Costly Assumptions Dealers Make About Car Buyers

There used to be three accepted steps
in the car-buying process:Naked Lime helps dealerships disrupt the ZMOT car buying cycle

  • Stimulus (feeling the need for a product).
  • First Moment of Truth (encounter with the product).
  • Second Moment of Truth (buying experience).

That traditional model was interrupted by the internet and changes in the way consumers shop for goods and services, including vehicles.

Now, there is the Zero Moment of Truth.

It’s important that your dealership be present during the ZMOT phase, when consumers are doing their research online, with friends, or in the media.

But what can make a bigger impact than simply adapting to this new buying cycle? Disrupting it.

Customers who are already thinking about buying a car are doing research during the ZMOT phase – consulting at least two dozen sources to find the best price, the highest trade-in value, the lowest interest rates, the most attractive lease terms, and any other relevant information.

While this information is helpful to the buyer, it can wreak havoc on dealership retention and dealer profits.

There is a way for your dealership to regain the advantage: present customers with an attractive buying offer before they’ve begun to look elsewhere. There’s the disruption.

The average retention rate among automakers was 49 percent in 2012. More than half of your customers will buy a different make the next time around unless you do something to stop them. Waiting until they have entered the traditional buying cycle is too late because they have already begun the search without you.

What’s more, the consumer – Millennial or otherwise – who thinks he can’t afford a new car and isn’t currently in-market won’t just show up on your lot to request a test drive. Since the average age of cars on the road was 11.4 years in 2013, that customer is far more likely to show up in your service drive in an effort to hang onto his current car for a few more years and a few more miles. But don’t make the mistake of discounting him as a potential sales customer.

Download Millennials and Cars: Disrupt the Cycle to learn even more about the dangers of assuming too much about today's car buyer.

Visit for information about how you can improve retention and profits using your most valuable asset for this disruption – your customer database.