Our Dealer Panel gives voice to dealers, GMs and sales professionals to share their experiences — sales techniques, new technology and ways to motivate staff — giving our readers the benefit of learning from their peers.
Question of the Month
WHAT’S ONE RESOLUTION OR UPGRADE YOU’LL BE MAKING TO THE DEALERSHIP THIS YEAR?
Robert Avison, Executive Manager, INFINITI of Coral Gables
At INFINITI of Coral Gables, we have always embraced the philosophy that the overall experience is the primary factor that today’s customer forms their purchasing decision upon. In fact, customers will visit only 1.4 dealers before making a vehicle purchase. The vast majority of their research is being performed online and in the comfort of their own home. This dictates that when they get to the physical showroom, the transaction is now secondary, and the consumer is looking for an exceptional purchasing experience. Therefore, providing a world-class experience that creates long-lasting memories is our number-one priority.
Over the course of 2018, however, we saw another disruption in the conventional brick-and-mortar dealership experience. That disruption being that more and more of our customers are opting for a virtual experience; completing their entire new or pre-owned purchase online and having their vehicle delivered to their home or office. We know, and certainly understand, that this is a firm direction our business is moving.
Our resolution for 2019 is to take the virtual experience to another level, whereas we can provide the same world-class memorable dealership experience seamlessly in the customer’s home or office. We have fully committed to a virtual sales team that can facilitate an entire purchasing process from initial greeting and demonstration, to F&I along with delivery through virtual requests. Our INFINITI Concierge program will take the virtual purchasing experience to the world-class stage.
To continuously perpetuate your success in the automotive retail industry, you must be committed and willing to adapt to the changing expectations and needs of today’s consumer. We should never expect customers to conform to the way we want to do business, and we must progressively shift with the way they want to interact. We have listened to the voice of our customer, and we look forward to the synergetic online experience that INFINITI Concierge will provide.
Ken Shreve, President, Hamilton Hyundai
Our dealership has begun upgrading our sales process for 2019 by putting tablets in the hands of the salespeople so they have the ability to facilitate our sales process in a more professional manner. Information is power and our sales team needs to have all vehicle and related sales information at their fingertips ready to share with the customer — right when the question comes up, and wherever the customer or salesperson happens to be.
The goal we have is to eliminate our desktop computers and replace them with a tablet as our main prospecting, sales and follow-up tool. The tablet provides the salesperson a quick, easy and mobile way to share text, picture and video information with prospects and customers — a modern tool to help them prospect, sell and follow-up. Salesperson daily activity via the tablet is to be integrated with and tracked by the dealership CRM tool so the sales managers can stay on top of their efforts to set appointments from phone and internet leads and to follow-up on all unsold showroom traffic.
Chris Lee, COO, McCarthy Auto Group
We are very excited to have opened up our Chevrolet Medium-Duty Truck Center in January 2019. The service portion of the facility includes a total of 12 additional bays, bringing our total to 31. We built the new service facility with the capability of servicing the largest trucks on the road, giving us the opportunity to serve customers we otherwise wouldn’t have been able to help. We have one 50,000-pound lift, one 25,000-pound lift, two 18,000-pound lifts, and most importantly, the right master technicians to get the work done. Additionally, as we out grew our current space, the new facility will provide 150 additional parking spaces to display inventory.
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