by Joseph Little
Great Communicators Have Meaningful Conversations
Creating a culture of strong communication can make or break your dealership. And great communicators just seem to have a way with people. Strong leaders understand the importance of good communication for building strong partnerships and are able to authentically connect with customers. People gravitate toward people who are good communicators when it’s time to get information. Good communicators master the art of reading people, and understanding what’s driving their interaction.
Meaningful Conversations Matter
Today’s consumers and employees crave communication and are looking for meaningful interactions in the marketplace. According to Mashable, 83% of people do online research before buying a car, with 81% of consumers being less likely to purchase from an aggressive salesperson. We’ve all learned authenticity is key when connecting with individuals in today’s fast-paced world, so how do you help your sales professionals convey authenticity? By mastering key components of great communication, you’ll be better equipped to share the truest version of your dealership and, in turn, demonstrate to your employees the best way to connect with consumers.
There are multiple frustrations on the consumer side when it comes to the car-buying process. As a professional in the automotive industry, this probably isn’t surprising to you, but improving communication is a good first step in creating a better customer experience. Great leaders take the initiative to help employees improve communication in order to develop relationships with shoppers. Improved communication means improved customer experience, and its the only way to earn customer loyalty and trust.
Here are a few objections consumers have when it comes to car shopping:
Salespeople are pushy. What if salespeople didn’t have to be pushy? With the technology available to your team today, sales professionals have the benefit of knowing exactly which customers are serious shoppers and which ones are ready to buy. By strategically communicating with in-market consumers, your salespeople can ease up on that pushy feeling consumers tend to shy away from.
The process is too time-consuming. It’s true that car-buying is a lengthy process; after all, it’s a substantial purchase. Consider ways your dealership can shorten the process or make it more comfortable for buyers. For example, what if you could begin the vehicle get-ready process while customers were signing paperwork to shorten the wait time? Or what if you offered a comfortable waiting area with free wifi to make the wait time seem more bearable?
The financing process is confusing. Unless your customers are finance pros, this is indeed a confusing process, so the better your finance professionals are about communicating the various steps and paperwork, the more comfortable your customers will be. Work with your team and continually train to offer customers the best possible experience. Avoid jargon, and teach them to communicate in consumer-friendly terms and answer questions along the way. Your customers will appreciate this and show their loyalty by coming back to your dealership.
It’s difficult to find the right car. There are a lot of choices on the market, and 48% of shoppers spend an average of 1-3 months shopping before making a decision. When buyers end up on your lot, facilitate the process for them by being transparent and communicating truthfully about price, fuel economy, and various features individual shoppers may be seeking. By providing the information shoppers are looking for, you’ll help them more quickly pinpoint the vehicle for them.
Price negotiations are stressful. Finances are stressful in almost any situation, so when it comes to one of the largest purchases people will likely make, the stress level is even greater. Do your best to truthfully and openly communicate your best price and avoid the stereotypical haggling that can drive consumers away.
How to Listen
It may seem simple, but for many, listening is a lost art—or a skill not yet mastered. Dr. Stephen Covey is well-known for having authored the book, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, and he asserted, “Most people do not listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the intent to reply.” In other words, people tend to jump ahead when they are listening, searching for a reply to the speaker.
When you actively listen, you are authentically engaged with your customers and employees, and respect what they have to say. Teach your sales professionals to focus this type of active listening toward their customers as they interact with them, paying close attention to what each shopper is looking for in a vehicle. By doing this, they’ll be more likely to guide shoppers toward a purchase that’s right for them, leading to more successful sales.
When your sales professionals demonstrate the skill it takes to actively listen and be an efficient communicator with customers, they’ll encounter more success and earn more consumer loyalty in the long run. Consumers are able to sense when salespeople are being genuine and sharing authentic information with them, and they’ll gravitate toward dealerships they feel are best able to understand what they want and provide viable solutions that meet their needs. All of this leads to a healthier bottom line and more satisfied employees—and that’s something that will lead to a healthy, thriving dealership.
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