A Deeper Dive into Digital Dealer 20: Questions from the Workshop

After the lights went down and all the conference sessions and sidebars were through, one fact stood out as the most compelling reason why the way cars are sold is changing – and why the speakers and attendees during last month’s Digital Dealer 20 were talking about it non-stop:

Only 17 out of 4,002 people like the way you sell your cars.

That just about covers it. Less than half a percentage point of shoppers surveyed for AutoTrader’s landmark 2015 Car Buyer of the Future Study don’t want things to change. So it’s fair to say that your future as a successful dealership depends on your ability to adapt to the winds of transformation taking place. That’s why our own Ali Mendiola from Dealertrack and Mike Burgiss from MakeMyDeal spoke to packed rooms at the conference, and why they created conversation that continued long after the presentations were done. Change is already here, and moving fast. The question is whether you’re driving it at your dealership – or driving your customers to the store down the street. Judging from the questions and conversation around our Digital Retailing workshops, most of the dealership managers were well on their way to adopting a proper online to in-store sales process. The focus seemed to be more on the transition between the two “storefronts” and less on whether or not to implement the technology. To that end, we captured a few common questions posed to Ali and Mike at the conference, and thought we’d share their insights:

Question: I understand how using digital tools in the showroom can help with conversion. But which are best? Flat screens, computer workstations, touch screens, tablets, or something else?

A: Much of that depends on the build of your store. But consider this: According to JD Power and Associates, dealerships that use in-store tablets score 54 percent on SSI than those that don’t use the technology. The idea is to use technology to create a dynamic and personal connection with the consumer, to keep them engaged and manage the transition to the showroom experience.

Question:  What’s the best way to set up a process for routing and scoring digital retailing leads? 

A: Find a way that best suits your showroom workflow, but make sure that the process puts an emphasis on speed, efficiency, team collaboration and communication.

Question: How do I remove potential roadblocks ahead of time and ensure that I do not derail the sales process?  

A: Be sure to review the data available on the credit application to determine the conversation that will happen when the buyer sets an appointment or walks in. Study the information received in the lead (vehicle of interest, credit qualifications), know what steps the shopper completed online, and prioritize leads accordingly. Make sure you acknowledge the work your shopper has done online, and show them that you already know what they’re interested in. And most of all, only ask for the information you need: nothing irritates a shopper more than being asked for information he already provided. Nobody wants to waste time.