The way shoppers buy cars isn’t unique. It follows a relatively common set of behaviors that can help you understand how and when to deliver the right message, at the right time. One of the biggest decision points – where to buy their next car – is something you have a lot of control over if you’ve done the work to cultivate reviews.
Shoppers start by gathering not much more than an idea about automotive brands, both the car brand itself, and the brand you’ve built around your dealership. They’re not shopping, but they’re gathering information, almost by osmosis: billboards out of the corner of their eye, a
ds they hear on the radio, bits of conversation they hear in the lunchroom. It’s all data that’s collected on a subconscious level.
Then some event happens that sparks a decision to purchase a new car. It can be dramatic – the transmission in the 1996 Pontiac Bonneville failed 10 miles from home, and they’re quickly trying to figure out where to buy a new vehicle – or it can be more subtle – the guy next door just rolled in with a brand new F-150, and “isn’t it time we thought about replacing this Ranger I’ve been driving since 2005?”
The nature of that event can make that period of exploration either incredibly short, or months or even years long. Either way, they’re not just making a decision on what make or model to purchase. They’ve often made that choice at that point. Now they’re deciding on the place from which they’re going to buy that car. Are you the one?
For you, it’s the point when you figure out whether all of your marketing strategies are working, in real time. For consumers, a major piece of your strategy is your reputation, both online and in the physical world. What you’ve done to present yourself and your employees – long before a customer visits your showroom – is the key that unlocks that sale.