Who’s Qualifying who?

When I first started selling cars over fifteen years ago, sales people were always told of the importance of qualifying your customer. This approach to the sales process still holds true in today’s dealerships however you might be surprised to find out who is doing the majority of the qualifying. A recent study was published by Yahoo, Polk and Cobalt gets to the root of the customer’s buying behaviour. The study states that 88% of consumers do online research prior to walking into a dealership, 83% used the internet to research vehicles and 79% used the internet to research auto dealerships.

The average consumer is exposed to much more information than ever before. From customer testimonials to dealer blogs to online reviews, customers are expressing their opinions and it’s open for the world to see. Apart from actually driving past a dealership, searching for information on the internet has surpassed all other sources for consumers to use when looking for a dealership. Consumers are doing as much qualifying of you as you are of them. They are finding out what dealers are in their area, their contact information, their inventory, dealer reviews, special offers and an overall feel for the dealership.

With the average customer willing to drive over 40 km’s to make a purchase, dealer’s need to be willing to extend their reach beyond their immediate market. So the question is how does a dealer find the right marketing mix to reach their customers before their competition does. The answer is you need to go to where your customers are – the internet.