A new dealership model for a new generation of car buyers

A SPOC salesman helps a customer from start to finish

Let’s face it, gone are the days when stopping by the local dealership is the preferred way to buy a car. 

Today, millennials expect an Amazon-like experience across all their purchases—including car buying. And considering that Bain projects millennials to be almost 50% of the car-buyers by 2025, it makes sense to transition to the modern dealership model if you want to stay relevant to this generation. 

Another compelling reason to modernize your approach is that some surveys estimate that 87% of customers dislike the car-buying experience in the dealership. And 95% of them are already starting their car buying journey online in some capacity—from browsing vehicles and customizing with add-ons to filling out their credit application. 

What’s more, customers switch between online and offline channels at least four times on average. And they expect a seamless transition as they explore their vehicle options. The handoff between digital and showroom experiences could make or break the deal.

And if that doesn’t convince you, consider that only 9% of consumers have a high level of trust in car salespeople. That suggests a majority of people don’t feel dealers have their best interests in mind.

Adopting a modern car-buying experience not only improves your customer satisfaction, it also helps you stand out in a crowded marketplace. So what does a modern car-buying experience look like? 

One way to achieve this is by combining the single-point-of-contact (SPOC) approach with the right technology. This customer-centric approach preferred by millennials leads to a wide variety of benefits including:

  • reducing friction
  • improving flexibility in the process
  • eliminating unnecessary steps
  • increasing transparency
  • empowering your sales teams

Let’s take a closer look at what your new dealership environment could look like with a modern, millennial-friendly single-point-of-contact model.

Salesperson


In a single point of contact dealership, a salesperson’s role is focused on making the customer feel at ease from the minute they step foot into the store. They’re also responsible for ensuring the deal goes smoothly from meet-and-greet to signing on the dotted line.

Primary areas of focus:

The traditional model includes…

  • Meet and greet customers
  • Qualify the customer on which vehicle they want to purchase 

The SPOC model with the right end-to-end digital retail solution expands the role to include…

  • Give customer appropriate payment options based on their needs
  • Discuss protection plans and get the customer to think long-term about their vehicle
  • Provide step-by-step guidance submitting credit application and reviewing rates and term options 
  • Live-chat with behind-the-scenes managers to hash out negotiations and details–without leaving the customer’s side
  • Complete the deal, including contract and document signatures

Sales Manager and Finance Manager


Within a single point of contact dealership, Sales Managers and Finance Managers will take on hybrid roles. Their primary focus will be on maintaining a consistent sales process across the team. They’ll also be responsible for tracking any negotiations that may come up. And lastly, they’ll maintain a presence across the sales floor, ensuring that customers are comfortable with their sales experience. 

Primary areas of focus:

  • Monitor sales floor activity 
  • Introduce themselves as necessary, typically when a trade is introduced to the conversation
  • Appraise vehicles and deliver that information to the salesperson and customer
  • Handle any objections by the customer if salesperson needs assistance
  • Desk the deal if there are certain complexities that require additional support
  • Ensure the deal is accurate in terms of compliance, pricing, trade, paperwork etc. 
  • Provide salespeople with a digital retail solution that can help them get through a deal from browsing vehicles to credit applications and e-signing seamlessly
  • Provide behind-the-scenes support that enables and empowers the single point of contact to be most effective
  • Develop the sales team with off-the-floor training on customer service and sales techniques 
  • Review completed deals to help single point of contact associates understand what worked, what didn’t, and how to improve on the next deal

General Manager 


With the single point of contact model, General Managers will run the larger operations across the dealership. 

Primary areas of focus:

  • Primarily focused on the entirety of the dealership (service, parts, sales, finance)
  • Step in when high-profile customers are present or if there are multiple trades on one deal
  • Review and approve the right tech stacks across the dealership to maintaining high performance
  • Focus on inventory solutions across the dealership—analyze the website, ensuring they have the right digital retail provider, and assess advertising performance
  • Analyze and reflect on SPOC performance to continually optimize individual performance, operational excellence, and showroom-wide customer experiences

How to model your dealership for success


In order to stay relevant and meet consumers’ growing expectations, you need to adopt a more modern approach to car selling that works with how, when, and where people want to buy. A single-point-of-contact approach backed by the right technology provides guidance while creating a more flexible, consistent, and transparent car-buying journey.


Want to learn more about how you can transition your dealership into a single point of contact model? Check out Upstart Auto Retail

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