Tucked into the foothills of Maine’s western mountains, Farmington is a college town of nearly 8,000 that is known for its outdoor activities and attractions. It is also the home of Home Auto Group, owned by Joseph “Mac” MacConnell.
MacConnell grew up in South Jersey and in the car business. After a stint in the Navy and managing car dealerships both in the U.S. and abroad, as well as other business ventures, he came back to Farmington in 2017 and became a Ford dealer, adding a Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram franchise in 2019.
“Once it’s in your blood, it’s always in your blood,” MacConnell said about the car business. “And I’m proud to say that I’ve passed that gene on to my 27-year-old son who’s out in Colorado, successfully working in the automotive business as well.”
Taking care of customers is a common theme in this pandemic era, and while it poses challenges to most business, MacConnell said the biggest change Farmington has seen since the pandemic started is people in the small town are becoming more tech savvy and the dealership has been receiving more email leads than ever before.
Following up on these leads in a timely manner, helping customers find right vehicle and improving the buying experience has been made easier by Home Auto Group’s integration of GoGoCar software, which allows the customer to complete more of the car-buying process digitally before ever stepping foot in the store.
Many responsibilities that usually fall into the BDC’s department, such as answering questions about colors or inventory, can be conducted with artificial intelligence. Now customers are provided with an easy-to-navigate vehicle description page that has all the features, benefits and specifications of each vehicle, with the ability to compare models side by side.
“With GoGoCar, the customer chooses the vehicle, chooses their financing…they’re doing that all for us,” MacConnell said. “Once the sales professional reaches out, they can pick up exactly where a customer left off online. It really is a blessing. It gives our salespeople more information, which allows them to close faster and hold more gross because the customer is giving them all the information about what they want.
“And it’s giving our people the information they need to be the professional versus the salesperson, and it’s keeping the customer engaged in the process,” MacConnell continued.
“When people finally come into the showroom, they’re not coming in with their guard up; they’re coming in to take delivery of their vehicle. We’re hearing a lot them comment, ‘That was easy!’”