Jennifer Suzuki


Dealers and Managers, your DR software doesn’t have to be only for online users. It can be used in your showroom sales process for walk-ins and it should be used for digital users when they arrive to pick up in your showroom where they left off online. We will look at both approaches and I will uncover what successful DR dealers that I have watched use DR successfully in their dealerships have changed in their sales process. 

Buyers want their showroom experience to be easy so we need to make sure our process makes it easy for them. Buyers wants a seamless experience and you will want to be sure the buyer never feels like a fresh up or a new customer when they show up at your dealership if they completed any DR steps on your website. This also means, communications amongst salespeople and managers are 100% crucial to making this all work.

One thing we saw as a parallel in multiple dealerships is that the entire sales and management team understood being ready to pivot and adapt from processes in place when things weren’t working anymore or needed an adjustment to do things better or more efficiently. They seemed to all have an incredibly powerful, strong unit who rocked communicating effectively and quickly to make sure all deals came together.

When you truly deliver a time-efficient and simple car buying experience, it prevents buyer fear of you, makes it easier to transact with less obstacles and when you do it right, improves profitability, CSI and retention, all critical aspects to maintaining a successful company.

First Scenario – Using DR in your traditional sales process for walk-in buyer traffic

First, identify what buyers want. What makes this easier for them? What can you eliminate that makes them uncomfortable?  You identified your DR vision previously and now is a good time to reflect on that. Simple, Easy, Transparent and Fast. You can simplify a walk-in experience right away. 

Management should know the buyer is here and managers await to see the customer information inputted into your DR tool. There are two interfaces offered with DR software – customer facing and dealership facing. Your website will know based on your IP if you are using it in the showroom which will be slightly different. This is important because when the credit application is completed, management will be able to select a lender and submit for funding.

The salesperson will want to ask for a driver license and insurance card then make copies. By scanning the buyer’s driver license, you will be able to seamlessly get the buyer information into your CRM and wha-la – less tree killers! No paper zone. This seems to be the easiest way to keep moving forward with some efficiency here.

The trade should be a primary focus, if applicable. If the buyer has a trade-in, then it’s easy to shift to going to the trade with the buyer and inputting the necessary information. You may be using a tool like KBB and you may be using an iPad or the sort to input trade-in information. If this is the case, then alert the pre-owned manager of your actions so they are ready to review the data you input and make this process quick and easy. Then, the salesperson goes out to the trade-in with the buyer to begin inputting the vehicle information into the program. We saw salespeople alert the buyer that they would receive two offers today, one from KBB and one from your Appraiser.

Upon completion, this maybe the time you approach identifying a vehicle of interest. In this case, simply access your website that shows vehicles in inventory that clearly show payment options for cash, finance and lease. Your tool should give a buyer flexibility to make their own decision. You can navigate this with the buyer on the salesperson’s desktop.

So, a little perspective…. the salesperson helps identify the vehicles that are the best matches. Then, you ask the buyer how much they want to put down as prompted by the DR software. No change here, right? except for the fact that it’s a computer asking and not a salesperson which somehow just feels different and less off-putting vibes from a buyer.  You can give recommendations as to what lenders prefer to see as down payment as you usually would. You then will want to input the trade value that either KBB served up or that your Appraiser gave you.

Be ready right now to input the credit application information which will likely be the software’s next step. Your buyer may easily continue on and i experienced this moment that was not only surprising but felt like less pressure surrounding the experience…. just felt like the next natural thing to do.  So, they continue on with you and you can turn the control over to the buyer to input their information or just ask the questions to the buyer and complete the application for them. This is a sick situation right here. if any deal barriers are there – it’s coming up right now! And that’s a good thing. Time-savings, yup!

Managers will be ready on the back-end to submit the deal for funding and see what finance offers will be best for the buyer. If your DR tool integrates with lenders, your management team will need to review and select the best one or submit through RouteOne or the like for another option.

If the buyer is not ready to take this step without seeing the vehicle, then you can grab keys and begin to either pull up the best match for them or take buyer to the vehicle of interest. Some dealerships gave the buyer the flexibility to test drive on their own because of covid safety measures. You know this process is unusual for a non-covid world but I must admit, it removed some of the fear’s buyers have of feeling pressured or simply just needing that time to themselves to not feel like they couldn’t show excitement for fear it would lose leverage in negotiations. Makes you think a little bit about barriers to buying, right?

The salesperson may need to switch vehicles or show another vehicle.

Continue to move forward until you land on an option or two. If you haven’t received their credit information, the customer will likely give this too you now so they can see an exact payment.

 You are now in a potential negotiation phase. Your salesperson may present numbers using a print out that shows a menu of options that include F&I products. We also saw this presented on an iPad using an ePencil system. Whichever you use, allow the buyer to decide what works best for them. Now you will have to think about how you inform buyers about service and protection plans. We have seen Darwin software incorporated here. We have seen a pivot to info on dealer’s website. We have seen personalized videos with explanation of products. We even saw printed materials given to customer to read through. The salesperson in this case will need to explain service and protection plans. It’s so much easier where these are clear and concise on the VDP so buyers can see the difference in payment for each offering.

In some cases, we saw dealerships use a questionnaire through Darwin or the like that the buyer completed which enables applicable service and protection options.

We also saw other processes where an F&I manager entered the process of delivering payments with service and protection plans. Now, when we saw this process, the F&I manager met the buyer on arrival and was a part of the EMI immediately.

In any case, when necessary, you may need to call in a manager and even end up with some back and forth but your DR tool should be sufficient to walk the walk-in through a buying process. You must be ready to adapt to the customer needs at every moment.


Second Scenario – The buyer used your DR tools on your website before they arrived

There are many exit points where a buyer drops off at using your DR tools. You need to know the buyer journey and so does management before buyer arrives for their appointment. If they just show up without an appointment, then salespeople and managers should be quickly reading the CRM notes and the reading the customer trail or breadcrumbs as we like to call it. Sometimes you can read these in the DR back-end tool or in the CRM ADF file or even notes the BDC or salesperson inputted previously.

The drop off points can be as follows:

  1. They are approved for financing
  2. They selected a credit range
  3. They selected a vehicle only
  4. They inputted their trade-in
  5. They selected rebates they qualify for
  6. They scheduled an appointment

You want to makes sure the buyer knows that you know the drop off point so that you save them time and make this efficient. This step prevents the buyer from ever feeling like a fresh up. They are not a fresh up and you want to continue the momentum by moving forward and picking up where they left off online. Use the process outlined for first scenario to keep this experience one that is easy, simple, transparent and fast.



DR software can easily be used in the showroom experience and it makes sense since more and more buyers will use your DR tools online before coming into your showroom. Which in that case, you will need to access their journey and pick up where they left off? It’s going to require a lot of excellent communications with your management and sales team staff. Be sure you have an updated sales approach that keeps things moving forward for car buyers yet is flexible to meet the buyer where they want to be met. Make this simple, easy, transparent and fast for buyers today. You will want to address how you input a walk-in into the CRM, how the Salesperson uses the dealership facing DR software with buyers, discuss vehicles of interest, payments, rate as well as how they input trade and finance application information, and lastly ways to discuss F&I products.

When buyers use DR software and then visit the dealership, everyone should be ready to review the online history and identify the drop off point when they used the DR software outside of the dealership and pick right back up.

By having a modern approach to selling cars that makes this truly an exceptional and shockingly easy experience for buyers, your internal team will benefit from the ease of this transaction and the buyer is pleased with your approach. This all equates to car deals and happy buyers who will return to your service department and buy again.

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