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Building Value for the Highly Informed Shopper - Part 2

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We have talked about how our typical shopper is now spending 11+ hours of online research before we ever see or hear from them. If they have done a lot of research and landed at your place we need to respect that hard work that they have already done - not disregard it and try to force them into our traditional buying process. Last month we talked about how this can allow us to accelerate the interview process. Our focus becomes confirming that the selection they have made meets their needs rather than interviewing to discover their needs so we can select the vehicle. We concluded that yes Selection was still our number one job - we still have a professional obligation to ensure the client's needs match the vehicle. So far so good.

How does the balance of the sales process change with the highly researched shopper? Do we still need a Presentation and Demonstration drive? Well buyer psychology still says that the highest levels of mental ownership come with the touch, feel, and experiential aspects of the shopping process. So yes we need to encourage them to experience the vehicle but we again respect the work they have already done. Ask for their involvement and take some direction: “Mark, from everything you have told me, I agree, the Corolla is a perfect match to your needs – well done!” “You did a lot of work on-line before you came to the dealership so you already know a lot about the vehicle… but there is nothing like seeing it in person; what are the features we should have a closer look at?”

Now present the vehicle but don't use a shotgun approach. Really narrow the focus on two areas. First, the specific things they suggested when you asked what they wanted a closer look at. Second, the specific items you know match their dominant buying motivation. You know what their buying motivations are because even in an accelerated interview you did ask questions like: "what does this vehicle need to do much better that your current vehicle?" or "what has changed that makes your current vehicle no longer fit your needs?"

Now lead to the demonstration drive: "Well Mark, will you allow me to show you the two best features that you just can’t experience on-line? Great, that’s the ride and handling…let's go!" At the conclusion of the demo drive we still have to realize that this is the most fragile moment. Mental ownership is strong! They can see themselves owning this vehicle! They are excited! They are scared they might say YES and they have the urge to leave quickly.

We need to continue our leadership to Building Added Value - the service walk. Suggest that you “want to show you something about our dealership that we’re very proud of and I think will be very important to you.” Lead through the service reception area pointing out things like: how many service bays, master technicians on staff, friendly service advisors, and parts inventory. Show off the awards wall of fame, community sponsorships, client waiting area, and other amenities. Show and tell them how important customer satisfaction and aftersales care is to the dealership. Build the case for why this is a good place to be a customer. Now we offer a refreshment and suggest going back to your desk to review the information on their vehicle and answer any questions they may have.

Can we accelerate the process with the highly informed shopper? Absolutely! Are there some steps where a short-cut will cost deals? Absolutely! The key principle when we compress the process for this highly researched shopper is to recognize they still need to feel confident and comfortable that their selection is a good match to their requirements, need to feel you understand them and trust your advice, and need to feel that the dealership is a good place to buy. Cover those areas and make it easy for them to say yes!


Automotivaters is highly recognized and one of the most respected automotive training and consulting companies in Canada. Since 1987, the company has acquired an international client base throughout Canada, the United States, the Philippines, Indonesia, French Polynesia, Malaysia, Thailand, and New Zealand.

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