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. That means we can accelerate the Interview process and make it about "verifying their selection" rather than interviewing to make a selection.
The vast majority of clients still want to touch and drive the vehicle before they feel comfortable enough to say yes. This means that the Presentation and Demonstration are still most important to mental ownership but we can be sure they get the most out of these activities by asking for their involvement and taking 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?”
One industry trend we have been watching is the dramatic decline in floor traffic and rising closing ratios. This makes sense in the new reality of the highly informed shopper. With modern websites and shopping tools they can get much further into the buying process and shorten their "short-list". They just don't bother contacting or visting dealerships or brands that didn't make their "virtual cut". Instead, they are only visting 1-2 dealerships. Contrast that with 10 years ago when it was 5 dealerships. One in five makes a 20% closing ratio (all things being equal - which they never are!) What does this mean for you? It means that the quality of your traffic has increased dramatically and if your closing ratio has not come up then your sales process has not kept up with the changing expectations of today's shopper. Strong words? Yes, but just wait it gets worse!
It used to be that telephone contacts to the dealership were decreasing as web leads increased. This trend has reversed itself largely due to higher use of mobile. When your customer uses a mobile device to view your car online they are more likely to hit the "click to dial" button than try to type out a question into their mini screen. This means that the quality of incoming phone opportunities has also increased. They may even be on your lot standing next to the vehicle when they call. How ready are you to take those incoming calls, quickly determine where the caller is at in their shopping process, and lead them to the next logical step?
So these trends are really a good news story if you are prepared to take advantage:
- Shoppers eliminate the vehicles/brands/dealerships they are not interested in before they contact anyone.
- Shoppers self-qualify to budget/models/features online before they contact anyone.
- Shoppers expect that you will know as much about your own inventory as they can easily get from your website.
- Shoppers expect that you will be responsive to the research they have done and add value in the buying decisions/activities they can't do online.
Interested in more discussion around internet leads, internet sales process, and customer expectations? We have an 8 week video discussion available right now:
"The Real Internet Sales Flow - Selling Cars by connecting the digital dots"
Each week we will release one installment of these highly informative videos.
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