How to Sell More Cars to Millennials Like Me


young woman driving car

I would be considered a millennial, or a Gen Y consumer. After all, I’m twenty-eight, born in 1984, just about to have my ten year high school reunion and often think to myself, “If I wasn’t in the auto business, if I didn’t do this for a living, what would motivate me to purchase a car?”

What’s the first thing that comes to mind? My iPhone. I have it with me at all times as if it were my second child. I keep a charger in my car, a charger in my office and two chargers at home. The millennial generation uses their smartphone device for everything, especially for buying a car. In a June 14 study published by eMarketer, the 18-34 age group was calculated to be the demographic with the highest number of visits automotive websites. Keeping this statistic in mind and coupling it with other statistics that point to Gen Y’s extraordinarily high smartphone usage, reveals the necessity for dealers to make their websites mobile friendly with options like chat, text, and video.

Thanks to mobile chat and text options from Contact At Once!, shoppers can communicate with me and my dealership team via mobile-based chat or text. Both I and my younger customers prefer this type of communication because it’s instant. I find that texts are read and replied to almost instantly, regardless of how busy someone may be. That’s not necessarily true of email or voicemail. When it comes to emails, most (including myself) tend to just skim through them. Although some emails from dealerships can stand out, most don’t and they tend to all look the same. My personal smart phone is more than merely a means of checking email and responding to calls, it’s a sales tool used for chatting and texting in real-time with buyers.

In addition to chat and text, I find that video greetings are also a powerful tool, because they help to build rapport and personalize the car buying process. A personal video from a manager or a sales rep stands out from the other vanilla emails buyers receive; videos bring my team to life. I rely heavily on video in my sales process, and find that it is one of my big ‘tricks’ for maintaining high customer walk-in rates.

What else makes the Gen Y shopper tick? Social media of course! I’m personally on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and my new favorite, Vine. With enough reputation building and quality posting, I am able to create buzz about both myself and my dealership, Sunset Honda. While the dealership website is important, I find that my customers appreciate sharing their experiences with me on social sites as well.



So in short, what makes a Gen Y, millennial consumer like me want to buy something? I believe the answer is mobile friendly communication tools, a willingness to get personal, direct accessibility and a strong online presence. But is that enough? Well, of course not! You’ve also have to create a fantastic shopping experience—so good that your buyers want to talk about it.

Elise Kephart is a sales and marketing phenomenon in the automobile business and is nationally recognized as “The YouTube Diva”. Since 2007 Elise has sold thousands of vehicles to local and out of the area clients. Her personable and persuasive sales and marketing videos are personalized for every customer creating a strong bond and trust. Elise has presented at seminars nationwide, including several of Jim Ziegler’s Internet Battle Plans as well as the spring 2012 Digital Dealer conference in Orlando, where she has consistently ‘wowed’ the audience by teaching how to create and edit quick and effective videos and deliver them to customers within minutes. Elise has visited several dealerships across the country teaching her unique technique in the auto industry and has been praised by the likes of Jim Ziegler, Grant Cardone as well as Dealer Marketing Magazine. Elise is currently an internet manager at Sunset Honda in San Luis Obispo, California. Her amazing videos can be seen at youtube.com/sunsethonda and she can be reached at ekephart@dealermark.com.

Michael Bowen

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