I bought a new car last week. This is not a post about buying a car, but there are some strong messages about online relationships.
I chose a 2013 Honda Crosstour, the dealer, and my salesperson before ever walking into a sales room. I did it all online.
The Right Time to Buy
I haven’t had a brand new car since 1990. My last 3 were previously owned. I simply drove too much to justify the rapid depreciation costs of a new vehicle.
While two kids are already driving, we will have 3 more who will be of driving age in the next 18 months. The car I just traded in wasn’t safe enough to keep around for any of them.
So, for a myriad of reasons it was time to buy. As it was Christmas break, I didn’t want to waste precious vacation time.
Online Window Shopping
Through several auto sites (USAA, Edmunds, Autotrader) I expressed interest in the particular make and model; Crosstour V6, 2013. In doing so, interested dealers in zip code made contact via email.
Within 24 hours I had received emails from 6 area dealerships. I read the reviews of the dealerships. I easily chose two finalists.
The others were disqualified for;
- Deception: gave me a quote for a 2012, not 2013. No 2013’s even in stock.
- No Quote: wanted me to visit dealership first before giving me a quote
- No Response: waited too long to email me or return emails
- Poor After Market Service
“I Will Beat Any Deal You Receive”
The two “finalists” were quick to communicate and straightforward with answering my questions through emails, gave me a quote and showed some personal interest in meeting me. They engaged me by accommodating my needs.
In his opening email, my eventual salesperson, “Ama,” even stated he’d” beat any offer” and gave a most competitive quote. To me, this meant he was serious in wanting to meet me.
For the purpose of comparing, I visited both dealerships. The first dealership just couldn’t beat the quote I received from Ama. I drove across town and bought the car from Ama.
What Can You Learn?
Buying a car is a huge purchase.
It seems only too natural to start your search for a dealer and salesman online. Price is a huge factor, but so is the personality of the sales team. Are they willing to negotiate, or are they jerks? Can I start a relationship with a specific person before entering the show room?
For me, there was great satisfaction in already knowing who I’d be dealing with upon my arrival, knowing he’d was anticipating my visit and that we’d already begun the negotiation. I was also very happy that I was choosing a dealership endorsed by others.
Satisfied, I made the purchase. I had found a dealership who takes online shopping seriously. I met a salesman who understands that the online customer is likely to be very savvy about the purchase, but also, very serious about buying a car.
Just as the dealership met my needs. We, as doctors and health providers, need to meet our patients needs. Most of America search first for questions about health providers online. We need to provide information on our sites about our practice philosophy and who we are as people.
Just as I expect this about a car purchase, our patients, with their health on the “line,” expect to find us on the Internet, too. Create websites with great content, educate and become transparent.
The car sales industry is changing, but really it’s the consumer, i.e. our patients. I turned to the Internet for my car. Doesn’t it make sense more would turn to the Internet for more important issues such as health?
Take them seriously, meet their needs and you’ll be greeting them in person when they walk through your office door.