It is arguably the best time to be in the world of car sales, we have consumers at the end of our finger-tips, literally. In fact a staggering *84% of our car buyers are starting the process on their mobile phones, as a result 9% go on to purchase a car online.
With the number of e-commerce buyers set to increase by 40% come 2020, how do you ensure that you stand out online?
Well, the first thing is don’t panic. You have all the tools in your toolbox but it’s all about how you use them.
We’re always keen to do our bit
to support the automotive industry and, with the coronavirus crisis currently
hitting the UK, we’ve come up with a not-to-be-missed offer.
JudgeService Research will
provide three survey services completely free to any dealership, whether they
are a current client or not, as we aim to help dealerships keep up sales over
the coming months.
The three free services are
the PX valuation survey: to give insight into
your valuation proposition and get more deals
the online sales survey: to get insight to
improve the process and get reviews to reassure buyers about buying online
the product survey: to get peer review content
for buyers who don’t want to do loads of test drives
In combination, these are all
designed to support dealers to sell more online. They will deliver valuable
insight into customers’ experience of the valuation process and online buying,
as well as peer review content to encourage potential buyers.
JudgeService founder and MD Neil
Addley says: “We recognise this is a worrying time for car dealerships –
if people can’t come out to see them, get part exchange valuations and test
drive, they might well wonder how on earth they’ll keep selling cars.
“However, we’re already
seeing dealerships adapt to the situation, just as they have other crises over
the years. We’re offering these services completely free as a gesture of
solidarity to the industry, helping them to find a way through the challenges
and discover a new way of selling cars.
“This isn’t a short-term way
for us to tempt people in – the offer will be in place for as long as the
coronavirus crisis is affecting the UK automotive industry.”
Advice from the government over
social distancing is already seeing reduced footfall on forecourts. However,
with the advice set to remain in place for several months, there will be
customers looking to buy new cars before restrictions on contact are lifted.
As a result, Neil believes that
the current crisis will hasten a move to online sales which had already begun.
“Many of our clients have
already begun using online sales as part of their offer, but it’s still on a relatively
small scale,” he says.
“I don’t have a crystal
ball, but I think it is likely that, during and after the Covid-19 situation,
online sales will continue to rise.”
Anyone interested in finding out
more about the free surveys can call us now on 01423 225166.
It may be Friday the 13th,
but it’s going to be far from unlucky at JudgeService.
We’re gearing up for a fantastic
day for our team, our contacts, the wider network of dealerships – and for a
On Friday 13th March,
we’ll be lining up some great deals on our services for one day only. If you’ve
been thinking about trying us out, this will be the time to do it – there will
be some serious bargains on offer.
Meanwhile, the day will also be doing
good for other people. We’ll be raising money for Sport Relief with a whole
host of activities on the day, including sponsored Ping-Pong, sponsored relay
Followed by, “The big charity bake-off.”
On top of that, for every new
dealership that signs up with us on the day, we’ll be making a donation to
So how do you get involved?
We’ll be contacting anyone we’ve
spoken to in the past, but if you’re not already on our list, you can still take
advantage of the offers. Just click here [http://www.judgeservice.com/en-gb/car-dealership/about/contactus/]
to contact us and we’ll make sure we call you on the day. If you sign up, we
donate more to Sport Relief.
Meanwhile, to support our
fundraising, keep an eye on our social media on the day – and don’t forget to
send encouraging messages to our team to spur them on!
Electric vehicles have been
hitting the headlines with increasing frequency over the last few years.
Whatever side of the fence you
sit on with regard to the benefits and drawbacks of going electric, one thing
seems certain: it’s going to happen. New regulations will ban the sale of new
petrol and diesel cars in the UK – and now, that ban is set to come in even
With our ear to the ground, we
know that manufacturers and dealerships were already worried about the impact
of the legislation. Now, with the deadline brought forward to just 15 years’
time, there’s even more concern about how it’s going to work.
Technology is advancing faster
than ever, but it’s still very early days in relative terms: the first electric
vehicles hit the market less than a decade ago. The focus on climate change is
certainly pushing the switch more quickly than would happen naturally and,
somehow, everyone is going to have to be ready.
Why don’t people buy electric cars?
For consumers, there are numerous obstacles in the way of moving to electric straight away. For a start, there’s the cost: the very cheapest EVs on the market are around £15k, with most coming in significantly higher than that. The Nissan Leaf, for example, the biggest seller in the category, has an OTR price of £26k. That immediately rules out a good chunk of the market who will compare EVs with the more affordable petrol alternatives and rule them out immediately.
That then brings in the issue of
choice. With most manufacturers having a very limited range of EVs, it’s a case
of “one size fits all” – or doesn’t, as will be the case for many
buyers. Anyone who’s ever looked for a new car will know it’s a question of
balancing all sorts of needs against each other and weighing up the best
option. If the one or two EVs on offer aren’t the right size, look, colour or
whatever else is top of the list of priorities, customers will turn elsewhere.
Finally, there’s the practical
side. Most electric cars need to be charged after around 100 miles, which is
far more frequently than a traditional fuel alternative. Charging also takes
longer: a rapid charge could do it in an hour or less, depending on the car,
but they are few and far between. While this might not be too concerning if you’re
making short journeys and can charge regularly, it could significantly extend
the time needed to complete longer drives.
There’s also the question of
infrastructure, with the number of charging points around the UK still only a
fraction of the number of petrol forecourts. That fear of running out of charge
in the middle of nowhere is all too real for most customers and, dealerships
tell us, a major factor in their decision-making.
What about manufacturers?
There is an enormous amount of
pressure on manufacturers to produce more and more EVs. With hybrid and other
halfway-house options no longer open, as they will also be banned from 2035,
there are some big steps ahead of manufacturers.
As yet, they’re struggling to
deliver cars that meet both emissions rulings and customer expectations,
including on that thorny issue of price, but given the time constraints and
looming deadlines, they’ll simply have to find a way to improve.
There are other options, including hydrogen-fuelled vehicles, which some belief will become the more prolific type of car in the future. However, with that technology still lagging behind electric, they don’t currently provide a viable alternative ready to hit the market in any significant numbers.
We can expect manufacturers to
invest a lot of time over the next few years into finding better solutions,
aiming to be the first to bring out cars with better range, faster charging
and, of course, a lower price tag.
Where does it leave dealerships?
Good question. They’re somewhat
caught in the middle between the government’s desire to hit targets and move
away from petrol and diesel, and customers’ reluctance to move to electric
while it’s still not meeting their needs.
Manufacturers, of course, will
want to encourage customers towards the new technology which they’re having to
spend so much on delivering. However, anyone who has sold cars knows that
nothing drives a customer away from the forecourt faster than a salesperson
trying to convince them to buy something they don’t really want.
We’re already seeing some
forward-thinking businesses looking at creative ways to move towards more EV
sales, such as special events and test days which bring people through the
doors. Most people have never had chance to experience driving an EV, or even look
around one, so it gives savvy salespeople the chance to let the cars themselves
do the convincing. As well as achieving some sales in the short-term, it’s a
great way to build a list of potential customers to contact as new EVs arrive
and deals become available.
In the end, it may well fall to the dealerships to try to bridge the gap between the current market and the new legislation over the next 15 years. Those who have laid the groundwork ahead of time are likely to reap the rewards as the market comes around to the new technology.
Automotive specialist customer
insight and review service casts an eye over the year’s politics thought the
lens of used car volume.
Whatever your political affiliations, 2019 was pretty
memorable. We saw two Brexit deadlines
missed, the fall of a Prime Minister and the coronation of Boris Johnson as
First Among Equals. The General Election
that followed the failed Halloween Brexit date led to a fracturing of the so
called “red wall” and the end of Jeremy Corbin as Labour leader.
JudgeService’s clients experience of 2019 follows the nation’s
political machinations. Whilst over the
full year JudgeService clients increased volume by 4%, 2019 was very much a
year of two halves.
Like for like dealership sales dipped in the first six
months of 2020 with uncertainty over Theresa May’s deal contributing to a 4%
reduction on 2018 volumes in the first quarter. Remember the mantra, “We will be leaving the
EU on 31st January,” and the subsequent political stalemate in
The stagnation continued in April as Jaguar Land Rover
halted production and deepened in May as the government stumbled towards
collapse before the Prime Minister announced her resignation.
On a wave of optimism about change consumer confidence rose
and we saw an increase of 6% in June 2019 v 2018 and a whopping increase of 25%
in July as pent up demand found its way onto the forecourts.
August and September were up on 2018 but as we progressed
towards Brexit at Halloween, sales rose by 20% once again, only to fall away in
November as the election campaign took hold.
However, it was “Ho, Ho, Ho” once we’d re-elected Boris as
PM as sales returned with a 21% increase in 2019 compared to Christmas 2018.
Overall sales were up 4% on 2018 and it looks like 2020 has
started off well in both new and used.
Let’s see what the end of January brings.
I am 100% sure that
if you have worked in any sales role, you will have heard “the magic phone”
That awkward moment where you have been trying to get a hold of a customer for
at least 3 days, sat at your desk prospecting day in, day out, because the
customer told you they must sleep on it. Then, just before you go to add them
to the missing person list forever, someone else calls them and they magically
pick up the phone.
Oh, the irony of that situation. But don’t worry, we have all been there and I am sure we will all be there again. Now that we have companies like JudgeService who actively work to re-invigorate your lost leads you can guarantee that the awkward moment of your sales manager asking you, “how come you didn’t manage to get a hold of your own customer, but JudgeService did?” is here to stay.
Not only that, would
you believe the “magic phones” we have in Harrogate, where the JudgeService
call centre is based, now have the power to work efficiently with the reporting
system and every Sunday night, generate a report of all the customers, that
have been marked as a lost lead the week previous, but somehow the professional
team have managed to convert and identifying them as wanting to buy a car from
As you can imagine
Joe the General Manager thinks this report is the best thing since sliced bread.
In fact, it is the highlight of his weekend. Joe loves nothing more than
sitting in his state-of-the-art office with his bacon butty, black coffee and
perfecting his look of pure disappointment waiting for you to turn up even 3
minutes late, so he can tell you how bad you really are. He will obviously go
on to say JudgeService must have “magic phones” because they can get a hold of
customers that you can’t.
Although that maybe some people’s reality there is a positive spin to the “magic phone” scenario, and that is money, hot prospects, and referrals. If you really had done everything possible, and someone else managed to get a hold of the missing customer for you and found out exactly what they want to buy, and then handed it back to you, first thing on a Monday morning, surely that is the best Monday morning you could wish for? You could argue that they are better than PX leads, web contacts or even phone enquiries and you don’t even have to worry that they will be given to the top salesperson because they are your customers.
I don’t know about you, but if I had the
opportunity to start my week with even one hot lead, I would take the
opportunity with both hands and run with it.
We all know that the world of businesses is
happening around us, and we know we can’t ignore that. However, just like every
aspect of life, sometimes we all need a reminder.
In business we all face challenges and with each one,
we are presented with a whole new toolbox of opportunities.
System integration could be the biggest tool you
have, even if you don’t know it yet. As the old saying goes “Jack of all trades,
master of none.” We know that we all could start offering extra services in
different areas, because we have come to know an awful lot about different
businesses, but the best forward-thinking companies choose not to pursue them. Why?
The simple answer is that they are specialists in
their field, and when a customer requests a different service to what they
specialise in, they go out hunting for a company that they can integrate with
who are specialists in that area.
Just like building a house you wouldn’t get a bricklayer
to do the electrics, you would contract an electrician to do that. Similar to
building a business you can go out and find other companies to do the things
you may not be as good at or have time to do.
This enables you to provide an outstanding service
to your customers. Through integration, companies work together, helping each
other grow. Improving your services at a favourable rate while they gain
customers through integration, and you add value to your existing customers.
At JudgeService we shine the light on integration
starting with our CRM partners, companies such as Navigator, AutoSLM, PBS,
EnquiryMAX and more.
These companies enable us to close the loop on our data.
We can access and process data more efficiently, reducing the pressure on time for
our support teams. So, they can concentrate on their core function, customer
Integration allows us to send valuable data back to the CRM platforms in real
time,which creates tremendous value to our clients, their customers and the CRM
We don’t need to make people duplicate work anymore,
there is no need for 16 different systems to access one customers detail. We
are past all this.
Our time is valuable and so is our customers, so stop wasting time on things
that can be automated and work together to grow and provide value to your
I am going to wrap this up by summarising the
benefits of integrating with third-party companies just in case you are still
not convinced it is a brilliant process.
Outstanding customer service
If you would like some tips on how to integrate with
third parties, please feel free to ask me how we do it at JudgeService.
There is a direct correlation between the number of days it
takes to sell a car and the level of customer satisfaction. A dealer with a promoter score of 30% will
see cars stay in stock for just over 46 Days, whereas a score of 70% will be 34
days. 90% promoter score brings it down
even further to 28 days.
In effect this creates additional sales “days” as a “free
hit” – more sales requiring no further capital.
First comes the salespersons
attitude, followed by attitude at handover and then explanation of paperwork.
Micromoment Promoter score
after 5% improvement Days
quicker to sell
Salespersons attitude 18% 5.3
Attitude at handover 16.4% 4.8
Explanation of paperwork 15.8% 4.7
Mechanical standard of vehicle 13.3% 3.9
Cleanliness of vehicle 13.1% 3.9
Choice of vehicles 12.7% 3.7
Whilst you can’t teach people to smile you can teach
positivity and you can use our
surveys and certainly train how to
explain paperwork, financial documentation and why they’re important and being
If you are worrying
about how you will hit target this September, then these tips are for you.
After reading this
blog you’ll kick yourself and wonder why it has taken this long for you to do
something about it. However, the key is not just to do the actions required but
do them properly and professionally, not half hearted.
I know you try and
look after your existing customers; you may give them a call once a year to
wish them a Happy Birthday or send them the odd promotion leaflet.
But is this enough
to keep them engaged and loyal to you? I
would argue that it’s not.
So, here is my first tip to keep your customers engaged and give them no reason to go to your competitors. When a customer brings their old car in for a service, 9 times out of 10 they will have a look at the stock you have. Why not offer to appraise their car? Work out what the cost to change would be, offer them a test drive while they wait and as clever way to build up an appetite, park their old car next to the spanking new one in the car park?
2. Finance is your friend
On average 91% of
your customers will buy on finance. A large chunk of them will be on PCP. This
means that dreaded balloon payment becomes your friend. An agreement that you
can monitor, this will allow you to see when they can change and when they must
change, unless they want to pay a large amount of money. Even if they are
prepared to pay the money wouldn’t they rather use that as a deposit on a shiny
Once you have found the golden nuggets, don’t stop there. Why should they come back to you?
Use the fact its September. People love having the newest high-tech things. In fact, 90% of people will buy on emotions. The way you make them feel when they are looking at the car will play a huge part in their decision. Talking to their imagination using their emotional connections, is a sure-fire way to maximise sales. Don’t ignore emotion.
4. Professional Prospecting
atmosphere. They are special customers. Make sure they feel that way and turn
them into loyal customers.
You can do this by
creating a VIP event, exclusively for existing customers.
Use a professional
prospecting service. You will be surprised how much of a difference this makes.
Adding to the feel of exclusivity you have gone to great lengths to ensure they
know they can change their car.
The JudgeService contact centre provides this service for our clients.
Our latest case
study shows that when we contacted 311 existing customers 116 made an
appointment! That’s a 37% conversion rate.
116 hot leads!
5. Sometimes we all need a little reminder
We can put all the
work in to get the appointments but, don’t let your foot off the gas just yet.
Often, we make the
mistake of booking an appointment, taking it as gospel and then wonder why we
get “no shows”.
Look at it from a
different perspective, you book a dentist appointment or a hair appointment and
the day before you get a friendly reminder to tell you that the business is
looking forward to seeing you at a certain time.
I don’t know about
you, but I am always hoping for that text just to make sure I have the right
time or even date.
Why should your
customer be any different?
gentle reminder call.
“Hi Mr Jones, we are
looking forward to seeing you Saturday @11:15am
Just to make you
aware there is free parking at the front of the building and Jack will be
waiting in reception to show you around the new cars”
Ensure you give
everything you do 100%. Remember, these are your customers, don’t give others
the chance to take them away.
The good news is I can
show you a proven way to increase your sales by 11% without the BS of heavy
marketing cost, oh, and the dreaded open boot, balloon hanging sells cars
Yes, you read it right!
I can show you how to increase sales by 11% and the best part about it is, it’s
by using all of the tools you currently have.
Who would have thought that on average 36% of your customers that did not buy were still in the market? Well, I can tell you they are!
Newsflash to you and
all your “tyre kicking friends”; JudgeService have found that these customers
are genuinely in the market to buy a car and 11% of them then go on to buy.
So, I guess the
elephant in the room is how have we done this? Simple-we just picked up the
phone and asked them. We asked them are you still in the market? We asked them
why did you not buy? We asked them would you like the dealer to contact you.
Now there’s no doubt we
get a better response rate because we are a trusted third party or you could
even say that we are automotive specialists working in an insight business.
But the reality is we
called your lost leads and found the magic key to increasing your ROI, and in
the meantime, we found out the areas you can improve:
On average 29% of the customers were not offered a test drive! (Bums on seats people!) it’s the golden oldie
35% were not offered finance? I mean why? You make money and the customer leaves in a lovely car that meets all their needs for a payment they can comfortably afford. We are all winners.
I guess the moral of my
story is that the customers are there, they are in the market; the question is
do you have the time or the skills to convert them into sales?