Want to Sell More Electric Vehicles? Improve the Buying Experience First.
11-Simple Steps for Dealers to Sell More Electric Vehicles:
By the time an electric vehicle buyer enters a dealership, they have done a lot of homework. They expect and deserve to engage with people in the dealership who understand them and can really help. While the OEM can help move things along, any dealer who wants to capitalize on the growing demand for electric vehicles can do it easily.
Step 1 – Demonstrate Enthusiasm
Demonstrate enthusiasm for electric vehicles and the driving experience. Electric vehicle purchases, like most vehicle purchases, are as much about emotion as they are about rational reasons. Electric vehicle buyers feel strongly about their vehicle choice. When they walk into your dealership, they want to work with a Sales Consultant they can trust and who shares their enthusiasm.
Step 2 – Be Trained
Your staff needs to be trained on how to sell electric vehicles and the different steps required. If your OEM offers training, insist that your sales staff participates. The training needs to be ongoing and not a one-off.
Step 3 – Know the Incentives
Sales and F&I Consultants need to familiarize themselves with the electric vehicle incentives, rebates and tax credits. A good place to start is pluginamerica.org. Subscribe to many of the electric vehicles e-newsletters to stay up to date.
Step 4 – Experience the Product
Sales Consultants need to regularly drive an electric vehicle to fully understand the “EV life.” Just as is the case with a consumer, there is no substitute for personally experiencing an electric vehicle. Consider offering your sales associates the opportunity for an extended (even overnight), drive.
Step 5 – Have an Expert
Have an electric vehicle expert(s) on staff. Feature this on your website and encourage potential customers to schedule their visits when this person(s) is available.
Step 6 – Display the Product
Stock and prominently display electric vehicles! Do not hide them in the corner of the lot. Put them in the showroom and ensure that point-of-sale materials are displayed nearby.
Step 7 – Allow More Time
Allow more time for the customer to be comfortable with electric vehicle technology. According to Joel Levin, Executive Director of Plug-In America, “When you’re selling a gas car, you don’t have to explain the technology. You don’t have to ask questions about a buyer’s lifestyle. With EVs you do.”
Step 8 – Charge the Car
Make sure the electric vehicle is ready for a test drive. The test drive is a critical step in the purchase journey. Make sure the vehicle is charged, clean and ready to go. Return it to the charger after the test drive so it’s ready for the next one.
Step 9 – Understand Home Charging
Help customers understand that home charging is the solution to range anxiety. Many customers don’t understand that electric vehicles are meant to be charged at home overnight. Have a recommended supplier for installation of a home charging station and refer your customers to them.
Step 10 – Understand Public Charging
Help customers understand that public charging is widely available and convenient. Sales Consultants should have one of the many electric vehicle charger locator apps (PlugShare is a good one) on their smartphone and use it to show customers how many chargers are available. A Sales Consultant can take it to the next level by helping customers enroll in a charging network.
Step 11 – Connect with Local Advocates
Every dealership could help themselves immeasurably by working with local electric vehicle groups to participate in test drive events. There is no shortage of electric vehicle advocates waiting to help spread the word.
Success Will Breed Success.
Recognize and reward high-performing electric vehicle sales staff. A change will not happen overnight, but taking the steps above will get things headed in the right direction and ensure that dealers are part of the electric vehicle solution—now and in the future.
Want to receive our stories about automotive innovation straight to your inbox? Subscribe below.
- Posted on October 2, 2018