The auto industry tells us that 90% of car shoppers that submit Internet leads will buy a car in the next 90 days: 30% of them will buy in 30 days, 30% will buy in 60 days, 30% will buy in 90 days and the remaining 10% are bad leads in one way or another. In reality it rarely seems to work out like that and an internet car trader constantly deals with one and the same question: So what do Internet car buyers want?
The first thing any internet car shopper would answer is that he wants your best price. Well, customers always say they want the best price, but in the case of internet buyers what they say is not always what they mean, and any car seller should be aware of it. Because if you hurry to give internet car buyers what they want, you would have to quote all of your internet leads at dealer invoice less holdback, less finance reserve, less all available incentives and finally you would actually be paying your customers $500 or a $1000 to buy your car.
When it comes down to what Internet car shoppers really want it’s about more than price. Just like working the showroom floor the Internet car buyer uses price as an excuse, but that is not the only aspect of what sells the Internet car shopper. Among other aspects that mostly attract an Internet car buyer there are:
1. Convenience - many Internet car shoppers say they want best price, but what they really mean is that they want the best price from the car dealership in their neighborhood. They want to return to the location that is close to home, the place where they service their present car and, unless they had a terrible experience, the place where they bought their last car. Most of the Internet car buyers buy their new car at the dealership close to home or where they service their car. In fact most of them are ready to pay more for the convenience of being close to home. They won't pay thousands more, but they are willing to pay hundreds more for the convenience.
2. Relationship - the relationship with the Internet Sales Manager or the possibility to contact directly a competent person whether by phone or via a well-crafted email that responds quickly to the customers' request for price or information, contributes to a good first impression the Internet buyer makes about your dealership. When they feel that the person who communicates with them is sincere and helpful and when they realize that they didn't come across as a “pushy car salesman” the Internet car buyers are much more confident about buying a car from you. Even if you provide a good price, but not the best price the customers will be willing to drive farther than their local dealership to visit the dealership where they were so promptly and kindly supported. If they were handled properly and in the same manner as they were on the phone and in email they bought a car during their visit.
3. Selection - the Internet and your website might be the very reason that you received a lead from an Internet car buyer and what they want is something you have. They may have singled you out and submitted a lead because you are showing the make, model, color and trim level of the car they want on your website. They won’t tell you that they looked at their local dealership and several others, but they will say they want your best price. The hard part is learning the truth about why they sent you a lead. You may never discover the truth, but if you treat them right and provide a fair price you will very likely sell them a car at a price that is higher than they received from other dealers because of selection.
4. Value - that’s when the value outweighs the cost and the customer buys the product. It’s hard to create extra value when it comes to a new car because they are all exactly the same. The value comes in when they choose a dealership whether a friend, family member or coworker referred them or were impressed by your website, selection of vehicles, their relationship with a representative. All of these go hand in hand and have the potential to greatly influence the internet car buyer even more than price alone.
5. Price - there are some Internet car buyers that really want best price and nothing else, but this is a much smaller percentage than we might think. These customers will travel hours out of their way to get a deal and rarely will they buy any accessories or add any options, but they are still a car count and volume. Depending upon your location and trade area these customers will only make up 10% to 20% of your new car sales which still leaves 80% to 90% that really want something more than best price.
Remember these worthwhile hints and if you can hit all the things that car buyers really want when they ask you for the best price, you won't have to worry about doing something special to have customers lined up to get on your site.
Good luck and good Internet sales!