New Research Measures Emotions During the Automotive Purchase Process

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Cox Automotive recently measured emotional responses from car shoppers going through the purchasing process from start to finish. 

They noted that customers experienced emotional highs when dealing with an informed salesperson, during the test drive, and at delivery. Lows, on the other hand, came when customers faced trade-in appraisals, negotiations, and financing. It concretely demonstrates the role emotions can have in vehicle sales and exposes areas that could drive a customer away for good.

Playing Emotions Might Make the Sale - But Lose the Customer for Good.

Playing off their current vehicle’s lack of safety features, for example, can feel like a dirty trick. The same goes for encouraging more vehicle than the customer can afford and being falsely optimistic about eligibility for prime financing terms and rates. 


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Not only can this damage a salesperson’s credibility and all but eliminate potential referrals, but it affects the dealership as a whole. 

•    Despite knowing they’ve been played, they may still complete the sale. But know this: there’s a very good chance they will never return.

•    The dealership loses referral business directly related to the sale. Every customer is an opportunity to generate the most effective advertising – referrals – and they are free. That disappears when a customer’s emotions are toyed with during a sale. 

•    Not only are referrals lost but negative reviews and word-of-mouth experience tales paint a poor picture of the store and its staff.

•    Service department income is affected. Commonly, customers spend from $800 to $1,200 annually in the service department, which becomes unrealized income. 

•    Accessory sales, as well as collision repairs, are taken elsewhere, to a shop that the customer believes they can still trust. 

While the decision to purchase a car is indeed an emotional one, it’s even more important to ensure the sales experience is honest and transparent. Never attempt to lead a sale based on emotions, or risk losing the customer permanently afterward.

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