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The Sale is Yours to Lose: Embrace the Facts

Back in my agency days, I used to send key clients highlights of leading industry research that was relevant to their business.  They often didn’t have the time to stay on top of industry trends so the periodic email summaries were perfect.  Here are some highlights from the Ernst & Young report Automotive retail 2030: Evolution of dealerships and potential new roles in retail.  The main takeaway for me from a retail/sales lens is, The Sale is Yours to Lose if you don’t address some of the trends and realities cited.  The full report is available here.  Here are the highlights:

  • 2.1 – The average number of dealers a new car buyer visits
  • 70% – New car buyers who intend to buy from the dealer they first visit
  • 80% of customers buy from the first salesperson they come into contact with (in-person, online or on-call).
  • Meanwhile, reduction in the number of visits to dealerships has made the initial visit even more crucial while also increasing the prominence of sales personnel as most customers now visit the dealership only to close the vehicle purchase.
  • Sales representatives hold prominence for not only closing sales with willing customers but also persuading unwilling customers. As per our survey, lack of social skills in a salesperson is the biggest barrier to successful sales.
  • Dealership staff has a lasting impact on customers’ perception of the automotive OEM. Our survey suggests that the salesforce plays an important role not only in retaining the 70% of buyers who intend to buy at the first-visited dealership, but also in persuading the 30% of buyers who did not intend to buy in the first place. Therefore, it is imperative for the sales personnel to gain customers’ trust and manage their experience throughout the purchase journey.
  • New products and technologies require the upskilling of the existing salesforce and the introduction of new roles to augment customer experience throughout the purchase journey.
  • Data analytics can reduce such inefficiencies by driving fact-based decision-making. Analytics can support interventions across the customer life cycle. It will not only define and identify the potential of different customer segments, but also support acquisition of new customers, and improve customer experience and loyalty quotient.
  • These emerging trends are causing automotive retailers to rethink their current business models and undergo significant transformation in order to remain relevant and viable over the next decade.

The full report is available here.