How are we educating consumers about the current climate in the auto industry

Nicole Marcellino

These days there is a crucial part of the car buying process that needs to be communicated very clearly to keep a customer confident in their salesperson and the dealership they have chosen to give their business to. Gone are the days when someone could stroll the lot to pick out the trim level and color of the vehicle they are interested in and drive 3 cars while they are at it. The modern-day salesperson needs to explain what is happening in the market clearly and make sure the customer understands what their “real” options are.

Currently, we’re facing a market anomaly where vehicles are sold faster than they can be produced, and customers are bouncing from dealer to dealer over the phone trying to find something that they can even look at. With that being said, phone etiquette is going to become even more of a crucial factor in dealership survival in the coming months and years. Sales associates not only need to know their product knowledge like it’s second nature, but they also need to be able to educate an unaware customer or defuse a frustrated customer in their first encounter.

Working with a customer over the phone has been commonplace even before vehicle inventory was slim to none. Now more than ever we need to ensure that our sales associates are willing to review all the details necessary with the customer and continue to keep the tone of the call positive. Perception is reality and if the sales associate isn’t on the ball over the phone, they are wasting an opportunity because the customer will go elsewhere.

This is where having a common and consistent practice for all associates over the phone is vital to a dealership’s success. We now need to work on having everyone on the same page and working as a team to present a united front across all departments. One thing that can help with this is dedicated phone training. Everyone can benefit from hearing themselves over the phone, but also having someone guide them to a better call with proven suggestions and best practices on how to continue to improve is extremely beneficial. 

It’s time to make sure that all associates are working to inform the customer of current dealership practices and how they are continuing to work to fulfill their customers’ needs in a vehicle. All aspects of the dealership’s current process should be presented in a positive manner, from pricing to available inventory to drive. The process should be presented simply and efficiently making it sound like a matter of fact, but also reassuring the customer that they are going to be taken care of appropriately. A sales associate that follows an organized process on the phone for every call will have no problem putting the customer at ease and getting a higher rate of commitment to purchase with them. 

A united front via the phone, and in-person, is going to put your dealership ahead of the pack and keep your sales associates busy with special orders and pre-sales through even the toughest of markets. What processes is your dealership putting into place or currently utilizing to do this, and are they working?

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