As a result of the pandemic, dealerships have been conducting more sales transactions online, with video calls and remote vehicle delivery. It is up to every agent to help determine what resources and technology need to change to prepare the dealership for any future obstacles. - Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay 

As a result of the pandemic, dealerships have been conducting more sales transactions online, with video calls and remote vehicle delivery. It is up to every agent to help determine what resources and technology need to change to prepare the dealership for any future obstacles.

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay 

We all can recount the efforts of Charlie Brown in the 1965 holiday classic, “Merry Christmas Charlie Brown.” It focused on the annual Christmas play, primarily on the dress rehearsal and how, in the end, they got everything wrong. They were completely disjointed, misunderstood the message they were attempting to convey, and did not realize the importance of practice.

It is up to every agent to help determine what resources and technology need to change to prepare the dealership for any future obstacles.

Due to the lockdown, dealerships must conduct more and more sales transactions online, with video calls and remote vehicle delivery. The F&I portion of the deal has presented unique challenges on building value in F&I products without having the customer physically present. Good grief, Charlie Brown, we have a lot of learning to do. However, like the Peanuts gang’s dress rehearsal, we must take this opportunity to prepare for when it really matters. No one knows the exact timeframe for when our business will convert to a primarily online system, but now is the time to prepare for things to come. Let us look at a couple of things we must practice before the grand re-opening. 

We must act upon the message this crisis is telling us. The new process must be fast, convenient, and easy to understand. The customer is waiting to see how we respond to this crisis and what actions we will take. Will we attempt to go back to business as usual or start building a more consumer-friendly experience? The way forward must be through a mix of in-person and remote selling that will continue to evolve as we progress. The pace of our change must be dictated not by us, but by the customer. Today’s consumer is telling us that the more control they have in the buying process, the more they will trust and value our expertise, which means more sales.

This urgency is real, and we must make crucial changes in our process. The curtain is opening; we have seen a glimpse of the future. We must prepare for that now. The need to develop a more consumer-controlled online experience has long been dismissed. This new process must be efficient and center on the needs of the customer and their valuable time. Earlier access to the transaction online leads customers to arrive at the dealership with valuable questions and a desire to learn.

A more prepared and engaged customer saves time, allowing us to focus energy where it is needed most. Less time spent selling a vehicle means more vehicles sold. Review dealer websites and determine what online tools will be most effective for the future. Ask yourself: What technology should we invest in to move more of the buying process, for both the vehicle and F&I products, online?

It is up to every agent to help determine what resources and technology need to change to prepare the dealership for any future obstacles. Dealerships need their agents now more than ever, and those that use this opportunity as a rehearsal to practice for events to come, will flourish when it counts. Success belongs to those that treat the present as a warm-up for the future. When the curtains open on the big show, remember it is all about the customer. Thanks Charlie Brown.

Read: Final Week to Vote for 2020 Dealers' Choice Awards

Author

Rick McCormick
Rick McCormick

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Rick McCormick is the national account development manager for Reahard & Associates.

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Rick McCormick is the national account development manager for Reahard & Associates.

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