Boosting dealership traffic in a rapidly-changing market
As service intervals lengthen, how do dealers meet the challenge and get customers back into the showroom?
Taking on board a better informed consumer, from the retailer’s perspective, buyers may not be fully aware of the expansion in product ranges and the array of sophisticated technology available as factory options. It’s important, therefore, for sales people to avoid the temptation to hand customers over to business managers too early in the sales process, to add on products, which generate additional revenue. Hand over too early and the customer is less likely to see new technologies, such as head-up display and collision avoidance systems, meaning the sales person may miss out on valuable opportunities to up-sell.
Some premium brand manufacturers have already introduced Apple store-style ‘geniuses’ into their networks … tasked with demonstrating new technologies to customers.
To address this, dealers may need to invest in more technical training for their sales staff to help them sell increasingly more complex product ranges and option lists to a more demanding and informed client. The approach to staffing in the showroom may also need a fresh mindset. For example, some premium brand manufacturers have already introduced Apple store-style ‘geniuses’ into their networks. These employees are tasked with demonstrating new technologies to customers, in contrast to selling directly. Securing the budget for these specialists undoubtedly has it challenges but has the potential to be rewarded, as technology advances with every new model.
With increased technology, particularly related to engine performance, dealers face the challenge of increasing vehicle service intervals, reducing face-to-face contact with customers. To overcome this trend, retailers are creating opportunities to drive greater footfall into their showrooms. For example, promotional activities including ‘VIP Weekends’ and ‘Golden Ticket’ events with attractive discounts and finance offers on new and used vehicles are becoming commonplace, alongside tried and trusted product launches.
Getting the business culture right can also reap rewards when it comes to generating sales and referrals from existing customers. For example, taking simple steps like ensuring a positive and welcoming atmosphere in the showroom and ensuring sales and aftersales teams are fully aligned, encourages communication and internal sharing of customer data, which will benefit the bottom line.
It’s also important to remember that the majority of customers are not just purchasing a vehicle when they buy a car. They are also buying into a brand. It’s vital that both sales and aftersales staff fully understand this and are regularly refreshed in the brand values of the marque they represent, so that they can keep customers loyal.
Delivering the brand promise and helping to delight customers is equally important for third-party brands in the dealership. For our business, that’s been a leader in car care for over 50 years, working with motor retailers representing a wide spectrum of franchises offers the opportunity to reinforce the strength of the Autoglym brand and the trust consumers have in our products, which we continue to develop and innovate.
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