In this digital world, customers have powerful technology on their side. The Internet has fundamentally changed how automobiles are bought and sold. Car buyers have infinite choices, instant access to information about every potential purchase, and the ability to competitively compare prices. Customers are gaining more control of, and contributing more to, their own consumer experience and decision making process – making it more difficult for sales people to engage and making every deal more competitive. These are the most empowered consumers in history, and make no mistake, THEY are in the driver’s seat!

Before they step foot in your dealership, today’s average car shopper has thoroughly researched and educated themselves on everything to do with a possible car purchase, in fact, the need to actually visit the dealership is sometimes completely eliminated! In some cases, they just may know more about the car they are considering to purchase than the salesman that greets them at the door with a smile and extended hand!

This new generation of Internet-empowered car buyers is tough, the negotiation advantage is now in THEIR corner! They are demanding greater transparency in the buyer-seller relationship. They expect consistency and value, quality and service. The sales focus has shifted from price haggling and payment to consumer needs and value. Your sales force must quantify the advantages of owning your brand versus the competition. Differentiating your competitive value is key, and will allow you to shift from selling “price” to selling “value”. Gone are the days of the stereotypical pushy, hard car sell – these “Vigilante Consumers” will not be intimidated! They are smart, savvy and informed, and perfectly willing to go elsewhere to get what they want.

It’s a jungle out there – dealerships that recognize this empowerment and the importance of developing relationships and delivering a consistent customer experience will gain and maintain the competitive advantage!