What We Learned From Dealers at NADA 2018

What We Learned From Dealers at NADA 2018

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Automotive vendors at the convention weren’t just touting their latest products and services—they were listening to and learning from what dealers were telling them.

Another National Automobile Dealers Association (NADA) convention has come and gone, and for attendees, it was a whirlwind of information, sensory overload, networking, and for some, a few happenings in Vegas that will stay in Vegas.

During convention hours, when dealers weren’t attending workshops, franchise meetings, or keynote speeches, they were probably wearing out their shoe leather traversing the Las Vegas Convention Center’s cavernous North and Central Halls, checking out the hundreds of exhibitors.

For it’s in the exhibition halls that many of the solutions to the challenges of modern automotive retailing reside. It’s also the place where dealers are likely to be expressing the greatest needs, concerns, and frustrations they experience in running their businesses.

Automotive vendors are the ones with their ears to the ground when it comes to gauging what today’s most successful, technologically progressive dealerships need to be successful—now and in the future.


Alexi Venneri, Co-Founder and CEO, Digital Air Strike™

What we learned: Need for better lead-management tools and technology

Thousands of our dealers visited with our Digital Air Strike team at our NADA booth, so it was exciting to connect with them and get their feedback.

We heard they are looking for better tools and technology to manage leads coming from a variety of sources—including social media.

Our recent mystery shop study of 1,500-plus dealerships confirms the challenges dealers face when responding to leads, as only 16% of the dealers we mystery-shopped responded with a price quote in under 15 minutes, and 64% of the dealerships didn’t respond to leads at all through Facebook Messenger, which is a big area for improvement.

Speaking of Facebook, we spent a lot of time educating dealers on Facebook Marketplace, which uses Facebook Messenger as the primary communication tool. While dealers are excited about this new place to sell vehicles, it’s also another lead source that needs to be managed, so they expressed a need for tools to help them with that. We’ve seen that when it’s managed, Facebook Marketplace increases our dealerships’ pre-owned sales by more than 20%.

The dealers we spoke to were really excited to hear about our new AI messaging technology, Response Path, that uses our chatbots to communicate with car buyers and service customers, qualify them, and bring in a dealership team member when the time is right.

This makes sure all leads are given attention, while also not taking up valuable staff time answering basic questions. Staffing is usually a challenge, so reserving the top team members for the human interactions that can close more deals was well-received by dealers.

Finally, we learned that our dealers love once-in-a-lifetime experiences, including being hosted by us at Wayne Newton’s private estate! The sold-out event treated thousands of them to a private performance, including having Wayne sing “Danke Schoen” from DAS to them.

We were told this party was very much appreciated. We are already working on another one for next year’s NADA.

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