Foot Traffic Analytics

The 21st century guide to closing customers on the showroom floor

Written by Tony Loxton
Oct 9

The way people buy today is a far cry from buying behaviour observed a mere decade or two ago. Thanks to the internet and social media platforms, today’s consumers are doing their homework (especially on big-ticket purchases like a car or appliance) way before they walk into a store. And if you’re not mindful of this, you’ll lose out on sales. This change in buying behaviour reaches across all industries; so much so that marketers and salespeople have coined the term ‘the buyer’s journey’. It’s based on a rough path that the typical consumer takes before they actually make a purchase. It begins with an awareness that they need a solution to a particular problem or challenge, which then leads them to consider their options, and then hopefully, make a purchase. And if you want to close sales on the showroom floor, you need to be cognisant of the above.

If you’re of the opinion that old-school sales tactics are the only way to go about closing customers, consider this:

According to a recent McKinsey report, the average car buyer visits only 1.6 auto dealerships when looking to make a purchase, compared to a decade ago when this number totaled five. This finding is telling on two parts: One, it means that these shoppers are doing their research in places other than the showroom floor (i.e: on the internet), and two, that because a salesperson’s time is now limited compared to ten years ago, your salespeople have (on average) one opportunity for closing customers.

If you want to ensure that you’re closing customers, you need to view your product through the eyes of your consumers: as a solution to their problem, as opposed to a product.

For example, there are hundreds of cars that boast economical fuel consumption, but very few auto brands that pitch this feature as a solution to beating increasing fuel prices. A major aspect of successfully closing sales is your staff’s ability to convey the emotional benefit of purchasing your product. Buying a station wagon for a growing family is not so much about the actual vehicle as it is about buying into the idea of providing safe transportation. And this means that your customers don’t want to hear about the product nearly as much as what it can do for them.

Today’s consumers peruse several channels before they set foot in your store.

The omni-channel buyer is here to stay. Thanks to the internet and the ease with which someone can obtain information, your customers are already aware of things like cost, specs, product differentiators and more. This means that launching a sales spiel whereby you regurgitate information they’ve already been privy to is a massive a waste of their time and yours. To use jargon coined from the buyer’s journey (also referred to as the sales funnel), your customers are arriving on the showroom floor in the middle (as opposed to the beginning of) the sales funnel. And in order to encourage a sale, you need to cater to their demands specific to that stage of the sales funnel. So how does one go about closing customers according to their new behaviour?

Today, closing customers is a lot easier if you’re making use of people counters, sales data analysis and a digital strategy.

Without a digital strategy, your consumers will have a hard time finding your website, and if they can’t find you on the internet, they won’t be able to find your showroom. (And by you, we mean your business.) The internet is the first place a potential customer visits, which means that if you don’t have an SEO optimised website, the chances that they’ll find you are slim to none. Conducting some rudimental research on the way your target market is searching for your product, and then optimising your website pages accordingly is crucial – especially in a highly competitive market like the automobile industry.

Instead of bombarding a customer with a sales pitch, provide them with the tools necessary to nurture them towards a sale.

It should go without saying that the way you interact with your customers on the showroom floor  needs to align with the way you’re interacting with them online: you need to cater to the their needs by providing them with information in a way that’s unobtrusive. Making use of an in-store interactive digital brochure, for example, is a great way to warm up a lead without having to approach them in person and risk turning them off making a purchase. Another effective tool to add to your sales and marketing strategy is to make use of data to give you insight into who’s looking at your website, the pages they’re visiting, the comments they’re leaving on social media etc.

Using a people counter to measure dealership foot traffic is another powerful way to further amplify your sales arsenal. If you know when a customer is walking into a store, the route they choose to navigate the floor, and the time they spend perusing certain areas, you can make strategic decisions about everything from placement of staff, to store layout, to stock management, to cross-pollination between branches, and more.

Ready to strengthen your sales and marketing strategies? Find out more about our footfall location analytics tool that’s helping brands around the country to measure dealership foot traffic and close more customers, here.

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