Technology in the Automotive Industry: Empowering, Not Replacing

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Anyone working in any capacity at a dealership over the past 20 years has either said or heard the phrase, “Just get them in!”

A customer asks a salesperson for more information. The salesperson isn't equipped to provide that information. So, they go to their manager, who responds, "Just get them in!"

This mentality might have made more sense during the technological dark ages when the phone and dealer advertisements were the only ways that a customer could interact with a dealership without physically being there. 

Nowadays, however, it's important to consider a customer's access to information when developing a lead management strategy. If a customer asks a salesperson or BDC agent for an idea of what their trade is worth via phone or internet, you can no longer tell them, “You gotta just come in.” There's a trade evaluation tool on every single one of your vehicle detail pages and a call-to-action for them to get that information on the home page of your website. So, the salesperson sounds ridiculous by not being able to give the same information to the customer over the phone or in an email.

You easily risk losing business because a salesperson may seem unwilling to help. 

If your dealership thought it was valuable enough to offer this information without any contact whatsoever through a visit to your website, doesn’t it seem a little ridiculous not to allow your salespeople or BDC agents to provide the same information that you are most likely paying a third-party company to give the customer just for a lead? Doesn’t it seem like it would be more productive to give the customer the information while they are on the phone with and/or engaging with you?

There is too much fear of technology in the automotive industry replacing people. Managers insist salespeople “do their job” while making it impossible. They tell their salespeople and BDC agents not to discuss numbers or final pricing with customers who are not at the dealership because they think giving the customer information will make that customer less likely to visit — even though the most basic research into the vehicle purchase journey says the exact opposite.

Information doesn't scare customers away. Rather, being evasive and secretive about information does. 

The fear that technology in automotive is coming to replace humans has been looming since the earliest days of its existence and use in sales. There was a time when the phone was considered a threat to automotive sales, and now sales professionals realize it's a very powerful sales tool.

person holding iphone

Just when everyone was getting comfortable with the phone, the internet came along. Once again, dealers went on the defense and feared they would be replaced by a website, and that email was going to be the death of automotive sales. 

As years have passed, dealers have learned how to use the internet to drive traffic onto the showroom floor... and along comes digital retail. Suddenly, customers are no longer satisfied with viewing vehicles online and talking with salespeople via phone or email. Now, they actually want to complete purchase steps online. 

Once again, sales managers fear technology for the automotive industry has come to replace them, when throughout history, every time a new piece of technology is added to the customer shopping or purchase process, it ends up being something that helps dealers sell more, not less.

Expecting salespeople and business development agents to “just get ‘em in” now requires that the information that they seek is provided to them with the tools and lead handling strategies that will do just that.

Technology isn't here to replace. It's here to compliment. Consumers want to complete some purchasing steps online or over the phone before a dealership visit to save themselves time, not to avoid people. About two-thirds of vehicle shoppers still want human interaction during their vehicle purchase journey. Buying a vehicle is still a "people business." 

There's a well-known quote that goes a little something like this: “If all you have is a hammer, everything else looks like a nail.” I would say turn that saying around into, “If you have a lot of nails, but nobody will let you use the hammer, you’ll never get anything accomplished.”

Rather than not letting salespeople use the hammers that you are paying for, why not let them use the hammer and build something with it?

Technology in automotive serves to empower salespeople, not replace them. And if a dealership is confident enough to provide a customer the ability to access the information that they are looking for right on their website, why should sales managers prevent their salespeople from also using it to provide a customer information? 

Whether the customer is internet-savvy or not is irrelevant. Empowering the person who is communicating with your potential customer in a way that engages them and builds rapport through answering their questions and providing information is only going to get them in faster.

And that is the exact thing that everyone in car sales has always wanted.

Curious about how Quotible is changing the automotive industry? Request a demo today.

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