Trust is the new currency of today’s business

As online sales grow as a percentage of total retail car sales, creating a feeling of trust on your website will become increasingly important. Here’s why.

When we trust an organization, we do business with them whenever and wherever it makes sense without questioning it. If we don’t trust an organization, we look for alternatives. If a consumer doesn’t believe they can trust a dealership, they will take their business somewhere else. And today, that decision is being made online.

Fortunately, technology now exists that addresses the car buyer’s main pain points. With the right information and tools, dealerships can deliver a more efficient, personalized online experience that builds the trust necessary to get your online shoppers to cross the “Trust Threshold” and to give you a real shot at earning their business.

That being said, dealers have a legitimate concern about being more transparent online – especially when it comes to F&I sales. That fear comes from an understandable place of not wanting to undermine their back-end profits. It’s like; can we embrace the technology that could be our greatest threat?

I believe those fears over potential negative outcomes to the dealer’s bottom line can be managed, while still giving consumers the opportunity to enjoy the benefits of the new technologies. I also believe that when it comes to car buying, technology cannot totally replace the role of humans. It’s thinking about how you inject that humanness into the online sales experience, and making sure your online process mirrors the in-store process.

When it comes to your own dealership, focus on what makes your business trustworthy, and make an effort to deliver that to your online audience. Building a trustworthy enough experience will incentivize them to move forward.

So go ahead, ‘open the kimono’. Share more information and more knowledge. Be free with your information and insights. When people learn from you and grow from the knowledge and wisdom that you create and share, they learn to trust you.

Take a hard look at your website and examine each of your customer experience touch points and figure out how to improve transparency and build trust. If you work to hide relevant information, over time, you destroy the trust relationship. If you look for creative ways to improve transparency at every turn – you build trust.

Here are four questions to ask of your organization:

  1. What information can you provide to your customers that your competitors are not providing?
  2. What data, information or insights can you draw and share with your customers to make them more individually satisfied in the context of your business?
  3. What knowledge can you provide for your customers that will help the in their quest to shorten the time spent at the store?
  4. What wisdom can you impart on your industry with the knowledge that you create in your organization?

Every dealership will need to work out their own unique solutions to build customer trust, whether it involves complete transparency or smaller UX cues.

Technology by itself is not the real disruptor. Not being customer-centric is the biggest threat to any business. For the car business, transparency is a great way to convey that your dealership is customer-centric, and trustworthy.

One thing remains certain, though: If you’re not prioritizing trust in your own digitalization efforts, you’re behind the curve no matter how popular your product line might be.

At the end of the day, how you make people feel with the information that you provide is at the root of all trust relationships.

We should empower people with technology… Let’s amplify their online capabilities!

Bill Gerhard
Author: Bill Gerhard

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