Automotive social selling – a technique used by car salespeople to laser-target their prospecting and establish rapport through existing connections – has many beneficial outcomes. The obvious benefit is acquiring more referrals, leads and sales.
But now that the traditional automotive retail model is under pressure, social selling is becoming crucial to sustain sales relationships.
Fundamental shifts in buying behavior have major implications for retailers. Given these remarkable changes in consumer preference, profits could be at risk when shoppers can’t choose their own paths to purchase.
Social media allows salespeople to accompany the buyer throughout their entire purchase journey (and beyond).
2 out of 3 car shoppers want to complete more of the process online compared to their last purchase (source: Cox Automotive COVID-19 Consumer and Dealer Impact Study). Digital retailing software lets shoppers choose to complete buying steps online or in the dealership. But how can retailers connect with customers BEFORE they actually decide to buy?
When car sales experts have established connections on social media, they’re able to accompany that customer throughout their entire buying journey. Their help, advice and guidance take the complexity out of car buying, build trust, and the result is more profitable deals and more satisfied customers.
Car salespeople are key to building dealership value.
Today, there is no single path to purchase for car buyers. Instead, consumers expect a personalized buying process that can pick up and start anywhere and often spans multiple devices.
Retailers that don’t align with rising expectations could be wasting time and leaving a lot of money on the table. In fact, a recent analysis of Dealer.com data showed that dealers who allow shoppers to start the buying process online were earning 25% higher profit per deal.
Retailers and their team members would do themselves right by incorporating more of the holistic approach to sales, rather than focusing on one slice of it. Whether we admit it or not, the traditional retail model treats each deal as a transaction. That doesn’t bode well for future hyper-connected sales relationships.
Incorporating automotive social selling techniques lets buyers know you’re there for them. Your team member illustrates that while she/he is ultimately a salesperson, they are in the business of helping people buy cars. That builds huge value outside the traditional retail model.
Do you sell cars? Want to sell more? Grab your Ultimate FREE Guide to Social Media for Car Salespeople today!
Train and encourage your team to meet the customer where they are.
In a March 2022 CDK whitepaper study, 94% of dealers are reevaluating their sales process and 86% are focusing on the customer experience. Now is the time to invest resources in making sure salespeople are better equipped to meet the customer where they are, throughout the entire process: consideration > shopping > purchase > after care.
I recently attended a F & I Magazine Webinar called “Online and Offline: Building Value Outside the Traditional Retail Model.” It was great because they echoed everything I’ve been advocating for with respect to changing operational processes to better serve the customer.
Key points from the Webinar indicate challenges and opportunities:
- Having a unified customer process is better for customers but that doesn’t mean it’s easy to implement.
- Customers don’t just want a unified experience – they now expect it.
- Align operations to assess where the customer has been online and create processes to transition to offline.
- Key to online selling is process and a well-trained strategy.
- “Click and Mortar” approach: address time traps in operations – trade in, credit, paperwork. When the customer is looking for that type of convenience – do you offer that?
- Is there a clear understanding of the value? How confident are you of your staff being able to convey that value story?
- Online tools convey ease and transparency. Is the experience the same offline – does the showroom offer the same transparency and convenience?
“Dealers who are comfortable with meeting customers everywhere they want to connect will be the ones with the most marketshare.” – Scott Penn, VP of Retail Strategy at Easy Care.
Staff should be trained to convey transparency in this fluid market. Not everyone is looking for an Amazon experience but how much marketshare can be gained by adapting to that type of experience?
The value of automotive social selling
When salespeople are trained and motivated to use social media as a selling tool, the benefits build unique value outside the traditional retail model.
- Salespeople are more trusted which makes the organization more trustworthy.
- Team members are better equipped to meet the customer where they are, throughout the entire process: consideration > shopping > purchase > after care.
- Value is even built with connections who are not in-market…yet.
- Their help, advice and guidance take the complexity out of car buying, build trust, and the result is more profitable deals and satisfied customers.
How do retailers successfully move into digital? Most advisers recommend adopting it when the customer is at that point. Our industry is known for slow walking change so my advice is to not play catch up here because online selling is on your doorstep.
- Make sure your team is trained in digital communications, including social selling.
- Do all interactions (online or offline) build confidence and trust throughout the customer’s journey?
- Is there a transparent process that lets your customer drive their purchase experience?
It may be too soon to say for sure whether every customer will trade convenience for negotiation. One thing we do know for sure is that the consumer must see value upfront.
A salesperson’s job is to help people buy cars. Providing help, advice and unique value prior to the sale establishes relationships that create an environment that puts the customer in the driver’s seat. And as studies show, that’s what wins the sale.
Do you sell cars? Want to sell more? Grab your Ultimate FREE Guide to Social Media for Car Salespeople 👉 HERE.