As e-commerce becomes the core of the car buying experience, dealerships have to figure out ways to stand out from the competition and continue to drive sales. Dealers must compete with not only other local dealers but those all over the country as consumers can compare inventory and prices – and even make a purchase – online.
Luckily, there are plenty of solutions available for any problem, including in-house sales consultants, auto dealer consultants, technology, and business development centers (BDCs).
What is a Sales Consultant at a Car Dealership?
Auto sales consultants are the in-house team members you meet on the floor when you’re buying a car. They communicate with potential customers and guide them through selecting a car, test driving, negotiating a price, and financing the purchase. In their spare time, they might make outbound prospecting calls to follow up on new leads or chat with loyal customers. Sales consultants are a vital part of increasing customer satisfaction.
What is an Auto Dealer Consultant
Sometimes, the term “auto dealer consultant” is used in the same context as sales consultant. But there are also automotive consulting firms that provide broader services. These are outside firms that a dealership would hire to help them fix areas of weakness within the business. This type of consultant might provide advice on:
- Marketing and sales strategy
- Social media campaigns
- Managing your brand reputation
- Optimizing your website for SEO and user experience
- Defining or redefining your dealership hierarchy
- Attracting and retaining talent
- Sales team performance and training
- Optimizing your business processes
- Inventory and lead management
- Customer engagement and loyalty
- Technology recommendations
Types of Auto Dealer Consultants
Auto dealer solutions aren’t one-size-fits-all, and neither are consultants, especially in the digital age. You’ll find a variety of services to suit any need.
In-person Auto Dealer Consultants
In-person automobile and truck dealer consultants come into your business and analyze your operations, then make recommendations for you to enact via training, new technology, or marketing. They’ll provide a roadmap, and if they don’t take care of the implementation of the plan, they’ll connect you with people who can.
Virtual Auto Dealer Consultants
Automotive consulting that takes place virtually is a relatively new business concept, with many startups getting into the game. They work similarly to an in-person consultant, but your appointments will take place online. They might also provide sales team training online. A virtual consultant can also refer to a service you might use, like a voice assistant or BDC.
At the most basic level, consulting can include automotive call centers. These centers take care of automotive sales consultant duties like booking appointments, test drives, and service calls, but won’t make outbound calls or provide additional services like BDCs. Many call service providers use automated systems to route customers to the right place and deal with the majority of their questions.
Benefits of Auto Dealer Consultants
In contrast to a sales consultant at a car dealership, the professionals working for dealer consulting services specialize in optimizing more than the sales process. They’re subject matter experts, armed not just with sales knowledge but with the technical know-how to analyze key data points and advise car dealers on strategy. They can take a look at your overall business, recognize what’s missing, and help you streamline your operations.
There’s an advantage to virtual auto dealer consultants in particular: convenience. You can engage their services from anywhere in the world without the time and expense of travel. Many will not only make recommendations, but can also provide the software and services you need to get your operations running smoothly, faster.
Should You Hire an Auto Dealer Consultant?
With so many options out there, many dealerships can benefit from some sort of automotive consulting. The key is to find the type that’s right for you.
First, sit down with your managers and take an inventory of your business to decide what services you need. If your sales are down among young people, you’ll want someone to advise you how to target them. If your software is outdated and leads are getting lost, you might want a service that specializes in technology. If you don’t know where to start, talk to an auto dealer consultant who can drill down and discover what you need.
Price is another consideration. Auto dealer solutions vary widely in their price points, depending on if you want a person to come in and advise you, or if you’re going to adopt their software. Analyzing what it will cost vs. your ROI is key. In addition to asking for direct pricing for various services, you can ask the consultancy to provide you with case studies to help you make a decision.
Sometimes, you don’t need a full-service, in-person auto dealer consultant – or it isn’t in the budget right now. If you’re looking for a solution that will support your sales and service teams when you need it, helping to increase close rate, appointment penetration rate, average dollar per RO, and more, while driving new efficiencies, look no further than Better Car People. We’re happy to answer all your questions.