Shady, Lying Crooks: How Auto Buyers Feel about Dealers

September 17, 2015

Liars, Shady, Dishonest, Crooks! No, I'm not talking about our current political candidates; I'm talking about the perception of how customers feel about car dealerships. Now hold on, before you get angry with me, I'm just telling you one of the latest Gallup survey says 91% of people have absolutely no trust in the car buying process. People would rather have all of their wisdom teeth removed over buying the latest and greatest in the automotive industry. Think about the pleasure of having a drill, rubber mallet, and a suction hose in your mouth for about three hours or buying a car. What have we done? How have we gotten in this place?

Now sprinkle in that the number one driving force in the immediate future will be the mythical creature known as the millennial. See this creature doesn't have enough time to brew a cup of coffee, but would rather pay five bucks for it at the local coffee shop because it's the cool thing to do. They have no patience so companies like Amazon are now delivering things via drones so that they can get it faster. Here is the scariest part of this creature; it is highly educated and has a strong alliance with an even bigger monster named Google. Before visiting a dealership, consumers have more knowledge than most car dealers, thanks to the great Google. Once a millennial visits a dealership, they arrive in a suit of armor prepared to battle with their favorite weapon, the iPhone which is equipped with about 2,345 car apps, 17 competitor websites, and a link to the "car guy" in the family.

I am one of those millennials who researches things just to research because one day I might buy one. I'm one of those millennials that, instead of walking three feet to my thermostat, I would rather use my phone app. I think Starbucks is the best invention since the coffee bean, and I think Amazon is the answer to achieving world peace. I am an ultra-millennial!

Now I'm sure that you are reading this you're saying who is this guy and why does he think he can say these things about the sales process. A large portion of my professional automotive experience comes from working for the largest used car automotive retailer in the United States. While there, one of the things I learned was people would rather pay more than to go elsewhere. More times than not, the vehicle was priced more than the local guy across the street, or they had a better sales team. My mind would work overtime to try and figure out why a person knowingly would spend more elsewhere?

And then I finally figured out the answer.... Because it was easy! Easy meaning it's transparent, so I understand what it is I’m paying for.

Find a way to make it easier. Grosses aren't eroding on their own – we are eroding them by pushing sales through discounts. Figure out how to connect with customers so they don't feel that they are being ripped off.

One final secret about millennials – if they trust you, they will buy from you again. They want to be able to text you what they want and then just show up and sign their paperwork.

So now that I have told you the problem and given you the solution, how will you become better than my dentist?