Automotive training and software company BTC believes dealers are missing out on sales through a combination of poor customer service and lack of sales process.
According to BTC’s Prospect Satisfaction Research report, based on a sample of 1,500 prospects at two major franchised dealer groups who failed to make a purchase, 27% never received a follow up call after making an enquiry and only 63% were offered a test drive.
Of the respondents, 31% took a test drive, while only just over half (56%) were offered a finance option and 29% were quoted a payment.
Guy Allman, BTC’s chief executive, said: “We all know that ‘bums on seats’ sells cars and at least 50% of people who take a test drive will make a purchase, so how are dealers happy with only getting a third of prospects to have a demonstration?
“As for not following up enquiries I think the industry should hang its head in shame."
Further findings showed that although the ability to spread finance payments over time removes the major obstacle of finding a large lump sum, only 29% of prospects were offered a monthly payment plan.
Research shows that customers have an inflated idea of what their part exchange is worth and therefore need to be sure that the valuation the dealer offers them is fair, and yet, according to the report, of the 67% who had their part exchange valued at all, only 21% had their trade-in vehicle taken for a test drive.
Allman said: “Customers would feel more confident in the valuation if dealers gave their part-exchange vehicle more than a cursory glance.
“There is too much focus on cars sold and not enough on the processes that lead to overall business improvement. You often hear people ask; ‘How many did you sell over the week end?’ but who ever asks: ‘How many test drives did you book or how many people did you offer finance to?”
“There seems to be too much emphasis on lead generation and not enough on how we perform in the showroom. Dealers need to look at not just the people they sold to but the people they didn’t sell to and ask what they can do to improve conversion rates. If you don’t know what you could have sold then you won’t achieve your potential. In this climate, that approach could be fatal for many dealers.”