Oh, not much, just the way people buy used vehicles.

Questions of the day:

— Are BDCs departments still relevant?

— Are BDCs worth the additional expense?

This is why we’re asking:

The pandemic greatly impacted the consumer’s ability or desire to purchase used vehicles. In some states, it was literally illegal to go to the dealership, and in all states, consumers were pressured not to go into the public.

If they did venture out, they were asked not to interact, wear a mask, stay 6 feet apart, and — whatever you do — don’t shake hands! That’s not exactly conducive to selling used cars. I don’t need to tell you that … you lived it, survived, and you thrived!

Why am I bringing it up?

We need to ask ourselves:

— How did we survive and thrive?

— What did we do different?

The short answer is: We got better at giving shoppers the information they need online to help shoppers make a decision:

— Best Price
Trade amount
— Payment
— Down Payment
— Credit approval

Please tell me you’re not one of the dealers that still believes if you give shoppers too much information they won’t come into your store. That means your motivation in getting them to come in is to not help them in the first place. That’s not a great plan.

That leads us back to the question of the day.

Since a shopper is now given all the info they need online, why do they need to contact the dealership’s BDC?

You gave them everything they needed. Do they really need to make an appointment or can they just come in?

If you listen to your inbound phone calls, you’ll quickly realize the No. 1 question by far will be “Is the car still available?”

I’m pretty sure you don’t need an expert to answer that, unless you practice listing what you don’t have in stock just to create traffic. I can’t help you with that one … that’s on you.

All of that leads to the biggest misconception of all: People prefer to buy completely online.

Not the case. Shoppers prefer to research online and become educated before they reach the dealership. But make no mistake about it: shoppers come to the dealership to complete the transaction.

Ruler Analytics reported: Hyundai announced that “while car sales start online, 95% of purchases still happen at the dealership.” Make sure you’re ready to close those deals.

Let’s sum it up. We have created this new practice of giving the customers what they need upfront to make their decision. They no longer need to email, call or text and talk to a salesperson in order to get information — and the best deal.

That’s not to say we don’t need people to answer emails, calls and texts, I’m just not convinced a commissioned salesperson is the right person for those jobs. It’s definitely worth looking at — and coming up with your own best process.


–Just The Fax

Robert Grill is Carfax Senior Partner Development Manager

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