I recently read a March 6th article from Ward’s Auto, an industry publication, written by Steve Finlay titled “Few Car Buyers Start Out Knowing Exactly What They Want.” In the article, Mr. Finlay states, “Car buyers’ minds are far from made up when they enter the market.
“There’s a lot of cross-shopping, and not just in the vehicle segment they started out looking at,” says James Franchi, AutoTrader Group’s division president-media, citing consumer interviews and online-shopping behavior research.
Only 9% of online shoppers decide off the bat on an exact vehicle make. Just 31% initially are sure of the model. That means many people who start out looking at, say; midsize sedans could end up buying a CUV (cross-over utility vehicle).”
Please note that Mr. Finlay is referring to “on-line shoppers” who, on average have spent twelve hours on-line doing their research. This is why so many on-line automotive buying services have failed. They have assumed the client, after doing all of that research, knows exactly what they want and then provide them with their best price for that specific vehicle. More often than not, the vehicle selected is the wrong vehicle to meet the client’s needs or pocketbook.
At The Herb Chambers Companies, we have been well aware of this fact for years. As such, our Sales Consultants have been trained to begin our sales process by completing what we call an “Automotive Profile”. The profile, which on average takes about five minutes, is designed to ask our clients key questions that get to issues like: critical features, the most important concerns of the client, how the vehicle will be used and more. Based upon our client’s responses, our Sales Consultants can help find the best possible vehicle to meet the client’s needs.
Some clients have begun their search process looking only for new cars, but been pleasantly surprised to find a pre-owned vehicle with more features, that is certified by the manufacturer, with longer warranty coverage. Others have been in the market for a used vehicle and been excited to learn they can actually drive a new car for a lower monthly payment. We’re here to help you understand your options and make a sound decision among the many alternatives out there.
Sometimes, our Sales Consultants may determine that their dealership doesn’t offer the ideal vehicle for a client. With over fifty dealerships within The Herb Chambers Companies, they are encouraged and financially rewarded by referring that client to another Herb Chambers dealership that may have the perfect vehicle for the client.
In traditional sales processes, used by most car dealerships, sales people have been trained to latch onto whatever vehicle in which you have interest and “ride it to the finish line”. For example, you walk into a Honda dealership and say, “I’m interested in a Honda Accord EX” or “What is your best price on a Honda Accord EX?” The sales person then shows you the Honda Accord EX, takes you for a test drive and then presents their price. By then, you may well have determined the vehicle is not for you and you walk out.
At The Herb Chambers Companies, we know that people make their decision on what to buy based upon their alternatives. Imagine that you are shopping for a big screen television as I recently was. I researched them on line and thought I knew exactly what I wanted. I called around to the “big box” stores to found out who carried the make and model I wanted. I went into one of the stores and confidently told the sales clerk what I was looking for. She showed me the TV on the wall and then I started looking at what else they had on display. Needless to say, I bought a TV totally different than what I thought I wanted. Haven’t we all done that at one time or another?
Our Sales Consultants have been trained to constantly offer you alternatives to your original request if they feel that there might be a better vehicle to meet your needs and budget. This is not about trying to “up-sell” you. More often than not, they will try to offer you a lower cost alternative that they feel will be a good option. Ultimately, it is your money and your choice but won’t you feel better about this big decision if you know what your options are?
We have tried to design everything we do, including our sales process, by asking, “What do our clients’ want?” We know that people don’t want to be “sold”. They want to “buy” what is best for them. That is why, at The Herb Chambers Companies, “We don’t sell cars. We help people buy them”. Thanks for allowing us to do just that.