By Michael Biasco, Senior Product Marketer, Elead/CDK Global
People tend to think of businesses the way they think of people. They hold them to certain standards and build relationships with those they trust. In fact, over 90% of car buyers say trust is essential when deciding where to purchase a vehicle (Marchex 2021 Automotive Buyer Study).
So, how can you demonstrate that your dealership is one of the good ones? As a salesperson, how can you build customer trust and gain customer confidence? Here are four tips to build faith and good will.
Be fully transparent
It’s imperative to be fully transparent with inventory availability and pricing. There’s no advantage to holding this information close to your chest when consumers can quickly search online and find any and all vehicle information. In addition, if you’re cagey on the phone or over email customers will naturally wonder how you will be to work with when they enter the dealership. You have to give customers the information they want in a timely manner and be authentic and genuine. If you have the inventory, great. If not, explain the situation and offer a resolution such as ordering a vehicle. Don’t put pressure on the customer to come in if you do have the inventory. Give them the opportunity to conduct the transaction in their own time and they’ll be more likely to want to do business with you.
Share positive reviews
How important are customer reviews to shoppers? Very important, as it turns out. The fact is, 90% of consumers read online reviews before visiting a business. And 88% of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations. It’s to your benefit to ask for reviews from satisfied customers. If everything is going well when you hand over the keys, take the opportunity to tell the customer you are sending a text or email with a link to your online survey platform. Send it immediately and encourage completion before they drive off your lot. Real customer experiences hold more sway with potential customers than clear-cut marketing.
Leverage social media
Social media platforms are an effective and efficient way to build your dealership brand and position yourself as a trusted advisor. The best way to grab attention is with short videos (no more than 30 seconds) that don’t sell your dealership but rather showcase satisfied customers or offer tips and tricks. It’s a best practice to have a dealership social media presence, but salespeople should also have personal accounts that link back to the dealership account.
Video examples include filming an excited customer as you hand over the keys and asking them to say a sentence or two about why they bought from you (be sure to secure permission from customers to post videos). Quick vehicle feature demos are also effective. For example, demonstrate how to change vehicle air filters in preparation for summer. Or, how to install a car seat (with an offer to swing on by if a viewer wants help). The possibilities are endless.
One caveat: make sure to leverage your CRM to shoot videos and build up your video library. Your CRM should have a mobile application so salespeople can log in from their mobile device and upload videos. This is especially important when you take customer videos to ensure they are a part of the customer record.
Practice clear & consistent communication
With most dealerships selling pipeline due to inventory shortages, open lines of communication are more important than ever. A customer who puts a deposit down on a vehicle or places an order needs to be kept in the loop about when the vehicle will hit the ground. You must be as transparent about today’s vehicle buying process as you are with vehicle details. Radical transparency over the phone, email, and through text is the way to build trust with customers. Use your CRM to set communication reminders so nothing falls through the cracks.
Today’s consumers have unprecedented access to information and multiple platforms to share opinions – both good and bad. In this environment, building customer trust and confidence is essential. Start with these four tips to begin showing customers why they should trust your dealership with their hard-earned dollars.
About the Author
Michael Biasco is a senior product marketer at Elead/CDK Global. Biasco has over nine years of sales, marketing and operations experience in retail automotive, and has led numerous product initiatives from ideation through testing and commercialization.