T H E C A R M A V E N
© COPYRIGHT 2020. The Car Maven
So Valentines Day is over. And you may be thinking after reading the headline, "You bet, we could use a lot more love in the automotive shopping and buying process....why does it have to be so difficult? " Well, the subject of this blog is how YOU, the consumer, can use this well-known aspect of human kindness to advantage yourself in the process of shopping for, buying, and also servicing your vehicle.
Here is where it matters for you....
Manufacturers in many cases have franchise standards and best practices that they hold for their dealers, in terms of internet lead management. This applies to how promptly they respond, the content of the responses, and the number of sales transactions that result from these internet inquiries (or leads, in industry lingo). So, you can use this as a negotiating tool with the dealer or dealers with whom you are working. Most automotive shoppers know the value of generating potential opportunities from multiple dealers. The way a particular dealer handles the initial communication with you can be a bargaining chip for you. Many franchises use this as a means to score their dealers on incentive programs and awards for overall sales process.
Upon the Initial Retail Visit:
Beginning with your visit to the dealer, you will be paired with a sales person. This may or may not be the same individual with whom you have been communicating via the internet. Know this: it is highly likely that part of their compensation is based on your experiences with them, and that they may even be receiving a bonus on certain steps they take you through. A very strong negotiating tactic can be in your favor when you let them know, early on, that you understand this. Without exception, they will work harder for you, and on your behalf, because they know you understand the importance of this. That survey score means EVERYTHING to them, and also to the management team at the store. In most cases this is part of an overall score for the dealership that can mean rankings and potentially a financial bonus for the dealership, as well. You, as the shopper, knowing and using this to your advantage, will inevitably generate more focus by the dealer team. You will be classified as an informed shopper, and they will work that much harder to gain your favor, AND your business.
In the Business Office:
This, by far, can become the most daunting of all of the steps in the process, though it doesn't have to be. The Business Manager (or otherwise known as the F&I, Finance and Insurance, Manager) is also being rated for how the process goes. In the industry, this step in the transaction is the single most controversial and potentially negative mark for a dealer. Be informed and stay confident knowing that you are buying a car or truck. You may or may not need or want any ancillary products or add-on's. You deserve to know what each and every item on the buyers order means. Read it thoroughly, and don't ever be shy or afraid to speak up. This is an area that most of The Car Maven's clients mention as a source of peace of mind by our services. Don't worry about becoming an expert, it's really quite similar to a real estate agent when buying a home. You know they only have your best interests in mind. We do, too.
In the Service Department during Maintenance Visits:
You will inevitably have been introduced to the Service Department when you purchase or lease your vehicle. This is important for 2 reasons; 1) the dealer wants you to come back and have your maintenance and service work performed there. Customers who have service performed at the dealer from whom they purchased/leased a vehicle are 7 times more likely to buy/lease their next vehicle from them. This is pretty pivotal. 2) They get a high mark on their report card for doing so. Manufacturers want you to have your vehicle serviced at a franchised dealer (not at an aftermarket location) because of the critical need to stay informed on needed vehicle updates and campaigns, but they, too, want to keep you in the family. One of the things you will find very quickly is that the experience you have with your Service Advisor (or Service Consultant or Service Writer) mysteriously feels like a sales pitch. What many don't know, is that these folks have compensation plans that are very similar to the salesperson that you worked with when you bought your vehicle. They are not only being rated and scored like the sales person, their compensation depends on what you buy. So, be aware of this and remain just as informed and conscientious of the impact of the score they will receive from your interaction. You can be sure that your acknowledgement of this to them will mark your place as one who is concerned about mutual benefit.
Kindness begets kindness. Just a little love and recognition towards how the world of auto sales & service works for the humans involved in selling & servicing your vehicle, will inevitably come back to you in terms of reward in the form of value. The dealer is being scored on many aspects of your experience; it can mean some significant financial gain OR loss to them, depending on how your experience goes.
The Car Maven