each interaction seamless?

From our article about Core Concepts in Auto Retailing, we know that no interaction is isolated. Each interaction needs to be integrated with one another by a seamless process. So the 5th component is Process.

Remember, in this case, the process connects all of the various interactions. The goal is to avoid the feeling that each interaction was a discrete interaction. Instead, the goal is to make all interactions feel like one integrated conversation. 

You accomplish this by ensuring each interaction builds on the previous one. The customer shouldn't have to re-answer questions, and the rep should come prepared for each conversation with a unique value proposition aimed at advancing the ball.

6 | Total Experience

If you nail Value, Discovery, Professionalism, Conversion and Process, you are  going to provide an incredible total experience for the customer, which translates into a strong customer satisfaction store for your dealership. However, an "F" grade in any one of these components is likely to not only hurt your dealership's customer satisfaction score but also lose you a deal and potential repeat customer. 

How We Can Help?

We dive into ways to master your customer interactions our training. We have hours of tailored video content and dozens of one-on-one roleplay to help put these best practices into effect. Master effective ways to interact with customers in car sales. Learn more HERE or connect with us HERE for a free assessment.