Let’s quickly agree on two truths about the Internet and car sales:
- Everyone is online; and
- Not everyone is willing to submit a lead, call you or text you in advance of their visit.
Can we agree on these two? Great! Now, DrivingSales puts the percentage of buyers who make no contact with your team prior to arriving on your lot at sixty-one. That is, 61% of buyers have zero prior interaction with you before they show up and buy.
This begs the question: How do we get these 61% to choose us and visit us so that they can buy from us?
The 3 Things Every Car Buyer Needs Before They Buy
Car buyers – probably for as long as there’ve been cars for sale – need to find three things before they’ll buy from you or your competition:
In the days before the Internet, buyers got all three when they stepped onto your lot. Today, they find the first two online (and even some of the third), then confirm these when they arrive.
Value is the easy one: “Is this vehicle a good, relative value?”
Relevancy answers the question “Are both this vehicle and dealership a good fit for me and my needs, my wants, and (perhaps) even my principles?”
Authenticity is what you need to provide as a dealership, as a salesperson, and as a team. Some authenticity can be found online, but most of this will come from the prospect’s interaction with your team.
Okay, But How Do They Choose Us in the First Place?
If you’re ready to be authentic with today’s customer, we still need to get them to choose you and give you a chance, right? You do this by providing them an attractive combination Pricing, Reputation and Messaging.
Interestingly, you don’t need to be perfect at all three, as some buyers will be moved by the best price, some will be swayed one way or the other by your reputation, and most will be moved by your messages.
To win your share of the 61% with Pricing, you don’t need to be the lowest price or even be considered a One Price Store. In fact, you’re better off becoming known as an “Our Price Store” than a One Price Store.
Unlike a One Price Store, an Our Price Store is not locked into their online price in the consumer’s mind, so they generate more online leads, calls and walk-in traffic from those who (wrongly) assume that the Our Price listed is a starting point. (This requires a disciplined sales team that can defend your price and addendums at each interaction with a prospect – a topic for another series.)
An Our Price Store prices their New and Used vehicles at or near their expected selling price. When your Our Price is compared to a dealer showing MSRP on New that requires a form completion to learn the “ePrice,” you will win more than your share of the 61% who seem unwilling to connect prior to making an in-store visit.
There is a belief that the MSRP dealer will generate more eLeads than the Our Price Store; although our internal data shows that the opposite is true. That is, dealers willing to price close to market – without exclaiming that their price is a “No Haggle” offering – enjoy a higher form conversion rate than those who require a form completion to share their selling price.
While the kind of Reputation needed to drive the 61% into your dealership mostly deals with your overall online reputation, you also want to be certain your dealership’s website highlights your standing in the community, any awards you’ve received and (where practical) details your most recent 5-star reviews.
(To learn how to gain and maintain a 5-star online reputation, please enjoy this free video series: Managing your online reputation.)
We’ll detail the final piece to the puzzle that drives your website visitors into your dealership in the next part of the series: Website Messaging & Badges
(If you’re catching this series for the first time, you may want to begin with the first post in the series: Before You Change Even One Word on Your Website…)
Steve Stauning, creator of The Appointment Culture and an expert in Digital Marketing and Website Conversion. He is also an extremely popular keynote speaker, writer, and industry consultant. Learn more about Steve at SteveStauning.com.