Andrew Grzesinski, managing director of AM100 group Macrae & Dick, shares his view of how the sales process is impacted by today's digital consumer:
Access to modern technology and the information it provides affects the balance of power between the buyer and seller. This has now become more equitable and changed from the traditional sales interaction methods.
Therefore, these changes identified between buyer - seller interactions will have ongoing future implications relating to the industry as it is escalating competition, reducing margins and creating very competitive pricing.
Consumers no longer have to enter a sales purchase process blind as the marketing strategies of attracting prospective purchasers into a showroom by competitive pricing linked to low part exchange pricing is no longer working. In conducting this action of Internet information checking, it clearly provides prospective purchasers with a means of security and protection prior to entering a car showroom.
Undoubtedly the balance of power in the negotiation stages of the process has moved towards the consumer and changes must be adopted by sales executives in their ability to interact with this informed purchaser.
Consumers are attempting to assume control of the sales process by taking advantage of the information provided by the available technology. Therefore, from this interpretation, a revision of the sales process should be considered, which must take these new buyer - seller interactions into account during the “steps to a sale”.
In future the “seven steps” sales training may need to include methods of undertaking this remotely with the available technology. Sales executives may need to be equipped with mobile Internet linked product devices such as tablets in order to interact with consumers, notwithstanding utilising the device for instantly underpinning their product knowledge.
In the interim sales managers and sales executives are currently devising their own simplified methods to overcome these pressures during a transaction, but have little understanding on the future requirements needed to address this on a larger scale to be competitive.
With the onset of smart phone technology and video communication, the ability to conduct a part exchange appraisal remotely is now becoming a reality.
Historically, in the retail automotive industry, little cognisance has ever been given to measuring the customer experience in the modern sales process with too much focus on manufacturer’s customer satisfaction programmes’ and initiatives.
See the August issue of AM magazine, published on July 25, for more insight and opinion on the digital consumer and 21st century marketing.