As part of the DrivingSales virtual meetings, two experts spoke about the effectiveness of using a digital tablet in the dealership.
Titled “A Modern Approach to Selling Cars,” the discussion, which took place March 29, featured Delaney Guzman of Community Auto dealer group in Texas and Danielle Mills Walder of Upstart Auto Retail, a U.S.-based firm specializing in digital solutions for dealerships.
A true representative of her generation, Guzman arrived at her new position as a sales consultant at this dealership with a digital tablet in hand. This digital tool contains all the information on all the vehicles in the manufacturer’s catalogue, including their price and availability. This innovative approach has contributed to 160 vehicle sales in its first seven months of operation.
How to greet
“When a visitor arrives at the dealership, I greet them and personally greet the entire group, if necessary, because we don’t know who the potential buyer is,” explains the young consultant. Then I escort them to a quiet, casual area where we can talk. I set up what feels like an interview to understand who this customer is and what vehicle might exactly meet their needs.”
With the digital tablet, confirms Mills Walder, you can ask for details about the potential customer, like their contact information, but also the type of vehicle they are looking for. “We can also find them on the dealer’s platform and see where they were in their research. All of this information will be very useful for follow-ups.”
Guzman says accompanying a potential customer with a digital tablet adds value to the experience. “I have access at my fingertips to all the answers to any questions he may have. In addition, if the model he wants, with the preferred colour and accessories, is not in stock, I can offer him a virtual tour and show him exactly what his next car will be like. Only at the conclusion of this discussion will I offer a test drive. The F&I won’t come until after, when the customer will have been largely hooked.”
With a degree in psychology, Ms. Guzman puts a lot of emphasis on developing trusting relationships. “Buying a new vehicle can be a stressful process,” she explains, “especially if the customer has had bad experiences. With my tablet, I can accompany him all the way and stay with him constantly. We need to create relations. I talk to him about my role or the history of our company, which is well established in the community. I will leave him alone only towards the end, to consult my director in the final negotiation. And I can even send him a message with my tablet so that he will naturally come and join me.
“The customer has to feel listened to, so I take the time to really understand their needs. If the purchase is urgent, I can even guide them to pre-owned vehicles that we have in stock immediately. It’s all about understanding what they want before they even go to see the cars.”
A practice adopted by all
The consultant explains that it took her about two weeks to break in this digital approach. This caused some discussion among the sales team, but today, all sales reps work with a digital tablet and couldn’t live without it. “It’s a natural extension of the online experience,” says Mills Walden. People who walk through the door of a car dealership want transparency and quick answers. On the other hand, they understand, as with other online purchases, that especially in today’s environment, delivery can take time.
“By having the model you want and all the information related to its purchase in front of you, they are more understanding and much more patient. I see that more and more dealerships are adopting new communication tools and Mrs. Guzman’s example speaks for itself. We have to adapt to the new ways consumers store. Customers today can buy their cars wherever they want, so it’s important for the dealership to stand out by adding something extra to the customer experience.”
For Guzman, the important thing is that the customer leaves with a smile. “It may sound like a commonplace, but this customer, who I’ve been with since he joined us, needs to become an ambassador for the brand, but also for our company. And I want him to think of us when it comes time to replace what we sold him a few years earlier.”