Dealers often overestimate the trust car shoppers have in them and customers sometimes know more than the salesperson, according to MAXDigital’s recently released strategic dealer research study on the subject of trust and transparency in the digital age.

MAXDigital surveyed U.S. dealers during the 2017 National Automobile Dealers Association Convention and Expo.

Almost 70 percent of dealers said their customers have a high level of trust in their salespeople, while a December 2016 Gallup poll showed that just 9 percent of consumers have a high level of trust in car salespeople, according to MAXDigital.

“This research highlights the need for dealers to recognize that their sales processes may no longer match customer expectations or pre-conceived notions,” MAXDigital chief executive officer Steve Fitzgerald said in a news release.

“Consumer buying habits have changed and it appears that many dealers haven’t addressed the need to become product experts and to sell based on quality and value, instead of price.”

Interestingly, 61 percent of respondents said customers either “sometimes”, “most of the time” or “always know” more about a vehicle they are considering than the sales team.

Eight out of 10 dealers told MAXDigital that either “most of the time” or “always,” customers arrive after having thoroughly researched their purchase options.

The automotive industry cloud-based software provider said its survey suggests a need for dealers and their sales teams to become product experts.

MAXDigital said roughly 400 U.S. dealers completed the survey in January, before and during the 2017 NADA Convention.

For MAXDigital’s full report and other findings, visit