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Russ Chandler

Russ Chandler Product Marketing Manager

Exclusive Blog Posts

​​​​​​​Who's still using Excel to manage their employee development?

​​​​​​​Who's still using Excel to manage their employee development?

To dealership managers, If you're using Excel to manage your employee development process, you are still better than 80% of managers that don't …

MAXIMIZING SALES OPPORTUNITIES WITH BDC TRAINING SCRIPTS AND MORE

MAXIMIZING SALES OPPORTUNITIES WITH BDC TRAINING SCRIPTS AND MORE

Does your dealership have a business development center? Is it producing the level of leads you’re looking for? If the answer to either of th…

[VODCAST] Millennial Car-Tell Episode 3 - Don't Stop Believin'

[VODCAST] Millennial Car-Tell Episode 3 - Don't Stop Believin'

NEW Vodcast Alert: The Millennial Car-Tell is back! Join us for Episode 3, Don't Stop Believin'! (CLICK HERE) We're interviewing our…

Disrupting the Disruptors

Disrupting the Disruptors

In the last several years we’ve all heard the warnings about how the auto industry is being disrupted by online retailers such as CarMax, Carvana, an…

WEBINAR RECORDING - 3 Proven Strategies to Overcome the “Circle of Distrust” in Automotive Retail

WEBINAR RECORDING - 3 Proven Strategies to Overcome the “Circle of Distrust” in Automotive Retail

In this webinar, we had a great discussion with Matt Weinberg, SVP of Consumer Experience at Modal. Watch this webinar recording to learn t…

Why Educating Car Shoppers Is So Important!

The average consumer doesn’t understand the complex dynamics of the automotive industry. In fact, they probably don’t even care enough to learn about it. But these very dynamics are what greatly affect the availability, price and depreciation of vehicles.

 

Even though many consumers don’t understand these certain complexities, and claim to not care about them, they’re things that consumers care about a LOT.

 

Think about it. Let’s say a consumer visits your dealership and asks for a lower price on a vehicle. The dealer asks the consumer “Why?” and then the consumer doesn’t have a proper answer for them.

 

If that consumer happened to understand the complexities of calculating such a price, not only wouldn’t they feel the need to negotiate, but they’d feel more comfortable with the price as it’s likely the best possible calculation.

 

Back in the day (let’s say 10 or 15 years ago), it was almost to the dealer’s benefit to NOT have to explain the process of pricing to a consumer.

 

A consumer would visit a dealership, browse the selection at said dealership and take things at face value. If they didn’t like what they saw or researched, they’d leave or try to haggle. If haggling didn’t work (because of a lack of industry knowledge), then again, they’d take their business elsewhere.

 

Nowadays, however, consumers aren’t okay with being complacent and accepting things as they are. If they can’t get the information they’re looking for, or can’t get the deal they want, that relationship is over. In this tech-savvy age of smart-phones and micro-moments, consumers prefer to self-educate.

 

Before they make any purchasing decisions or even step foot into your showroom, consumers visit different dealership websites to look at inventory, pricing, financing options, trade appraisals, etc. Additionally, consumers like to take assessments (Ex: what vehicle or financing option is best for me?) and they prefer to read reviews of vehicles and dealerships before committing to anything. After all, purchasing a vehicle is a big decision.

 

Long story short: You can’t trick people anymore. Now, I’m not saying that your dealership has been tricking people intentionally -- but there’s no such thing as hiding information from car buyers anymore. To alleviate a lot of the conversational friction that stems from a consumer’s lack of education or independence, your dealership needs to provide resources that help improve self-efficiency.

 

What better way to provide those resources than to publish them on your dealership’s website? It’s your most powerful marketing platform! One of the most important things your dealership should do is educate car buyers about their vehicle of interest and your appraisal process.

 

Using images and video and other automotive solutions like assessments and calculators, your dealership can explain, at a high level, what the current process is for calculating best prices and determining fair vehicle appraisals. Images, video and interactive experiences have not only help consumers to stay actively engaged on your website, but it helps them retain information as well. Something as simple as a short, 1-minute video next to a specific inventory listing to explain went into calculating a specific price, provides them with the confidence to move further down the purchasing funnel.

 

In my last piece for DrivingSales, I mentioned that importance of branding your price in order to take responsibility for the information you’re providing to consumers. Educating your consumers about aspects of your dealership is really no different. If anything, the concept of branding your price was just one component of many regarding consumer education.

 

By taking the time to educate your customers, you decrease their need to ask numerous questions and haggle. If consumers have copious amount of information at their disposal, they won’t even have to speak to a sales rep until they’re basically ready to step into your showroom for a test drive. Even though the ultimate goal is for your sales reps to develop a strong relationship with their consumers, technology has made consumers desire a more independent research experience.

 

As much as dealers would like to resist the temptation to replace all of their old fashioned marketing and sales tactics online, now is not the time. Consumers will need your help at some point during the car-buying journey — but in early stages, it’s best to leave the information out and let them seek it out themselves. As soon as they find what they’re looking for, I almost guarantee that they’ll be back.

Whitney N

Hi Russ! I can't agree more. If you want to empower customers to make purchase decisions - educate them! With a dramatic majority of car buyers starting their shopping journey online, why not use your website and website content to educate those potential buyers and build trust in your brand? They will find the tools and answers they want somewhere on the web, so having those resources available (like the calculators you've mentioned, comparisons, reviews, etc.) will only help move them through the process more easily.  

Russ Chandler

Thanks for sharing your thoughts Whitney! I think you make some great points around how consumers are going to seek out education from other sources, especially if they can't find answers on dealer sites. Many strategies for the dealer site are optimized for the "buy" phase of the consumer journey when almost half the traffic on the site is from consumers at earlier stages in the process. 

Check out this IHS study that shows the share between OEM, Third Party and Dealer sites in the different stages of the consumer journey http://agameautotrader.com/files/insights/pdf/ABIS3-in-1Infographic.pdf

There is serious opportunity for dealers to compete online by address the need for consumers to research pricing, compare models and assess major buying decisions on their own website! 

Brad Paschal

Provide 51% of the value for the customer :)

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