“Whenever I hear anyone arguing for slavery, I feel a strong impulse to see it tried on them personally.”
– Abraham Lincoln
Over at Marketing Profs Daily Fix, Jeanne Bliss wrote a great piece about how consumers hate shopping for cars. Taking a cue from, if not Lincoln’s quote, then at least his sentiment, Jeanne suggested automakers go through the process of buying a car for themselves using the same channels consumers do.
With only a hint of a mean streak (all for a good cause, of course), I pointed out that if we wanted real change to occur, automakers would have to be forced to buy groceries the same way we buy cars. That would give them the message.
Shelley Ryan brought that idea to the next level, by helping us visualize what that experience really would be like:
I can see it now… Produce managers following your cart, “I’ve got some late model Yukon Golds, low mileage, and I’ll make you a sweet deal.” Then at checkout, a store clerk ushers you into a cubicle, painstakingly calculating a total sale price with finance charges and “standard” add-on fees for bagging the goods and carry-out to your car, patiently waiting for your counter offer. She looks skeptical, and you wait while she trots over to the business office to get coffee and pretend to argue with the supervisor about discounting your canned tomatoes. Meanwhile, your child is getting cranky and your ice cream is melting… and you seriously consider whether your family really NEEDS to have food in the house!
Like so many things, buying a car should be examined through the lens of the Golden Rule — or at least the Silver Rule: (paraphrasing) If you wouldn’t want to experience this yourself, DON’T FORCE IT ON YOUR CUSTOMERS!!
In this new age, customers don’t only go to purchase the product but they want to experience it. With the technology boosting it is giving the opportunity to people to explore what they’re looking for sitting at home. They are able to do a complete research about what they are willing to buy before actually going to purchase it in the showroom. Before the internet came into existence people had to walk into a showroom to get all the information and then decide. Just like you can gather all the information about HBSwiss here- click for info
In this case, the Silver Rule should cause the dealerships to take Drew’s advice and completely discard the current car buying process. The Golden Rule, to treat others as they wish to be treated, will give them the guidance they need to invent the right process.
Here’s an example of a somewhat better experience. It’s subject to change as I get some feedback from you, though.
- I research the vehicles online and find out all the technical details about them, and what I can expect from it if I purchase it in terms of performance, total cost, features, and reliability.
- I can read consumer reviews of the dealerships and the salespeople before I go in.
- I know what is in dealer inventories, and I don’t have to approximate cost based on a specific set of features I wish I had, but the dealership doesn’t carry.
- I obtain conditional approval for financing from a third party.
- I pick several cars to test drive.
- I tell them which car I want and which options I want (extended warranty, tire warranty, etc.)
- I get a reasonable offer for my trade-in (Sticky point here: We put more value in our possessions than others put in our possessions.)
- I call my financing company and tell them which car I’m buying, and for what price.
- I sign a statement to the effect that I am purchasing this vehicle.
- I drive away as the dealership hammers out the details with the financing company.
What does your ideal automobile buying experience look like? – Cam Beck