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First Impressions and the Sales Funnel

The new sales funnel is engaging potential buyers well before they walk in the store...
It begins the moment consumers become aware of their needs, and then they connect the solution with your business, says Jim Maxim, Jr., President of MaximTrak, a RouteOne company, and Chief Digital Officer for RouteOne.


This sales funnel is primarily online and on mobile. There is a tremendous amount of business to be had, and the competition is waking up. But you might miss out if you don’t have the right hooks and bait in the water.


How soon should you be reaching potential buyers in the sales funnel? It actually starts when they’re only dreaming of a next vehicle purchase, Maxim says. This occurs on search engines and websites consumers visit as they begin considering a new car, truck, or SUV.


You want to be there with ideas about your aftermarket products how they connect to the customer’s dream lifestyle. 

“The consumer’s eventual visit to the 10 by 10-foot F&I office (or Purchase Now click on your online F&I store) is the culmination of 12 to 16 hours of online research on multiple websites, from OEM to third-party sites to your website and physical store. What presence of F&I concepts and values have they seen about your dealership and its services in that time?” --Jim Maxim, Jr.


This tactic may seem new, but it borrows from proven retail innovations pioneered by leading online retailers. When we realize how much sooner these early influences impact consumer purchase behaviors, dealers can organize their conversations, presentations, and interactions to maximum effect across automotive retail.


Maxim notes dealers have multiple ways to engage customers in this process. He suggests first inventorying the touch-points along customers’ engagements with the business. Aside from the apparent website, new-car showroom, and finance office, be sure to seed product ideas at the following touch-points as well, he says:

  • Customer Communications: Promote aftermarket products in your customer/prospect newsletters, social media, and emails. Customers may not understand how these products benefit them, so use this opportunity to educate – link the communication to reviews on your website from users of these products.
  • Service Drive: Dealers who sell prepaid maintenance programs generate about 75% of these products’ sales through proactive service advisor selling in the drive. If you offer this product, be sure advisors promote it correctly – and with every customer.
  • Cashier/Advisor: Train these essential consumer-facing individuals to be aftermarket evangelists, promoting lifestyle value, not products, as in: “We don’t sell tire & wheel; we sell worry-free experiences.”
  • Post-Sale: Back home, many consumers are in mind to hear again aftermarket presentations. About 15% will buy a contract after declining the first time, an Assurant Solutions survey notes. Why not reach back to present road hazard, and wear and tear (mainly if operating a leased vehicle).

Dealerships invested in connecting with consumers at these and other touch points along their shopping journey will sell more product.

“Remember, the vehicle is contributing to a lifestyle the buyer is trying to achieve. So too are the products you offer and how you transact business. That experience needs to be consistent with the brand, and it starts long before you ever meet your customers face to face,” Maxim says.


Reach Jim Maxim, Jr. at


Views: 215

Tags: F&amp, I, funnel, product, sales, touchpoints


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