Your customers may soon ask if you sell electric cars. What will you tell them when that happens?
If you haven’t yet, the time is now to think about how you plan to sell electric cars. As much as we all may love that Mustang sitting at the front of the lot, electric cars are the future of auto sales. That’s not going to happen next month or even next year, but it will be here.
It’s not just the fancy, niche automakers that are in the electric car market, either. You may never have a Fisker on your lot, but Ford, Chevrolet, Volkswagen, Nissan, Hyundai, and plenty of other big-name automakers have electric cars in their line-up. It’s only a matter of time before they make their way to your dealership.
This is promising, though. If you can sell electric cars alongside your gas-powered vehicles, you can open your dealership to an entirely new set of customers. And while you may be thinking that there isn’t a market for electric vehicles, remember that these are relatively new to the world.
Toyota gave us the first mass-produced electric and gas hybrid in 2000, with the Prius, and GM introduced a plug-in hybrid, the Chevy Volt, in 2010. But it wasn’t until 2013 that the first all-electric production vehicle (Nissan Leaf) was available in the U.S. market. Although, as an interesting note, in the early 1900s, about one-third of the cars on the road were electric vehicles, but they died out with the discovery of cheap gas and oil.
Still, as more people learn more about electric vehicles, and the technology improves, the market for them will grow. And when they roll up onto your lot, there are a lot of benefits to be had if you know how to sell them.
How to sell electric cars at your used car dealership
There’s a lot of good news here, but let’s talk about one important logistic element you’ll need to consider. If you’re selling electric cars, you probably need to consider adding a charging station to your lot. The good news is that an investment like that will pay off, especially since so few dealers are interested in electric vehicles. You’ll be way ahead of the curve on this one.
There’s more good news here: you already know how to sell cars. Your goal in selling a vehicle is to match the customer with the best vehicle to meet their needs. Whenever you sell a car, you think about things like whether or not the customer has kids that would need to get in and out of the vehicle, or maybe they want something with excellent gas mileage, or they want something they can customize and have fun with. A car or truck, or SUV meets a need for someone.
When you sell electric cars, all that background is still there. You’re still working to match your customer with the right car. That’s the hard part, and you’ve already got it covered! In truth, the biggest challenge after that is marketing and ensuring everyone on the team knows about the cars.
Your team is the first place you want to focus, because while the sales process is relatively similar, electric vehicles are a lot different than gas-powered vehicles. Your salespeople can probably talk comfortably about gas mileage, average repair costs, and the basics of internal combustion engines.
Electric vehicles, on the other hand, need charging stations, and their mileage is measured in range and not mpg. They also don’t require as much maintenance as a
conventional vehicle, since they have fewer components. You don’t need to change spark plugs, brake pads, and other normal wear-and-tear parts.
Electric vehicles are also less expensive to run as compared to gas vehicles. And many states offer tax incentives for electric vehicle buyers.
And contrary to popular belief, electric vehicles have some serious pickup. The Nissan Leaf and the Hyundai Kona can both hit 0-60 in 6.5 seconds. The Volkswagen iD3 is slightly slower off the line, coming in at 7.3 seconds. And the Tesla Model X goes 0-60 in a lightning-fast 2.8 seconds. By comparison, the MINI cooper hits 0-60 in 6.4 seconds, it’s 7.8 seconds for the Subaru Crosstrek, and a Honda Civic will get you there in 6.7 seconds.
These are all selling points and they are all things your customers will want to know about.
As for the marketing piece, don’t be afraid to point out the environmental benefits of
driving electric vehicles. Showcase these cars on your lot and on your social media. Talk them up. Call your local television news anchors or newspaper reporters; they’re always looking for local interest stories.
In short, if you want to sell electric cars, go for it. There are so many benefits to you and your customers. And this is the perfect time to establish your dealership as the go-to location for excellent used electric vehicles.
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