Why is buying a car still so painful?
Wow! What an experience it is to buy a car! I have been in the automotive industry for over 30 years and just put myself through the car buying experience for the first time in recent years. After visiting several dealerships and working with quite a few sales consultants, I made some assumptions that I am quite sure many customers make:
They will do whatever it takes to get you in the door
When calling around to inquire about different vehicles advertised on line, most of the calls resulting in high pressure pitch to get you in the store. No wonder no one wants to give you their contact information…the salesperson called no less than 6 times in a matter of a few days to ensure we were still coming to look at the vehicle.
The price isn’t the really the price
Prices advertised on line is not really the price they want to sell the vehicle for. In most cases, when we arrived at the dealership the vehicle we came to see was no longer available so they tried to switch us to a different vehicle, which most times was more expensive.
When they don’t know they make something up
On more than one occasion when describing features or benefits of the vehicles we were looking up, the salesman gave false information, based on our current knowledge and experience with the same vehicle. It would have been so simple to have been transparent and tell us they would have to find out!
They don’t value your time
While visiting one dealership, we observed customers waiting, alone, in the customer lounge for F&I to come and get them. It is no wonder customers become disengaged in the process if they forced to wait for when it is convenient for the dealership to complete their paperwork and sell them additional stuff. Also, trying getting a “how long will this take” commitment from a salesperson!
No doesn’t mean no to the F&I manager
When the customer does not want to purchase additional products, why do they continue to ask? One F&I person explained that the customer has to say no 6 times before they can “let them off the hook”. How customer friendly is that!
Maybe dealership managers and employees should pay more attention to the unhappy customers and the comments they make. Maybe they could consider finding a more customer friendly process and people with customer friendly behavior!
Sheila Woolsey is an automotive sales and service operations expert who spends her time consulting and coaching in dealerships, and training in the classroom.