What Internet Car Buyers Want

The auto industry tells us that 90% of car shoppers that submit Internet leads will buy a car in the next 90 days. Internet leads breakdown to roughly 30/30/30/10 in other words 30% will buy in 30 days, 30% will buy in 60 days, 30% will buy in 90 days and the remaining 10% are bad leads in one way or another. Numbers like that tell us that we have a goldmine in our CRM, but it rarely seems to work out like that so what do Internet car buyers want?

If you are fortunate enough to connect with one these Internet car buyers on the telephone they will tell you that they want your best price. Oh really, I thought you might want my worst price or my highest price. I am sure you are a sick as I am of hearing customers say they want your best price. Do Internet car buyers really want your best price?  They say they do, but it’s just like selling cars on the showroom floor what they say is not always what they mean. Remember the old saying about buyers and liars well it couldn’t be more accurate when it comes to Internet car shoppers.

Ask What Internet Car Buyers Want

Well if the only thing that Internet car buyers wanted was your best price all you would have to do is quote all of your internet leads at dealer invoice less holdback, less finance reserve, less all available incentives and less another $500 or even a $1000. You would actually be paying your customers $500 or a $1000 to buy your car. So if you did that wouldn’t you have customers lined up to get into the showroom if all they really wanted was your best price?

You would think that your showroom would be full of car buyers, but that’s not the case. In fact; you probably wouldn’t see much difference in the amount of showroom traffic. Sure you will pick-up a few extra sales, but it will be a very small number and you will be taking it in the shorts to sell those cars. I have done this experiment more times than I can count. Granted very few Internet car buyers really want your best price and they will travel for hours to buy a car if you have the best price among the 12 other car dealers they shopped.

So What Do Internet Car Buyers Want?

So when it comes down to what Internet car shoppers really want it’s about more than price. Just like working the showroom floor the Internet car buyer uses price as an excuse, but that is not the only aspect of what sells the Internet car shopper to visit your dealership. After talking to hundreds of Internet car buyers that were willing, to tell the truth, I came up with these five things that make up what Internet car buyers want. To most people, it was a combination of these 5 things that made the difference. The distribution of these items varied greatly between customers and some customers were only focused on one or two items, but most of them used all 5 items to make their decision about where to go and purchase their new vehicle.

Internet Car Buyers Want

  • Convenience: Many Internet car shoppers say they want the best price. But what they really mean is that they want the best price from the car dealership in their neighborhood. They want to return to the location that is close to home. The place where they can service their present car and unless they had a terrible experience the place where they bought their last car. Most of the Internet car buyers that I talked to bought their new car at the dealership close to home. Where they can service their car. In fact, most of them paid more for the convenience of being close to home. They didn’t pay thousands more, but they were willing to pay hundreds more for the convenience. They visited their local dealership with your quote in hand. The dealer sometimes matched the quote or more often than not justified in the customer’s mind why they won’t match the quote and the customer bought the car.
  • Relationship: I am not talking about getting a date. I am talking about a relationship with the Internet Sales Manager or BDC rep that worked their lead. Whether it was by phone or via a well-crafted email that responded quickly (1st dealership) to their request for price or information they made a good first impression. They felt that the person was sincere and helpful and did not come across as a “pushy car salesman” (their words not mine). They felt (notice emotion) that the ISM or BDC rep cared about them and went above and beyond to help them. They provided a good price, but not the best price. In fact, they were willing to drive farther than their local dealership to visit the dealership where the ISM or BDC rep worked. If they were handled properly and in the same manner as they were on the phone and in an email they bought a car during their visit.
  • Selection: The Internet and your website might be the very reason that you received a lead from an Internet car buyer and what they want is something you have. They may have singled you out and submitted a lead because you are showing the make, model, color and trim level of the car they want on your website. They won’t tell you that they looked at their local dealership and several others, but they will say they want your best price. The hard part is learning the truth about why they sent you a lead. You may never discover the truth, but if you treat them right and provide a fair price you will very likely sell them a car at a price that is higher than they received from other dealers because of selection.
  • Value: Remember value? That’s when the value outweighs the cost and the customer buys the product. It’s hard to create extra value when it comes to a new car because they are all exactly the same. The value comes in when they choose a dealership. Whether a friend, family member or coworker referred them or were impressed by your website. Selection of vehicles, their relationship with an ISM or BDC rep. All of these go hand in hand and have the potential to greatly influence the internet car buyer even more than price alone.
  • Price: OK, there are some Internet car buyers want the best price and nothing else, but this is a much smaller percentage than you might think. These customers will travel hours out of their way to get a deal. Plus rarely will they buy any accessories or add any options. But they are still a car count and volume. Depending upon your location and trade area these customers will only make up 10% to 20% of your new car sales which still leaves 80% to 90% that really want something more than best price.

Next time you ask yourself what do Internet car buyers want. Try and determine to uncover want your to Internet car leads really want. If you can hit all the other things that car buyers really want you will only have to worry about being the best price for a small percentage of your leads. You might not be able to sell 80% of your Internet leads, but it gives you something to shoot for, but you won’t be able to blame it on price alone if you don’t.

Later, Fresh Up on the Lot


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