- Dave Siebenaller does car deals from start to finish, including the finance paperwork.
- He has rearranged the traditional order of steps taken in a car deal to make the most of car shoppers' time.
- Siebenaller regularly delivers cars and paperwork to his customers' homes or workplaces.
FINDLAY, Ohio — Dave Siebenaller, the Internet sales consultant at Warner Nissan, has reworked the sales process at his dealership to create a better experience for his customers while reducing the hassle that often comes with buying a car.
In fact, when he meets new customers, he makes a point of telling them up front that he plans to make the process easy and enjoyable. Then he proves it.
The 30-year-old salesman decided that by changing the normal car-sale formula, he could make the whole trip to the dealership easier for his customers — and faster, too. One of the first changes he made to his process was built around customer trade-ins.
The trade-in appraisal process can be one of the most time-consuming parts of buying a car. This step is usually one of the last steps in making a deal, and for the customer, includes time spent waiting in the showroom while the used-car manager comes up with the trade-in offer.
Instead of waiting until the end of the deal, Siebenaller has moved trade-in evaluations to the beginning of the process. While he and his customers are picking out cars and going over features, he has his used-car manager determine the trade-in's value. By having this done early instead of at the end of the deal, Siebenaller estimates he shaves off a half-hour of wait time for his customers.
After a shopper has picked out a new car, the next step of the deal is usually to test-drive. Many of Siebenaller's Internet shoppers already know the vehicle they want prior to arriving at the dealership, and choose to skip this step. But for those who do get behind the wheel, Siebenaller offers his shoppers the option of test-driving the car by themselves.
"Nobody wants a car salesman breathing down their neck when they are testing out a car, so I let the shoppers go alone if they'd prefer," Siebenaller says. "The customer should be able to focus on the car, not on me."
When the shopper and Siebenaller have struck a deal, he does all of the paperwork himself. This includes collecting the customer's credit information and running through the credit-reporting agencies as well as printing and explaining the final sale documents. There's no transfer to a finance manager. Siebenaller does this to keep the time and people involved in a deal to a minimum.
For the customers who simply cannot make it into the dealership, Siebenaller will work out deal terms over the phone, and personally deliver the car and deal paperwork to the customer's home or workplace.
He also uses the Web and social media as tools to serve his growing customer base.
He has set up a Web site for his customers called Your-Nissan-Guy.com that allows his current customers to schedule service appointments and gives new customers the option to check out inventory or get started on a finance application. Then there's his Facebook page, where he posts pictures of his customers taking delivery of their new rides. These go along with his recently created Instagram, YouTube, and Google plus accounts. He regularly tweets Nissan news to his customers, along with car industry updates.
These extra touches have gained him customer loyalty, awards, and a lot of sales — he makes up about 20 percent of the total sales at his dealership.
Siebenaller employs all his personal and high-tech touch points to show shoppers that he's not a slick car-pushing "boogeyman."
"I'm just a regular guy who understands that the better I treat my customers, the better off I will be in the long run," he says. "I truly want to be my customers' go-to guy."
Edmunds says: Improving the sales process isn't a job just for dealership owners. Enterprising employees at all dealership levels can work toward making car buying easier.