Autobytel’s Scott Pechstein offers sales insight based on key shopping data matched to actual sales

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IRVINE, CA--October 18, 2013: Autobytel Inc. , the company dedicated to helping automotive consumers and dealers connect online, today announced it has launched the second installment of its Autobytel Dealer Insight Series, a quarterly education program designed to help dealers improve the car buying experience and increase sales.

“Online car buyers are different than before, and the traditional buying funnel we thought we knew has changed”

The information offered in the second Autobytel Dealer Insight Series is supported by online lead data—as well as online buying trends and consumer demographic information—matched to actual vehicle registrations in all 50 states from R.L. Polk & Co.*

The full Autobytel Dealer Insight Series, including videos and results of the entire study, is available at Dealer Training .

Scott Pechstein, VP of National Sales for Autobytel, discusses in the second Autobytel Dealer Insight Series best practice insight for online sales processes, while Joe Verde, President of Joe Verde Sales & Management Training Inc., adds input regarding the off-line in-dealership process.

“Online car buyers are different than before, and the traditional buying funnel we thought we knew has changed,” said Pechstein. “Consumers are more undecided now—usually up until the week they buy—about the car that best meets their needs. That’s why effective traditional sales processes, including the way Internet sales consultants guide consumers to the right car, are more important than ever before. The focus and goal of the Internet process is to sell the appointment, not the car; to establish a line of communication in understanding exactly what the customer needs; and to offer a variety of vehicle options that best meet the customer’s needs.”

The second collection of materials in this series, entitled “The Factors that Influence Car Buying Behaviors” delves deeper into online and real world sales data. Following are highlights:

Household income has a significant impact on consumers buying the brand of interest indicated in their initial quote request (defined as “commitment”), with less commitment represented by lower household incomes and higher commitment represented by higher household incomes. Age impacts commitment too—the younger the buyer, the less committed they are to buying the brand of interest indicated in their initial quote request. Ford, Toyota, and Honda rank as the top three loyalty brands based on Polk Loyalty Rankings (or the top three brands consumers owned before, and then bought again, for their next purchase). Of the total online purchase requests submitted, Subaru, Toyota and Honda consumers were more committed—and bought these brands more often—than any of the brands for which purchase requests were submitted.

The data offered in the second Autobytel Dealer Insight Series forms the basis for best practices outlined by Pechstein and Verde, including:

How and why today’s car buyers are very different than in generations past and how to best meet the needs of these ever-changing consumers. How to change the Internet sales process to continue to reinforce the brand, and to offer a wide array of additional vehicle options to help consumers find the right car to meet their needs, regardless of the vehicle indicated in their initial quote request. The importance of, and the steps involved with, selling the appointment and not the car.

“This series reinforces the fact that most consumers are considering many different vehicles before they visit a dealership,” said Verde. “Even then, 86% of the time they’ll buy a different make, model, trim, color or a vehicle with different options than they thought they wanted to buy when they visited the dealership that day. Salespeople need to create ‘Total Mental Ownership’ with a customer no matter where they come from—whether online or on the lot. Nothing you do will make you more sales, or cost you more sales, than how effectively your salespeople follow the correct steps to selling when they’re communicating with the customer.”

*Autobytel Internet Lead data and R.L. Polk & Co. Vehicle Registration data. Analysis from Q1 2013.

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