(In case you missed it, check out Part 1)
Customers are…wait for it…real live human beings. They are not rational hypothetical situations we’re often presented with in training sessions. They will buy a car because of a particular color. They will give you a low CSI mark for a wrinkled shirt. They will walk out over a dime. And, the silent majority will never talk to you again, even if you did everything by the book. Loyalty isn’t their initial concern.
Why? Because, like the customer, you get caught up in the moment. Both parties are so focused on the ballet of making a transaction, they forget about the future consequences of those actions. Burying negative equity in an 84 month loan seemed like a good idea at the time. Then a couple of years later, the customers’ family grew by two kids, and that seemingly good idea of purchasing a Dodge Dart doesn’t make much sense anymore. Do they blame themselves? We know that answer to that.
The traditional road to the sale is ME-centric. It what’s best for the dealership at that moment in time. It forces the customer to reiterate what they’ve already told us. They’ve already gathered the facts. It forces the customer to wade through cars when they’ve already picked one out on your website. It subjects them to a monologue about product minutia that they’ve already read online (it’s likely they know more about the vehicle because they’ve spent more time researching it; they only have to memorize data on a couple cars). It gets them set on a car long before a trade enters the equation. It subjects them to the seemingly endless back and forth of several people. It creates a relationship based on dominance and submission. Ask a married man, and he’ll tell you Fifty Shades of Grey isn’t real life.
DealerKnows is digitally native, where some are digitally naive.
The Road to Loyalty is WE-centric. As any non-salesperson would agree, real humans have real goals. They have a budget for a car in which THEY determine is realistic. They may make a decision solely and only based on what their trade is worth at any given time. The right vehicle is the right vehicle for them, and they’ll wait unless they’re given an irrefutable argument. Being sold something is loss. Buying something is a victory. These victories add up to a mutually equitable partnership, thus leading to loyalty.
Assessing goals runs lateral to the customer’s own research. Before we walk the lot, start talking payments, etc, it’s mission critical to gather details about what the customer already knows. According to Google’s legendary ZMOT study, a customer considers 18.2 sources of information before making a purchasing decision (revised to 24 touchpoints, 19 digital). Further Google studies have indicated that 69% of customers were influenced by YouTube, with 56% of shoppers only test driving one vehicle or less. Features, test drives, and walk-around video viewership have increased two-fold in the last year. Regardless of the amount, those sites they’ve visited, people they’ve talked to, cars they’ve test driven, what reviews they’ve read…all of these things help them determine what they want to accomplish.
The sum of all their research will define their goals, and what they’re willing to compromise on in order to achieve them.
Every customer has a goal. Many times they don’t even realize it. Sometimes, it’s a cash price. Other times, it’s a payment range. Still other times, it could be simply feeling like they won a battle against another dealership. The best of those who stand to benefit from a purchase understand how to help the customer discover that goal. Then, together they achieve it. That’s the first step of the Road to Loyalty.
Stay tuned for Part 3, where we’ll discuss Conditional Goals, and a little thing called compromise 🙂