By Chase Abbott, Vice President, Sales – Dealer Software Solutions Dealertrack DMS, Dealer.com, VinSolutions & Xtime, Cox Automotive
When your business invests significant time and effort into capturing and pursuing opportunities, a low close rate is frustrating and costly. It can be difficult to shake the ‘leave no lead unturned’ mentality, but the reality is customers who are just browsing versus buying consume time and resources that could be better spent elsewhere. The good news is the power to distinguish which customers are ready to buy can be found right inside your customer relationship management system (CRM).
Identifying and prioritizing customers who are ready to buy is the first crucial step toward achieving higher close rates and profits. Today’s most effective digital sales tools offer dealerships the ability to do this accurately and efficiently. Consumers classified as “ready to buy” by Connect Automotive Intelligence were nearly 15.1 times more likely to purchase within 30 days than those classified otherwise.
The 2021 Cox Automotive Car Buyer Journey Study found more buyers are being driven to purchase because they want a vehicle, not because they needed one. Helping navigate this is AI-enabled digital sales, which can pick the buyer who knows what they want out of the crowd. This creates a better experience for the customer—who gets the deal they wanted and attention they deserve—and the seller—who can celebrate a win while focusing the time they didn’t waste on dead-end leads on more ready-to-buy customers.
Some shoppers who are ready to buy know exactly what they want, but others are more open to suggestions. In fact, 57% of car shoppers considered purchasing both new and used vehicles in 2020 according to the same Car Buyer Journey Study. Even customers who know what they want appreciate guidance, and using automated marketing tools can help them discover what they want even faster, with less effort from your sales team.
For those consumers classified as “ready to buy” by Connect Automotive Intelligence, the brand they were interested in was correctly predicted 30 days prior to purchase for approximately 90% of sales and the model was predicted for approximately 55% of sales. Automated tools help dealerships deliver the personalized and relevant attention in-market shoppers need to take the next step. In doing so, dealerships can win more business by converting browsers into buyers with the right deal at the right time.
It is no secret that we have entered a new era of car buying and digital is leading the way for how dealers win customers, garner loyalty, and maximize profits. The Cox Automotive Digitization of End-to-End Retailing study found that in 2020, buyer satisfaction with the car buying process rose to new heights. The study further determined a key contributing factor to this growth is that 86% of consumers believe that a digital process will save time, especially at the dealership. Unlike the physical showroom, the digital dealership never closes.
Today’s 24/7 online sales cycle and constant stream of leads can spread salespeople thin, especially if they are prioritizing their attention on closing deals with those who are ready to buy. But with the help of a virtual assistant that uses conversational AI to nurture and vet leads in their early stages, dealerships can capture even more business from those browsers who just needed a little more TLC to become a buyer. Plus, the added benefit of being able to nurture leads 24/7 can build goodwill with customers regardless of where they are in the purchase process, creating more opportunities to turn browsers into buyers simply by getting those who are ready to buy to their final destination more quickly.
Despite its rapid movement online, the auto retail business is still based on creating and fostering relationships. A CRM system with the right tools to enhance this relationship building through data-driven insights helps deliver the elevated level of customer service necessary in today’s market. Having the ability to distinguish buyers from browsers and strategize accordingly eliminates pain points and can boost satisfaction across the sales process for both the dealership and the customer alike.
About the Author
Chase Abbot is Vice President of Sales for Dealer Software Solutions Dealertrack DMS, Dealer.com, VinSolutions & Xtime.