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What Car? Connect urges dealers to mirror estate agents with digital strategy

What Car? Connect, the data marketing company, is urging car dealers to embrace digital in the same way estate agents in the UK have.

Graham Ede, What Car? Connect director, points to estate agencies which, in recent years, have excelled at adapting to the increasingly digital habits of house hunters. These are now being replicated by in-market car buyers, who only visit an average of 1.3 dealers before making a purchase, as opposed to the five or more of previous years.

Ede said: ““The days of walk-in customers to estate agents are long gone.

“So is the ability of the agent to try and ‘sell’ a property to a potential buyer – the notion of selling is long gone for new cars but, just like houses, each used car is unique.

“People ‘surf and choose’ independently, very often by price and what’s available. If there’s nothing in the digital window, they move on.

“In fact, the customer relationship window is tiny. You only have one chance to impress and engage to convert into a relationship. It is the same for dealers. If that call or email comes in, you have to act. If you don’t, you’ve lost them.”

Ede said dealers must embrace a customer relationship management-led culture where every member of the sales team is a daily user of the sales management tools available.

He said: “Often, car shoppers are within hours of purchase when they submit an enquiry. ‘Customer Remembers Me’ is an alternative way of describing CRM and effective lead management is core to that.”

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