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COVID-19 has changed the way we do a lot of things. Here are some car sales tips to help you navigate the waters of selling cars in the midst of a pandemic.
Selling cars is always a challenge, but with a global pandemic on the loose, the job comes with a few additional obstacles. So many businesses have gone virtual, which impacts auto sales more than most, since customers want to experience a vehicle. Fortunately, there are some car sales tips you can follow to help ensure that your dealership remains successful as the virus continues to impede life as we knew it.
Before you jump into these tips, though, know that as scientists continue to learn more about this virus, we all may find ourselves adjusting as we go. The more flexible you can be, while also keeping safety as your top priority, the more you’ll be able to work with customers and find success in auto sales.
7 Car sales tips that will help you now and as you move into the future
1. Turn up the empathy
Demonstrating empathy is a crucial component to building trust with any customer. Of all the car sales tips out there, this one stands the test of time in building relationships with customers. It’s also more important than ever, since most customer transactions likely won’t occur in person. Whether you’re dealing with a new or a repeat customer, take and show a vested interest in their needs and desires in purchasing a car. The more customers feel like they’re being cared for, the more likely they are to close a sale with you. Practice active listening, build detailed customer profiles, and help them find the perfect solution for what they’re looking for. If that’s already your practice, double-down. The world can’t get enough empathy these days!
2. Use virtual platforms
If the car sales tips you’ve seen before don’t include this one, they should. Making the move to virtual is one of the most effective ways to keep your business going with minimal negative impact to your forecasts. Some dealerships are going entirely virtual (for now) with proprietary platforms built just for them. Not everyone has that luxury. If you’re in the latter category, there are less expensive virtual assistants that can still help your business. Or you can shift the focus of your sales business to your website while increasing your use of text messaging, email, and calls on virtual platforms, like Zoom.
3. Promote safety measures
More than ever, people are worried just walking out the door to run simple errands. Demonstrating that you’ve taken their concerns to heart is essential right now. Promote your safety measures on your website and advertisements. Show your customers what you’re doing to keep them safe, whether that be contactless transactions, wearing masks, or cleaning vehicle interiors. Most customers won’t continue down the sales path if they don’t feel safe; soothe those nerves first so you can get to the business of selling cars.
4. Follow guidelines
If you still expect to conduct in-person transactions, follow federal and local government guidelines. These vary from state to state and locality to locality, but such guidelines are imperative for you to continue to safely and successfully conduct business. Make sure you have appropriate signage, follow social-distancing practices, and have a plan in place for contact tracing should an employee or customer fall ill. This will also help protect you in the unlikely event that someone accuses your dealership of not following proper safety protocols.
5. At-home test drives
Another of our top car sales tips, while COVID-19 continues, is to offer at-home test drives for potential customers. This usually involves having someone on your team—or yourself!—safely deliver the car to the customer’s home, assist them through a test drive, then properly clean the vehicle afterward before returning to the dealership. With much of the buying experience online now, many customers want this option since very few people buy a car without giving it a spin first.
6. Extended return policies
Up last on our non-exhaustive list of car sales tips is offering an extended return policy or financing option. Many people have suffered pay reductions, and more still have either lost their jobs or fear losing them. This might make someone reluctant to make such a significant investment at this time, even if the need is there. By offering an extended return policy or flexible financing arrangement, you can help your customers feel more comfortable with spending so much money in a time when very few of us know exactly where we’ll be in the next six months to a year. The more flexibility you can have here, the better off you’ll be closing the sale.
7. Update your online inventory
Whether or not there’s a pandemic, an invasion of space people from Mars, or just because, some people prefer shopping online. And if their favorite car isn’t on your website, they’ll keep moving. As much as possible, keep your online inventory current, including removing cars that get sold. Include exterior and interior photos from multiple angles and be sure to present detailed information about mileage, mechanical condition and so on.
It is true that you may not have been planning to implement these kind of car sales tips. But we’ve all had to push ourselves to change the way we do business. The good news is that these are the kinds of changes that will serve you well into the future.
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