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Debate: Are customers still intimidated at the Dealership?

Discussion in 'Off Topic & Everything Else' started by john.quinn, Jan 11, 2019.

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  1. john.quinn

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    Hi Diana -- thanks for posting!

    I like that word -- "pressure" -- and agree with your sentiment 100%. Taken a step further, the "pressure" salespeople would apply lead to the fear/intimidation factor which sparked my original question (and reminds me of a "back-in-the-day" story I'll have to pen for our DR audience here in the near future...).

    But I want to be clearer about my question -- maybe ask it this way: is there still "pressure?" More precisely, WHY would there still be pressure?

    My experience is that pressure was applied "back in the day" because most people at the dealership were not there to BUY -- they were there to browse, shop, peruse, etc. There was no internet -- the only way to get answers to questions about these cars was to call or stop-by. So a sales process -- like APB -- was established as a means of building value in an effort to lead up to a single question: "Why not now?"

    "Pressure" was applied to turn "Shoppers" into "Buyers" now when the reality was that 8 out of the 10 people with whom you engaged had no intention of signing that day.

    Please correct me if I'm wrong -- today, 8 out of 10 (conservatively) do their information gathering and "shopping" before ever setting foot in the dealership. And most are only visiting one dealership. In other words, when customers are in the store, aren't they there to buy? If this argument is valid, then where's the pressure?

    I also want to be clear that I'm not referencing the "hassle" and overall poor experience with which customers routinely struggle and which they disdain. We live in the "Speak in the Clown's Face" culture, and any transaction taking longer than 5 minutes is unacceptable, not just automotive.

    Above, Heather mentions "Trust." I think Heather's question is on-point: trust is key. But I'm thinking for the most part, some level of relationship is established prior to a customer's visit -- for MOST customers.

    Back to the original question: What's there to be afraid of? We know taxes, suck, but we still do them every year. But there's no fear of doing them.
     
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  3. Diana Eidson

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    Hi John, so here is my take on "pressure" first and foremost there is undoubtedly a stigma associated with car salespeople , I think we can all agree, it has been there for years. With that being said, we have enabled the consumer with the option to ditch the dealership and shop online. Which is not a bad thing, because that just means we are learning about the consumer and adapting.

    On the other hand, from a consumers point of view, and unfortunately from past experiences, even with this option, transparency is still an issue. That's where the trust factor comes into play. So here you have a consumer who has shopped online, has all their numbers put together from the information they retrieved from your website, they get down to the dealership and still have a hard time.

    One priced stores are more common but whether or not that addresses the main issue, I can't say I agree. We have taught our customers that there is always negotiating room. It's a learned habit.

    Adapting to the way our customers want to buy is really the only way I see change happening. There is a lot more to it I'm sure. But in the end we created a monster.
     
  4. john.quinn

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    BINGO!

    I'll put my psychologist hat on, and speak in technical terms: It's the Fear of Bullshit. Anyway, I think that's the technical term...

    I clearly recall several conversations with dealers over the years centering on the absolute worst thing they could say to a customer:

    "Oh, you have a trade?"

    This is after the customer has sent multiple KBB leads and filled-out the trade form on the dealer's website.

    At that moment, after recovering their jaw from the floor, the customer realizes that everything they have done was all B.S. (which in general is not optimal for relationship-building).

    It's the same for options they chose for the car they want, payments they figured-out, that promise that it would be less than an hour....

    Fear of BS. Absolutely valid.
     
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  5. Heather MacKinnon

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    I think the "fear of BS" captures the consumer's negative perception in a nutshell....it's fear of BS, fear of the runaround, fear of being deceived, fear of having their time wasted, maybe even fear of the unknown. Unfortunately, there are many dealers and salespeople that do not subscribe to negative sales tactics and are indeed enjoyable to work with but the negative stigma on the industry as whole impacts all dealers. Might be a silly question here...but do you believe if the consumer genuinely likes the sales person they work with, is comfortable with them, maybe has a few things in common with them or can relate to them, does that impact the experience the consumer has? Does it make it better? I ask this because I believe in most cases, the consumer enters the experience not really knowing WHO they will work with and that unknown contributes to that fear. Just a thought...
     
  6. john.quinn

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    Oh my goodness yes. After a few years on the floor, while I did still take ups, most of my sales were repeat business. Not having to break that ice/already having a good level of rapport is actually what made sales enjoyable (not to mention much easier).

    Another nail to drive into the concept... customer walks through the door, "Hi -- I'm here to see Joe."

    "I'm sorry, Joe doesn't work here any longer."

    Watch the customer's face droop and his his/her entire body deflate.

    That's one thing on which both salespeople and customers agree: they'd rather work with people they know.
     
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  7. Alexander Lau

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    I thought DealerRater was supposed to be a change maker, disrupting the machismo culture that exists? No... or is it still the soft extortion model?
     
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  8. Heather MacKinnon

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    I believe DealerRater certainly helped to establish change especially back in the earlier days when dealers were first to market building online reviews and leveraging them as a competitive edge...those reviews and the quest to be the highest rated dealer or salesperson in the market, state or even country also helped to change or improve the behaviors at the dealership and this happened naturally through the review building process. It's hard to ask for a positive review if you treated the consumer poorly. I believe the problem today is that there is little to no competitive edge with online dealer reviews, particularly on DealerRater. When every dealer or salesperson has a 4.9 and hundreds of reviews, what the differentiator? As far as you calling it extortion...almost every site offering products, services and info today provide online consumer reviews so no..not soft extortion just the evolution of the web. I know sometimes change is hard ;0
     
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  9. Alexander Lau

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    Exactly my point. If it's pay to play within their model (and it is, been deep in that puddle), how does that effect change? Like you have wisely (IMO) said, "When every dealer or salesperson has a 4.9 and hundreds of reviews, what the differentiator?" I'll disagree with the part on extortion, it's always been soft extortion. Pay us or you're f*cked with negatives.

    :dunno:
     
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  10. john.quinn

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    It's probably another thread topic, but I'm wondering about the trust-factor of reviews in general, not just automotive. Perhaps that's a new SAAS vendor opportunity: flush-out the BS reviews and surface the relevant, if any actually exist.

    I may be a little jaded after having recently been jilted on Amazon -- luckily, it was just an $11 cookbook -- but had I taken 15 minutes and found the pattern of reviews that proved and provided relevance among the hundreds of obvious fake reviews (like I did when I later became suspect), I'd have saved $11 plus a few ruined meals in our new Instant Pot :egads:
     
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  11. Alexander Lau

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    There are plenty of rival sites, DR has become the most popular (until someone knocks them off). Cars.com owns them, so we'll see where that all goes, they have a match under their asses now: https://forum.dealerrefresh.com/threads/cars-com-is-being-told-to-profit-or-sell.6100/ (profit or you're all gone) and we all know that CarGurus caught Cars and Autotrader sleeping on the organic level and are eating their lunch. If someone were smart enough to pull an aggregate from all auto review sites, as per their business model, I'd think it smart. However, when the reviews are dynamic and a dealer can pay to fix them, what's the point?

    SureCritic Auto
    https://www.surecritic.com/

    Car Dealer Reviews and Dealership Ratings

    https://www.cars.com/dealers/reviews

    Dealer Ratings and Reviews
    https://www.edmunds.com/dealer-reviews/

    About Dealer Reviews - CarGurus
    https://www.cargurus.com/Cars/AboutDealerReviews.html


    etc.
     
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    #20 Alexander Lau, Jan 24, 2019
    Last edited: Jan 24, 2019

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