The Millennial Rules of Engagement—You Interact, I Transact
Millennials are the most educated demographic group in American history and will soon make up 40% of the car-buying population. True, they are yet to get on their own two feet financially, but since they may still be living with or in close contact with family for cash and/ or insurance, they are consulted, and therefore wield enormous influential power, in decisions regarding purchase of new technology (home theater, phones, etc.) and you guessed it, new cars.
In other words, a millennial represents two buyers: themselves and their parents or other family members.S/he knows which car they and their parents should be driving and they want you to offer these cars to them for their consideration. Without the hassle and haggle. Dealers must therefore look to nurture a transaction, not just incentivize it; cultivate, rather than coerce, the deal.
However, the lead cycles with millennials will be long. Remember too, that they’d rather email and text than talk or walk over to their friends’. So interactions with the millennials will take place for a long duration of time, but will be necessarily characterized by immediate response-times.
Next, these 80-90ers are like the proverbial night owls, not just in that they sleep and play at odd hours, but also in that they are full of knowledge. The internet has been their playground and they probably know the features of their favorite gadget or car more than the sales rep. The millennials’ rules of engagement dictate that auto dealerships must be willing to engage with them when they want, and in an intelligent, personalized fashion. It is not the art of selling, but the wisdom of the sale that will ultimately lead to a close.
Unfortunately, sales reps do not have the time to interact with most leads more than three times, so how can they keep up with the millennials requirement of quick response times at night and/or over holidays? Dealers, like their millennial target audience, must therefore look to technology, such as artificial intelligence, to infuse immediacy, consistency, camaraderie, and expertise into their online interactions over a sustained length of time. Dealers such as Al Serra Auto Plaza (see cover story in previous issue) are already leveraging artificial intelligence to improve closing rates.
David Marod is the vice president at AVA.ai. Dave has been in and around the automotive industry his entire life: From auto-detailing to selling cars and now, working with dealerships on leveraging next generation technology to improve ROI on leads.