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Who Wins the Car Sale Today and Why?

Like many industries today, trust is a key factor in how successful a dealership is at selling cars. Car buyers spend thousands of dollars on a single purchase and can be loyal to a specific brand for years, if not a lifetime. As consumers, we expect our path to purchase to be seamless, and the auto industry is no exception.

To understand what convinces consumers to buy a car at one dealership over another, the Marchex Institute recently worked with Root & Associates, an automotive research and consulting firm, on a comprehensive study that interviewed over 1,700 auto buyers and shoppers during 2020.

The study shows just how important it is for auto dealers to build trust with their customers and deliver a positive experience, especially when face-to-face communication is limited during a pandemic. One insight that was uncovered in the study is that 91% of car buyers say trust in a salesperson or dealership is very or somewhat important in choosing who to buy from. This statistic is equal to competitive price as a consideration, and more important to buyers than achieving the lowest price.

View an executive summary of the study here: Trust, Transparency, and the Transaction: Who Wins the Car Sale Today and Why?

Another key finding is that 39% of consumers use a phone to call or text a dealer to make initial contact, making the phone the leading channel for consumer outreach, far outpacing any other form of initial contact, including walk-ins, email, or chat.

“The process of buying cars has changed profoundly during the past year. Pre-pandemic, dealerships were hesitant to discuss price before the customer came into their showrooms. In the new normal, the initial call a consumer makes to a dealership is now the make-or-break point of a sale.

Dealers cannot operate the way they did in the past. Today, many consumers want to understand what they will pay before they visit a dealership and dealers need to be ready and willing to address that – upfront. A competitive price is one piece of building a trusting relationship.  What you say, and often what you don’t, during that initial call, will define if you win the sale.”

–Matt Muilenburg, Marchex Senior Vice President of Automotive.

This week, Marchex exhibited virtually at NADA Show 2021 to share these insights from the study and demonstrate how Marchex can help create a seamless path to purchase for car buyers. You can also learn more about our innovative solution built specifically for the automotive industry by visiting the Marchex Sales Edge Engage for automotive dealers page.