Empowering Auto Dealership Sales Teams for Exceptional Service
June 21, 2016
For most buyers, one of the most significant investments is purchasing a vehicle. Cars are not only necessary for transportation, they are considered a status symbol. While some car buyers are more concerned with the practical and safety aspects or pricing, others are more conscious of features and performance.
Regardless of the shopper’s persona, it’s up to the car salesman to guide the customer through their buying process and close the deal. This involves informing the customer to feel knowledgeable enough to make a decision. Due to the growing use of mobile devices as part of the information-gathering stage of the buying process, auto dealership managers and owners are pressuring salespersons to be aware of the needs of today’s car buyer. Despite the emphasis placed on enhancing the customer’s experience in the showroom, one in four car shoppers will leave the dealership feeling dissatisfied by the overall experience.
Exceptional Service Requires Upgrading the Sales Process
Car buyers, like the majority of consumers, are increasingly dependent on devices and technology to inform their purchase behavior. In order to keep up, dealership sales managers need to upgrade the entire sales and service process to better serve today’s well-informed car buyer. Car Research XRM conducted a survey that revealed the sales and management staffs’ inefficiencies accounted for 27% of abandoned sales at dealerships, the highest ranking among other reasons why buyers leave the lot without making a purchase.
Salespersons must have a deep technical understanding of the vehicle and all of its features. Seventy-four percent of shoppers currently use a mobile device to seek out deals and information when shopping for vehicles and therefore have higher expectations of their sales people. Shoppers are not only equipped with knowledge about the models they are interested in purchasing, they also have more questions about the vehicle’s connectivity and technology-enhanced performance. Sales teams must be able to effortlessly answer customers’ questions and provide additional information to further inform the potential buyer. According to McKinsey, a salesperson’s product knowledge is a vital element of the car dealership experience for customers, followed by:
- Availability of cars
- Expertise on additional features
- Appeal and friendliness of staff
- Proximity and store layout
To maximize this opportunity, OEM’s such as Mercedes Benz, BMW, Tesla and Audi have begun overhauling their retail experience by designing new, interactive retail centers featuring the latest technology such as video screens and 3D configurators. These centers help buyers better understand how a vehicle works with explanations of features through video. Furthermore, OEM’s have also transformed their sales departments by bringing in vehicle experts equipped with mobile devices who can answer inquiries from car buyers. For example, BMW recently created a new sales role to enhance the shopping experience: product geniuses. These product geniuses are non-commissioned experts who invest as much time as needed in educating auto buyers about various vehicle choices. Given that 52% of car buyers are still unsure of what to purchase upon arrival at the lot, these salespersons play a pivotal role in closing deals and placing drivers behind the wheels of vehicles.
Mobile Training to Ensure Business Sustainability
Though dealerships can effectively serve car buyers’ needs by overhauling sales and service processes with new technology, these changes are not sustainable without providing proper training on how to use these new mobile sales tools.
Mobile sales training tools provide a measurable and repeatable method of presenting vehicle features to dealership sales teams. The user simply opens the app and product training modules can be viewed instantly, anytime, anywhere. Mobile training apps for car sales teams include features such as:
- High-resolution images of vehicles
- Short videos that are accessible offline
- Simple, informative tables
- Comprehensive product information that is accessible on just one screen
- Vehicle comparisons
- Competitor information to combat showrooming
- Safety reports
- Videos ranging in 1-3 minutes and are accessible offline to summarize vehicle and service information
- Research current market value
- Provide more accurate and best rate guarantees to the customers
- Digestible charts and tables for vehicle and dealership information
- Access the latest recalls and safety reports provided by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration
Additionally, cloud-based solutions can provide a simple interface where sales managers can combine incentives and gamification to support sales departments to close more deals while meeting the needs of the car buyer. Sales managers can also utilize real-time dashboards that are accessible on smartphones or iPads for customer support and remote coaching.
Mobile training tools are a critical component of successful auto dealerships in many ways. Technical knowledge from the sales team leads to customer satisfaction and increased profits. Dealerships have the opportunity to improve the bottom line while saving money on training and computers, as smartphones and tablets cost significantly less. Last but not least, efficient training tools are a key to attracting and retaining better talent, thereby reducing costs associated with high employee turnover rates.