I pulled up in front of an office building in a 2003 Toyota Camry XLE V6 right on time. Just an hour earlier, I had spoken with the Internet customer that said he didn’t have the time to come in and test drive. I took it upon myself to save him time, and I was bringing the vehicle to him. Out walked a mid-30’s man in a white shirt and striped tie, accompanied by two other coworkers. I knew I had sold the car before I shook his hand.
The first of his friends said “So… you’re finally getting rid of that piece of crap you’ve been driving.” The other chimed in, “It’s about time. Pretty sweet ride. Hope you can afford it.” Corporate America busts chops just like we do in the car business. Without seeming presumptuous, there was no way this guy wasn’t going to buy this car. Not after the verbal abuse from his friends. He showed up that night after work and purchased the very same car. This may have been inevitable, but I knew I did myself a favor by being proactive and bringing the vehicle to him.
To be successful in sales, we need to take our business over the curb. If the Internet has taught us anything over the last decade, it’s that consumers are visiting less dealerships than ever before and only showing up when they’re good and ready. Time is a commodity and there is no use stepping foot onto a showroom floor until they’ve made up their mind. They prefer to bask in the glow of a computer monitor or the blue light from a mobile device than to tan under the halogen lights of our dealerships. So we need to do business (and offer to do business) where they are most comfortable.
Bringing a vehicle to someone’s home or work is certainly not a novel concept. It isn’t new or revolutionary. Yet, we don’t do this near enough. Bringing a vehicle to them, to experience it on their own terms, is often a deciding factor what they choose, who they choose to do business with, and when they choose to do it. Quite frequently, just the OFFER to bring a vehicle is all the shopper needs to hear when deciding who is worthy of earning their business.
Tesla has shown us that consumers don’t mind an entirely digital transaction. Bringing a vehicle to a home is just a first step to over-the-curb selling. Your dealership needs to be fully capable (and promoting) over-the-curb shipping. Paperwork can be electronic, signatures can be scanned, and money can be instantly transferred.
The only reason I purchased my own vehicle from the individual I did was because he allowed me to bring the SUV to my home. My kids spent 20 minutes crawling around inside. My wife sat in its seat and played with its features. My family essentially gave me their seal of approval on the spot. (I couldn’t have brought them into the store conveniently so I brought the store to them.) I felt indebted (some could say, obligated) to purchase from this salesperson and dealership. It was my idea to drive the car home, not theirs, but they allowed it.
You need to actively promote doing business over the curb. Take the experience off of your lot and put it in the friendly confines of the client’s home. Bring your work to the shopper’s work, and see if their peers can help influence their buying decision. A new car always looks nicer than their used one. Do business outside of the lot, and beyond the confines of your rooftop. Make transactions digital and then personal. You just might find it to be a simpler process for everyone involved.