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Dealerships are always looking for new ways to keep clients happy, and they are finding success through extended test drives.
GM companies like Cadillac advertise 24-hour test drives, and some Hyundai dealerships even offer test drive delivery services to potential buyers. They know that competition is relentless and they want to give customers every chance they can to fall in love with a vehicle from their lot. Extended test drives keep them working with your team longer, increasing your chances of a sale, which is especially true for smaller dealerships with limited inventory.
For most clients, purchasing a vehicle is a huge decision. Countless hours (and sometimes months) are spent making the right choice. They research car buyer websites and which dealer to visit to make sure they get the experience they feel they deserve. After all, don’t you think they need more than 20-30 minutes to decide if that is the car for them? This is where extended test drives can work their magic.
If you jump on board with extended test drives, consider a few things
Is your sales team adequately trained to handle test drives?
Are they good about getting licenses and making sure clients are insured? It’s crucial to make license copies, and with the AutoRaptor license scanner, it makes it easy to get a clear photo without messing with the office copy machine settings. Dark, illegible copies are a thing of the past. This tool not only helps with the test drive but the entire purchase and financing process.
What does your insurance say about your test drive policy?
Before implementing an extended test drive program, make sure you have proper insurance coverage. Between your insurance and the client’s, you are limiting your risk of losing money due to an unfortunate accident.
Serial test drivers
Do you have that one customer that never buys anything, but always wants to take test drives?
It’s great to have someone interested in your dealership, but sadly, some people take advantage. What’s worse is they may occupy a unit that a serious buyer could purchase. This is why you should try to come up with a limit. The number of vehicles per month depends on you, and the size of your inventory. Chances are you won’t have to enforce this rule, but it’s always a good idea to have it in place, just in case.
The number one thing that overwhelms your sales team is scheduling. With AutoRaptor you can organize all your appointments and leads, and know who is interested in what car. Then you can be sure the car is there when the customer is ready to look at it.
There is nothing more frustrating to a customer than making an appointment, and not even getting to see the car they came to test drive. You never want to send out a vehicle that another client is scheduled to view, especially on an extended test drive. It’s just bad practice and rubs clients the wrong way.
Keep extended test drives to 24-hour periods. Occasionally, it’s smart to let them have the car for the weekend, but remember, the longer a client has a vehicle, the more the miles add up. Monitor the mileage before and after a test drive, and agree on the vehicle return time.
Dot your I’s and cross your T’s
It’s also not a bad idea to have the customer sign a test drive agreement. Your agreement should include:
Date the vehicle was taken and when it should be returned to the dealership
License number & state
Customer information (address, email, phone)
Vehicle stock number & VIN
Vehicle mileage in & out
Dealer plate number
The best way to ensure success with an extended test drive program is with preparation
If you’re not already using a CRM tool, it’s time to change that. Not only does it help with scheduling, but also email and text correspondence, outbound calling, and inventory management. It saves countless hours, and we all know time is money.
When a client sees how smoothly things run at your dealership, they will feel more comfortable working with you. Extended test drives are a great way to build a trusting relationship with your clients.