Dennis Galbraith uses the auto industry multiple time in his book Sales Integration. Although the book relates to every industry and anyone involved in goods and services there are some key take a ways about our business. There is a reoccurring message not only from Dennis but others industry consultants; reputation, communication and experience are crucial. The internet allows anyone to collect an incredible amount of information and that information is used to make decisions dealerships didn’t previously concern themselves with.
A dealership has to have a plan in place to react and interact with customers on every level. Those interaction and relationship usually start with the internet. Dealerships need to understand the experience begins before they even get the chance to have a conversation with customers today. The ability to research the reputation of a business and how it interact with its community will influence the decision to move forward by a customer.
I feel there is still a disconnect between the owner/ GM s understanding of when the sale begins and when the shopper says it begins. Understanding sales integration is understanding the importance of giving the customer multiple avenues to collect information about the business and multiple channels of communication. Here is a great quote from his book “Mary controls the sales process. She doesn’t give a skinny rats fanny about advertising or sales. She blocks ads at will and does not hesitate to walk out on salespeople with their competitor’s information already in her Smartphone. Those companies offering consistent, integrated information across their websites, independent websites, contact enters and stores will be seen as easier to buy from and more apt to earn her trust”
Dennis talks about a pendulum shift that is not coming back when he discusses online shopping and selling cars. “Negotiations today is more about working together towards an agreement that maximizes quality of life for both participants.” Customers are armed with too much information to assume you can use your salesmen skills to get them in a car.
Using multiple channels to communicate requires the dealerships to invest in how the team is going to reply. There needs to be a plan on how to us text, video, photo and publication effectively. If a dealership doesn’t measure the response and listen to the customers these are just wasted dollars, that also has to be part of the strategy.
The dealerships that have a strategy to create every possible means of communication and interaction with customers, along every channel, will have the best opportunity to sell cars. The dealership that creates the best experience, advertises that experience and interacts with customers on their terms will sell the most cars.