It seems like everyone is ready to say goodbye to 2020 and looking for a new, stronger, more focused vision for 2021. This year, or the Corona-coaster as a friend calls it, has been a tough one to keep up with, but one that also taught us lessons that we may have missed otherwise in automotive. And while many of us were selling cars at about the same pace or better than last year, the WAY we sell and interact with the customers will forever be adjusted.
Here are the three biggest lessons I learned in 2020, and how I will use them to prepare for whatever 2021 brings.
Lesson 1: Curveballs Will Come in Automotive. Are You Ready?
This was the year that even the most seasoned GM, Sales Managers, and Service Managers had to learn to adapt and adopt to new selling strategies, new ways of communicating with customers, and creative service offerings. From making FaceTime a normal part of communicating with customers to sending videos of the customer’s car in the service bay, we have become even more agile, and more dependent on technologies that work.
2020 taught us that we need to get over the idea of “That is how it has always been done” and move towards “How does the customer want this done.” Here are some changes that many of our dealers have made to meet the customers where they are and provide the online offerings they desire:
- Pick Up and Drop Off in Service
- At Home/Off-Site Test Drives
- Digital Retailing Tools (BUT make sure to create videos walking customers through the experience)
- 1-to-1 video communication with the customers (both sales and service)
If you have not adopted these practices, or want some guidance with video (especially 1-to-1 communication), reach out to our team and we can give some assistance!
Lesson 2: The Customer’s Needs Come Before What You Are Used To
When I talk with dealers about adopting new technologies or truly having an organic presence on social media platforms, there are some who react enthusiastically, and some who tell me their customers will never interact with it. Their customers do not use their phones to shop or want ads on Facebook and Instagram. (This conversation happens at least a few times a month)
There are a few things we know for sure:
- Customers are searching online via their mobile phone
- Car buyers spend an average of nearly 14 hours online during their search. To appeal to the “always connected” shopper, you must optimize the car-shopping experience across all devices. (Source: Cox)
- 95% of vehicle buyers use digital as a source of information.(Google)
- Watch time of “test drive” videos on YouTube has grown by more than 65% in the past 2 years. Car buyers are moving deeper into the purchasing process before they contact a dealership.(Source: Google)
We know that customers are increasingly asking for more information, more online options, and less time at the dealership. Are you accommodating them? 2021 will be the year of video and online retailing, and you can either lead the pack, or try and catch up.
Lesson 3: Just Because It’s Techy Does Not Mean It’s Right for You
There are many choices with the technology that has been created in automotive sales. Widgets for your website, solutions that make your website “stickier”... it can get overwhelming and frustrating. And many times, you are paying for multiple solutions that do the same or similar thing, because-- at the end of the day--there are too many choices and so many options.
Take a moment and complete this audit of your solutions. And then decide if they are truly right for you. Not every solution will work with your process and your people, and that is okay.
- What is the solution
- How does it help/expedite/create relationships for my customers?
- How much does it cost/ Can you attribute an ROI?
- Do I have another solution that overlaps with this?
You would be surprised at how many products you pay for that are duplicates of what you currently have. Take a moment and get things right before December ends, and you will set yourself up for a solid 2021.
And if you have questions on video, customer engagement, or any BDC needs (virtual BDC or on-site), reach out! At BCP, we live to help customers get it right in automotive--especially in customer engagement. And now is definitely the time to get customer engagement right!