Embracing Digital Technology at the Dealership

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As more purchasing options become available on the internet, customers tend to prefer conducting business this way, rather than the old school way. Time is money, and nobody wants to waste time.

As for me, if it makes my life easier, I am in. When I was sitting in the finance office and a new way to do paperwork was offered to us – I was all over it. Having an iPad to easily capture signatures and go over products, Yup. Not having to print out pages and pages of documents, Even better. If it made my process faster and smoother, fabulous. This meant I got to spend more time interacting with my customer and building a rapport with them.

Unfortunately, the corona virus has paralyzed most of us and the ability to sit with the customer and have an in-person conversation. As stated in my previous article, a lot of sales are now done remotely and/or virtually which puts sales and finance in a more unfamiliar situation to sell. Working a deal over the phone from soup to nuts is no longer part time for most, but now a necessity. Some dealers already practice this, while others do most of their negotiations and sales in person.

As for Finance Managers, selling product over the phone is not an easy task. Some may still have the ability to have that in person interaction, but many do not have the opportunity anymore. During this pandemic, we should see this as an opening to become more creative and think outside the box. The more you put yourself out there, the more successful you can be. One can take the easy way and have the documents printed to be sent out to sign; or, you can utilize technology that is available to become more hands on.

As Gerry Gould has stated before, the road to the sale has changed. Most customers are doing their research online and want the ability to do everything remotely if possible. We have so much technology available to us and although it may be uncomfortable to move away from the old school way of doing things, we must. Not because the pandemic has forced us to, but because this is where the future is headed. The availability to FaceTime, Skype, Zoom, Go to Meeting allows us to better connect with our customers today. These are the new ways of communication and will be even further applied down the road. The phone calls are getting old, heck most people prefer emails or texts over speaking on the phone. Isn’t it easier to connect with someone and do business when you can put a name to a face? To see their body language.

Whether you are in the position of sales or finance, wouldn’t it be a great idea to send your customer a short video of the vehicle they are considering, send a video of you explaining the features of the car, the VSC, the tire/wheel product, whichever it may be. If being together is not an option, this is probably the next best thing. Interaction via digital technology. Not only does it give you that collaboration, it would build rapport and trust, which is now more important than ever.

This is the time to start using the tools available to us and get comfortable with it. The world is changing. There will be the new normal. As the world opens back up, there will be many customers who will prefer to do business this way and it if you don’t embrace it, you will fall behind.

Author: Christine P.
Date: May 25, 2020