Fraser Brown, managing director of MotorVise Automotive
The scrapping of all Plan B Covid restrictions in England from Thursday (27th January) gives car dealerships further encouragement to ‘throttle up’ their sales and marketing, says motor trade expert Fraser Brown.
While the automotive industry has reacted admirably to overcome the challenges throughout almost two years of the pandemic, it has nevertheless proved an extremely difficult time.
The industry had almost regained its pre-Covid confidence when November’s emergence of the Omicron variant again created fresh doubt among both dealerships and the car-buying public.
Fraser, the founder and managing director of MotorVise Automotive, said: “There has been a great deal of delayed decisions across the industry, made worse by the uncertainty surrounding Omicron.
“However, I’m now seeing dealerships dusting off business plans and making those decisions. Business is all about confidence and we seem to be returning to something approaching ‘normal’ – boosted by the announcement that in England facemasks will no longer be compulsory in indoor public spaces and the advice to work from home is ending.
“This is reflected by the high demand we are currently experiencing to deliver car sales events, dealership recruitment, and staff training. Now restrictions are lifting, it seems the industry is throttling up.”
He said predictions that car showrooms would be replaced by online are wide of the mark and that customers are returning to pre-pandemic shopping habits. The number of those purchasing cars online remains in single digits.
“People have returned to showrooms. After a house, a car is one of the biggest outlays and people don’t just want to see pictures and videos online, they want to see the car, touch it, try it out for size, and most importantly take it for a test drive.
“Many dealerships have already been promoting unaccompanied test drives, which has only served to strengthen relationships with customers.”
Fraser added that many companies have invested in their dealer management systems, which has liberated salespeople from drawn-out admin tasks, allowing them to spend more time with customers.
“We partner with a host of automotive retailers focused on delivering outstanding customer service experience. They are doing that by attracting people into showrooms with sales events, recruiting staff with the right attitude, and investing in training.
“Taken together, this provides the customer with a quality experience. After all customers don’t often recall what a salesperson says to them, but they do remember how they felt during their visit to a showroom. This is the new essence of sales, and the showroom remains at its heart.”