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How to Beat the “Pushy Car Salesman” Stereotype with Digital Retail

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Aaron Schinke is the director of product management for DealerSocket.

We’ve all heard the joke: Someone would rather go to the dentist than the dealership. It’s a sentiment as old as time; consumers are apprehensive about the car buying experience. Indeed, salespeople in any industry are usually met with skepticism. “The sales process is long, exhausting and much of it takes place behind closed doors — they’re trying to get one over on me!” is the thinking. This image of the pushy, duplicitous, selfish salesperson persists because of the very adversarial nature of the sale, in which consumers try to make the most favorable purchase possible. The “pushy car salesman” archetype prevalent in movies and television doesn’t do us any favors, either

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According to our research, distrust toward salespeople is the No. 1 reason customers dislike the sales process. Additionally, a study by Fair. com (formerly Beepi) states that 61 percent of customers surveyed felt like they were taken advantage of at some point at the dealership.

It’s possible for dealers to influence and eradicate the negative perception of salespeople and dealerships. To do so, they must make the sales process more transparent by putting the decision back in the customer’s hands.

Dealerships are no different from any other sales-oriented business. The fundamentals of customer service apply. Technology can make it easier.

A digital retail tool that provides cost transparency is key to improving the dealership experience and winning customer trust.

Putting Trust Back in the Sale 

Digital retail tools have been around for years. Unfortunately, many of these tools have worsened transparency at the dealership by corroding trust through cost inaccuracies and pooled, generalized data. These solutions provide customers with a rough estimate of costs, but they often are surprised by the actual cost after taxes, fees and service agreements are tacked on at the store.

Advanced digital retail tools are now available that provide transparency through true pricing, saving customers any surprises from the dealership Website. Such products present a true cost calculation that benefits both customer and dealer.

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Transparent digital retail tools allow the customer to:

  • Structure an accurate deal online, including the dealership’s exact taxes, fees, add-ons and incentives
  • Easily understand “added” or “hidden” costs, with no surprises
  • Take advantage of quicker negotiation times at the store by automatically teeing up deal structures at the dealership via CRM integration
  • Navigate a unique Web experience that conforms to the layout and branding of the dealership website
  • Enjoy a seamless and simple online-to-store experience

The dealership benefits as well, allowing it to:

  • Set the value of trade-ins and accurately price inventory
  • Automatically receive customer information, preferences and cost structure (not just glorified leads) viaCRM integration
  • Improve the desking process by aligning customer and dealer expectations
  • Deter customers from shopping around a pool of competitive data and pricing like some third-party apps      • Help win the sale by providing current incentive offers online during price structuring

Many third-party digital retail tools do not offer the branded, accurate data and/or seamless CRM integration along with the other benefits mentioned above. Make sure the system you select offers full integration, time savings and a mutually beneficial digital retail experience.

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Digital retail opens the door of trust through cost transparency and an improved digital-to-store experience. It’s not just a stepping-stone toward full online vehicle purchasing — it is a fantastic option for dealers who want to flip the negative perception they have been fighting for years.

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