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'Empathetic and positive' experiences lead to faster used car sales

Car sales vehicle handover

Sales teams must focus on making every customer interaction an “empathetic and positive experience” in order to boost used car stock turn, says Judgeservice.

Research of more than 50,000 used car buyers uncovered the showroom best practices that most resonate with buyers and could boost under-performing sites.

JudgeService first identified a correlation between high customer promoter scores and faster used car stock turn in 2018, but its latest study shows how further incremental improvements in customer satisfaction can drive even speedier sales.

“With the cost of living crisis potentially hitting the confidence and spending power of car buyers, it is now more important than ever for sales teams to make every customer interaction an empathetic and positive experience,” said Neil Addley, managing director of JudgeService.

“The laws of attraction shows that if customers are looked after and feel valued, they are more likely to buy and buy again,” he added.

Dealers with promoter scores of over 85% are currently averaging just 30 days to sell used cars, compared to 36 days for those averaging under 60%.

The most influential factor, uncovered by the research, is the salesperson’s positive attitude during the sales process. Judgeservice found a 5% improvement in a customer score can result in a 20.5% jump in the dealer’s promoter score, which in turn increases the speed of sale by 3.5 days.

Other key influencers included staff taking the trouble to explain paperwork and their attitude at handover.

The research also identified the positive impact of salespeople contacting customers after they have taken delivery of their cars; those that were contacted had a promoter score of 88%, although this dropped to just 63% for those who were not contacted.

“Some salespeople are reluctant to contact customers after a sale because they might have a complaint about the vehicle. But that is precisely why they should call them. If there’s a gripe, it’s the perfect time to fix it. And if there’s not, it’s a great way to start building a long term relationship,” said Addley.

On Friday (February 10) the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders’ (SMMT) used car sales data showed that the automotive sector’s new car “supply “squeeze” had resulted in an 8.5% decline in sales during 2022.

But the stock shortages have maintained high margins for retailers who are able to source vehicles.

January’s eBay Motors market data showed that franchised retailers drove value growth hardest, with average used car prices up 5% to £24,773. Independents increased prices 3% to £14,087 and car supermarkets by 1% to £18,640.

JudgeService will publish its Industry Report ‘The Strangest Secrets’ later this month.

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