Automotive Digital Marketing

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An in-depth report based on interviews with 250,000 customers of more than 250 dealerships tells us customers most often walk without buying because we wandered off or away from our Road to the Sale.


We’d like to believe customers’ excuses for not buying – “It’s not in my budget” or “I'll be back tonight with my wife" – but the facts say differently.


A report by an Unsold Research Call Center found that 27% of customers who left without buying did so for reasons within dealership management control. Ouch!


Here’s what real customers said about why they left a dealership without buying:

  • Rude and disrespectful treatment by sales personnel
  • Sales staff not being knowledgeable about product or financing information
  • Appointments not kept by the proper sales staff member that customer was expecting to meet with Condescending attitude and not working directly with or talking to a female when a male was present with her
  • Not being respectful of customers’ time by back and forth communication with sales desk manager
  • Manager who took a turn seen by the customer as rude or too pushy and lacking empathy


Without commitment to (and accountability for) following your Road to the Sale with every up, the entire sales process falls apart. How is yours?


Here’s what research tells us are the most frequent missteps:

  • The product presentation
  • The demo drive
  • The service introduction and walk
  • The manager TO interview


Take detours on this road at your own risk. Want to know more about improving sales, be-backs and decreasing third-party leads, click to download the full report; “An Auto Dealer’s Guide to Outselling the Competition.”


Views: 990

Tags: Back, CAR-Research, CRM, Customer, Kubicki, Kurt, Management, Relationship, be, car, More…customer, follow, retention, sales, up


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Comment by Kurt Kubicki on November 21, 2011 at 11:20am

Thanks for all your comments! David, to address your question, unfortunately that is not something that was tracked in the study, but I would comment that at some point a customer makes up their mind to get the deal done, and just buy the car so he/she can start enjoying the second largest purchase they have probably ever made, rather than go back online and continue the dance. Impulse plays a huge part in the buying cycle as we know, and once the customer decides which car they want and stops into at a dealership, over 50% of them buy within 3 days. The internet has certainly collapsed the buying cycle.

Comment by Tom Gorham on November 19, 2011 at 5:43pm

It's all about professionalism.  The road to the sale is not dead, but some never knew it didn't include rudeness and pressure tactics.  What has changed is that customers now have higher expectations and will walk out if they feel pressured or insulted or misled.  The expectation for excellence in customer service is being enforced with Social Media (word-of-mouth) and Customer Reviews.

David, I think most customers have already been on the Internet before they come in.  They have often researched the vehicle to death and know more about it than the salesperson.  They have also researched price and will not feel kindly about being insulted.  It is important to engage your customer and find out what he/she already knows before you hit him or her with a number that will make him or her cringe.  Why would anyone let their customer out the door with a number that's higher than their Internet price anyway?

Comment by Ernie Kasprowicz on November 15, 2011 at 7:01am

Thanks Kurt for sharing the results of the survey as they leave a lot of room for improvement.  I wonder how different the results of those surveyed could have been if only they were truly treated in a manner with the respect we would expect for ourselves.  The culture within a dealership where the pressure is to buy now, immediately, can foster the environment to run roughshod over the customer.  It is a catch 22 because of course we want the sale now, but it is a matter of how we go after and get it.  I interpret the results of the survey as dealership personnel behaving with a me first, my agenda attitude.  From top to bottom a sales team needs to keep informed, listen to the customer, follow a non-confrontational sales process and treat the customer with the dignity and respect they would expect for themselves.  Create the environment where customers want to buy and they will. 

Comment by David Ruggles on November 14, 2011 at 3:43pm

I'd be curious to know how many went home to use the Internet to negotiate price.  Why would a consumer want to stay in the dealership if they felt they could have more control by using the web?  This accelerating trend seems to have been ignored here.

Comment by Mauro L Schifino on November 14, 2011 at 2:44pm

It's amazing. With all the reseach, data & most importantly, all the time, dollars spent training, this data hasn't changed in 30 years!!!

Comment by Guy Manasse on November 14, 2011 at 1:35pm

Good Data Kurt, thank you for sharing. The key in every point above is management. How does Management talk about the customers, train and speak about customers in Sat. meeting, while desking a deal. If they talk bad about customers, that attitude will filter on too the floor like Ivy on the vine. If you do not kill the root it will still filter on the floor. The sad thing is anyone that does not show empathy usually does not realize it, and being the Manager no one dares to tell him, so it just continues and good sales people just leave and will not tolerate seeing people miss handled. Not everyone buys 1st time even from the Cardone's of the world, and I am sure Grant would agree. Do all the steps, proper T.O., Follow-up, and your odds are you will get most of the sales.

Comment by Ralph Paglia on November 14, 2011 at 1:18pm

This is fascinating and important research confirming the reasons why people leave a dealership without buying... The most frustrating issue for an automotive marketing is to design, implement and execute a successful marketing strategy, only to have the sales team drop the ball.  I applaud Kurt Kubicki for sharing the insight that comes from studying what thousands of customers say about why they left a dealership without buying the car they intended to purchase when they went there!

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