Sales Funnels: What Every Marketer Can Learn from Buying a New Car

by | Sep 29, 2016

It was a hot sunny August day in 2009 and I was driving to a business meeting in Basingstoke when an orange warning light appeared on the dashboard of my car. Over the last 2 months this had happened more than once and with the car recently out of warranty the hefty repair bills made me think that maybe it was time for a change.

Later in the day as I was booking the car in with my local dealership I was also hitting Google, looking for ideas on what car to buy next.

Little did I realise at the time, but I was entering a sales funnel.

Many people think the sale starts when you negotiate with the dealer, but in reality it starts much earlier. As I watched YouTube videos of adverts and reviews and read content and opinions on car magazine sites I was starting to put together my shortlist.

That weekend I drove around my local dealerships and found myself sitting in the latest BMW, Mercedes, Audi, Range Rover and Lexus models, trying to work out which car was best suited to me and my family. I was then passing the Jaguar garage. This brand wasn’t really on my list, but I’d seen a few teasers of a brand new model that looked different from the average Jag.

As with the other dealerships, I popped in, had a good look around and sat behind the wheel. There was something about this car that felt special and put a smile on my face.

“Would you like to take it for a test drive sir?”

Up until this point I’d been consuming FREE content. All the reviews, videos and even looking around the dealerships was content the companies made available COMPLETELY free of charge to get me interested in their products.

Something you may not have realised however, is the test drive is NOT completely free.

A test drive is an acquisition product, the second level of content every company should have in its offering.

I know we don’t pay to test drive cars, but we DO give our full contact details. It is that this point the car dealership gets to find out who you are as a prospective purchaser of their product. The best bit is how subtle that acquisition is, the dealer needs your details to put you on their insurance and allow you to drive the car!

Assuming you like the car it will then be time to talk specification…

This is one of the best examples of up-selling / up-serving I know of. I mean, who do you know that buys the base model of a car?

As you review the monthly payments, it is often just a few pounds a month to add the bigger wheels, better stereo, special paint finish, upgraded interior and countless other options. Suddenly your £28,000 car is £45,000… (ask me how I know!!)

Then there is even more options like gap insurance, tyre insurance and fixed price servicing.

The motor trade has known how to take us from FREE to top flight customer for years. The BIG question is, how can you model this in your industry?