If you’re a salesperson whose dealership has recently gone online, you’re probably wondering about the best way to handle online customers. This new breed is entirely different, and dealerships everywhere are incorporating internet sales techniques into their existing auto sales training programs as a result.
The internet buyer is much more discriminating than their offline counterpart. They are searching for added value, choice and much more than the best price. Therefore, being able to turn their enquiries into sales should be the goal of all online dealerships. But how do you, as a salesperson go about this effectively?
To begin with, a good understanding of today’s internet buyers is in order. They are much more educated about what can be had online. That’s because most auto dealer websites allow them to do just about everything except kick the tires. Internet car buyers have greater control over the buying process. They can access information around the clock, greatly reduce searching time, comparison shop and even obtain financing online. That means that once they’ve reached you, they are much better informed than the car buyers of old. However, it doesn’t mean that the salesperson has been outmoded! Salespeople are as an integral part of the auto-purchasing process as they’ve always been. Customers still need someone to help clear confusion and finalize the sale.
It should be understood that the internet presents a golden opportunity for auto retailers and sales people to re-evaluate and reinvent their customer image. For example, the online salesperson can elevate the entire dealership’s image by assuming a more advisory role with customers. This role is highly important, considering that said customer will already know a great deal about what you have to offer. As well, internet buyers, already being used to the low pressure, self-controlled buying process are more likely to respond negatively to traditional pressure selling tactics.
Internet auto sales training should communicate the benefits of using the internet to engage a customer at the shopping stage and provide superior customer service, something that has always been a cornerstone of the auto industry. Training should also identify the benefits of utilizing internet customer relationship marketing to reinforce strong brand loyalty.
How many internet sales a dealership makes will ultimately depend on the amount of useful information on that dealership’s website. Today’s internet buyer will not wait for new information to be added; if a website does not have what they are looking for, they will simply go elsewhere. The internet is seen as ‘the great equalizer’ of all businesses. Dealerships are no longer just competing with companies down the street; they are being compared to dealerships world wide. Therefore, it is even more critical that any auto sales techniques be original and dynamic; something that catches the buyer’s eye or ear and leaves them compelled to know more.
Customer service is just as important online as it is offline; the salesperson must be willing and able to follow up with any and all internet enquiries received. According to a recent J.D. Power Autoshopper survey, 22% of all new vehicle buyers said that the internet affected their choice of a dealer, up from 14% in 2002. Therefore, how a dealer or salesperson responds to internet requests is of increasing importance to customers.
Quality customer relationship management software is another way that a net-savvy dealership can manage its enquiries. Incorporating technology into the office has many other benefits as well. Today’s salespeople can now communicate from anywhere, whether it via PDA, cell phone or laptop, making them more accessible to customers than ever before. Web chat offers an additional outlet for sales people and customers to connect, giving customers the opportunity to receive real-time answers to pressing questions.
But the tactics and advice is the same: take the time to listen to what customers are saying so that you can tailor services to meet their needs, don’t rush the sale and if a problem arises, avoid excuses; instead, explain why the problem has occurred. Assume a courteous disposition, be willing to ask what you can do for them, and showcase the benefits of working with you and your dealership. Internet customers are after the same things traditional customers are; to be heard and be advised.