In May, Automotive News held a roundtable event in Dallas, Texas in hopes that ideas provided by participants would improve automotive dealerships employee morale, revenue stream, and savings thus increasing the bottom line. With today’s consumer having a plethora of choices of where to buy their next vehicle, dealerships are always looking for ways to gain additional market share by attracting new customers. The automotive consumer has changed the way they find their new car, truck, or suv. With the inception of the internet, car research and buying can take place 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. “The consumer knows exactly what kind of vehicle they want for the price they want to pay” says, Steve Dodge, General Manager of Southwest KIA Rockwall. “Nowadays, a buyer will know just about everything there is to know about the dealership including the salespeople who are employed before they arrive on the dealership floor.” The average consumer is doing all of the research on the internet and statistics show they are visiting 1.3 dealerships versus shopping 4.6 dealerships in years past. Dodge also adds, “Not only is the consumer using the internet to select a great dealership to buy from, but they are also using the internet to deselect dealerships that don’t look appealing.”
The roundtable session provided attendees with great ideas they would be able to implement at each of their dealerships. Some of these ideas included hiring non-commission sales people to lessen the negotiation pressure consumers have long been accustom to when making a new vehicle purchase to the recruiting of college graduates erasing the image of the “used-car salesman” perception.