Online Auto Buying - A Reason to Change.
By Shane S Edwards, New-Nissans.com
SEATTLE WASHINGTON - Someone once said that life and everything in it is always changing (evolving), and for those who refuse to change (evolve) with it, shall fall behind! Before gas powered cars there was a horse buggy salesman. Before planes there were train manufactures. Will dealers one day say, “Before Internet there were ignorant consumers?”
How many of you have recently driven into your local dealership?
Most dread this experience; the sight of a circle of suit and tie salesmen puffing on their cigarettes, most looking very similar to the lonely guy sitting at the corner of the bar swigging down a glass of whisky. One will begin to approach your car just as you pull into the lot. If you weren’t at a dealership you might think that you were about to be car jacked. Poised and armed with your arsenal of information and prior research, you bravely park your car, normally as being directed by this sales guy as he hacks and points. After taking a deep breath, you exit your car and then in an instant this shady sales guy after wiping his hand off on his trench coat reaches out to you and says, “Welcome to Something Nissan, my name is Butch and yours?”
This sales guy has begun his quest to take control, control of you. It is what he has spent years of perfecting through countless hours of training, studying, practicing, drilling, and rehearsing and through years of trials and errors. The sales guy may look like a loser who barely makes a living, but don’t be fooled, he is accustom to winning and winning big. He is a master at his craft. His approach where disturbing is what has allowed him to make it big, often earning around $150,000 a year. Though this guy often coughs because of all the cigarettes he has smoked, dresses like Colombo, speaks with a deep raspy voice and smells like an ash tray, this guy is a Pro! This sales guy answers every one of your questions with another question. He avoids price and seems to always direct you in a direction different from where you want to go. He always is asking you to buy and has plenty of reasons for it.
Replace that type of guy with the next most dreaded sales guy, is the “high roller;” a walking bill board for Nieman Markus wearing a Rolex watch, gold bracelet, a few gold diamond rings in an Armani suite, Versace shoes and Gucci shades. Where these two types of sales guys are a dying breed, the stereotyping continues to fervor. Both of these types of salesmen are the commonly identifiable stereotypical sales guys in the retail automotive industry.
Then God said let there be Internet, and Internet was born. Around the mid nineties the Internet was barely having an impact in the retail auto sales market place. Most didn’t even know about it let alone ever hear about it. People then still walked around car lots armed with an annual Buyers Guide or Consumer Reports magazine. Invoice as a common term was not yet common.
So much has changed in this market place, the auto industry and the products themselves in such a short 10 years span. Technology and the Internet have forever changed the dynamics of buying and selling automobiles. How consumers shop and how dealers market and how sales guys operate.
What do consumers want?
Well of course they want the most automobile for the least amount of money, right? Some are willing to invest hours, days, weeks and months researching and visiting every auto dealer they can think of before they purchase. Yet others want to get through the shop and purchase process as quickly and effortlessly as possible. For both of these consumers the Internet is where more and more are turning to for their shopping and buying. For most every type of consumer buying an automobile, the Internet has better assisted the consumer in achieving their goals.
So what about the auto dealer? Has the Internet better assisted the dealer in achieving their goals?
Though not a scientifically studied percentage, rather a carefully assumed percentage, based on my entire inside experience and knowledge; I would say that for 95% to 98% of all auto dealers, the Internet has made their goals much more challenging to achieve. For the small percentage remaining, these dealers have seen huge success.
So why is that? Why when so many consumers are winning online, are so many dealers losing online?
Simply put, it is because of the years and years of doing things their way. Most still refuse to believe that the average consumer is well informed and can easily and effortlessly obtain a bottom line price near or even below Invoice. They believe there are so few that can that they refuse to embrace those who can. They have stubbornly stuck to the antiquated, old school paradigm of selling cars. They continue to handle an email like an incoming phone prospect and not as an Internet based opportunity. “Get the prospect into the dealership, don’t commit and give all the information to them, because then the prospect won’t have any reason to come into our dealership!” It’s something that I’ve heard and said a thousand times over the years. Where that worked effectively with incoming phone prospects before the evolution of online shopping, it will not work online today. Today most dealers still continue to use the old school sales tactics of the past on today’s online consumer. As Internet and the consumer market place continue to evolve, it will only get more difficult for these old fashion and outdated dealers to achieve their goals. The Internet and the plethora of available online consumer information and resources are reshaping the battle field between the dealer and consumer. Consumers' knowledge and negotiating power have become greater with the ability to share ideas and buying experiences in real time online with other consumers on the many Forum Based web sites. The ability to get straight forward, rock bottom pricing from the comfort of their living room is no longer a phenomena, rather it is becoming the standard. For those dealers who refuse to change and continue to fight the online evolution will in the end fall behind and inevitably fail.
Resistance is futile.