The Internet has changed the car business in many ways and I’m sure it will continue to change the way we sell cars in the future. These changes have been fast and furious not to mention frustrating. Which leads me to talking about the mistake most Internet car salesmen make that’s costing them salary, commissions and the dealership money.

Dealerships have adapted in variety of ways and especially the way they handle Internet leads. Some car dealer Internet sales have dedicated BDC departments to work leads to create floor traffic while some dealerships have their sales staff work leads. Still others have come up with a hybrid approach that is unique to their location, product and clientele.

internet car salesmen mistake

However, it seems that the most common way for dealerships to work Internet leads is to give that responsibility to individual sales people. They work these potential customers from “cradle to grave” or from fresh lead to appointment and ultimately delivery or at least that’s the plan. This is where the where the most common mistake made by Internet car salesmen has its greatest impact.

Internet Car Shopper and What Internet Car Salesmen Believe

The car shopper today is using the Internet in many different ways and according DMOZ they are visiting 10, 14, or 18 different websites to help them make their decision. However that doesn’t mean that they are reading and digesting ever single of bit of information contained on these websites it simply means that they are visiting them. We know for a fact that very few people will take the time to read and digest an entire article or review about anything online. They look at pictures, they scan for something of interest, they watch videos, but not longer than a minute or so and then they read bits and pieces. They read headlines, they read highlights and subtitles, sure some people will read, digest and research everything, but this is a very small percentage.

What the Car Shopper Wants from the Internet Car Salesman

The Internet car shopper wants the same thing they have always wanted when it comes to buying a car whether it’s in the showroom or on their computer. They want a good deal and they want is quick and easy. That’s all they really want and that’s why over 90% of all car buyers spend time on line before visiting the car dealership. They want a good deal or at least they want to believe they are getting a good deal. Plus they want to do it quickly and easily and without pressure. So they get online and start shopping, but all you find online when it comes to car shopping is “get a quote”, “get the e-price”, “compare prices”, and “get 3 quotes”. So what else would you do if you were a car shopper? Of course you fill out the lead form, why not it’s free, what do you have to lose? This is one reason for the mistake most Internet car salesmen make.

What is The Mistake Most Internet Car Salesman Make?

As an Internet car salesman we assume that every Internet customer is a “Mooch”, but that’s not true. Because we think that way, we work them on price and not much else. Our mindset is that we need to sell a car. Not show a car, or test-drive a drive, but only to sell a car. The #1 mistake that most Internet car salesmen make is that they try to sell them a car before they arrive at the dealership. They try to make a deal on the phone or through email rather than get them to visit the dealership first. When we do this we are usually seeing less customers, making smaller gross profits and selling less cars.

Stop Making this Internet Car Salesman Mistake

Remember what the Internet car shopper is looking for when they are online looking for a car. They want a good deal, quick and easy. So you need to make them believe that you are the person and the dealership that will make it quick and easy for a good price. You need to emphasize the importance of an appointment (or scheduled visit because I don’t like the word appointment) and that when they come in for their visit you will make it a smooth, fast, streamlined process to make the best use of their time. Let them know you can have them in and out in no time when you are prepared for them. You need to make them feel that they are important, very important and that it will be quick and easy. Customers don’t like spending 4 hours at the car dealership and that’s why they want quick and easy. Don’t make the Internet car salesman mistake of selling them before they get to the dealership unless you absolutely have to and have no other choice.internet car salesman mistake

I’m not saying that you need to restructure your entire sales process when a customer visits your dealership; I’m saying that you need to get them there first and then go to work. Car buyers will do things and buy things when they are at the dealership that they won’t do in front of their computer at home or work. You need to stop selling the car and start selling the appointment (or visit). You wont bump a customer on the phone or in email, you won’t get a co-signor on the computer and you won’t get a larger down payment online. You won’t get the customer with marginal credit approved via their smart phone or tablet. You won’t be able to switch cars with an email and you really won’t sell a car unless you get in front of them.

Stop selling the car before they visit your dealership and start selling you the dealership, the ease of doing business your commitment to not losing a sale over price. Just focus your Internet efforts on getting them in the door and you will be amazed how many more customers you will see, you will sell more cars and make higher grosses and commission. I have worked with several dealers and have found this to be the ultimate result of not making this Internet car salesmen mistake.

Later, Fresh Up on the Lot

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1 Comment

Chris · January 17 at 10:18 pm

I agree with the article for the most part, however what about those Internet leads that are over 1000 miles away? Obviously getting an appointment from them is impossible without negotiating the deal over the phone first before they fly or drive for two days to get to your dealership.

This happens probably 5 or more leads out of 10, and I would like to see some ideas on handling these.

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