Helping car dealerships move to online sales

Neil Addley Founder of JudgeService

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.

Getting ready for Super Friday at JudgeService!

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 great cause.

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 race!

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 Sport Relief.

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!

Is the UK ready to go electric?

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 earlier.

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.

Used Car Market had the Boris Bounce!

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 Westminster?

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.

The Magical Phone

I am 100% sure that if you have worked in any sales role, you will have heard “the magic phone” saying before.
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 you.

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.

For more information on our “In The Market Report” please contact me at Brogan@judgeservice.com
Thank you

Shining the light on CRM integration.

JudgeService Partnerships

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 support.
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 companies.

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 customers.

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.

  • Time
  • Value
  • Insight
  • Stickiness
  • Efficiency
  • 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.

Thank you

Brogan Brogan@judgeservice.com

Micro moments of truth

authentic reviews

We know that Satisfaction drives speed of sales

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.

To download our white paper click here.

Contributors to Satisfaction – Micro-moments of Truth

So, it makes sense that better customer satisfaction as judged by either promoter score or the percentage that would recommend drives sales.  Happier customers are more likely to buy more quickly.  But what are the key areas that influence these scores?

To download our white paper visit https://business.judgeservice.com/material/automotive/

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 days
Attitude at handover                      16.4%                                                                               4.8 days
Explanation of paperwork             15.8%                                                                               4.7 days
Mechanical standard of vehicle  13.3%                                                                               3.9 dayss
Cleanliness of vehicle                     13.1%                                                                               3.9 days
Choice of vehicles                           12.7%                                                                               3.7 days

Salespeople

The single biggest contributor to customer satisfaction is the salespersons attitude, with a 5% increase in promoter score moving metal 5 days quicker.  You can measure this for lost sales or for buyers as the salespersons attitude at handover is the second most significant contributor.

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 done.

For more information contact me, neil@judgeservice.com, call 01423 225166 or visit our website:

5 key tips to unlocking September’s success.

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.

  1. Start with service

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 new car?

Once you have found the golden nuggets, don’t stop there. Why should they come back to you?

3. Emotion

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

Create the 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?

A JudgeService 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.

If you would like to know more, contact me Brogan on Brogan@judgeservice.com

Thank you

B

Fed up of Pizza & Prospecting night? – Staying way past 7 to get that extra appointment that may turn up?

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 ancient theory.

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?

Thank you

Brogan

It’s your time to shine.

Featured

Brogan Huntington

5 Star Rating

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.

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