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Revenue Disruption: Game-Changing Sales and Marketing Strategies to Accelerate Growth by Phil Fernandez

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The New Showroom Floor

The way people buy cars today provides a vivid illustration of just how fast and completely the Internet has changed the buying process. Less than a generation ago, new car buyers had only a handful of independent information resources to help them make a decision about what make or model to purchase. Beyond automakers’ mass advertising and reading reviews in popular car magazines, buyers were essentially forced to trek from one dealer showroom to another to get a feel for their choices and start to make a decision. And the dealer’s sales staff remained firmly in charge of the interaction at each car lot, so much so that the image of a high-pressure car salesman has grown to almost iconic proportions in our popular culture.

Fast-forward to the current day, and all of this has been turned upside down. According to a 2007 Yahoo!-Polk study, fully 88 percent of all car shoppers started their process with online research before ever walking into a dealership. The web is now teeming with resources, such as the remarkable 3-D interactive buying tools hosted by most major auto brands. Competitive pricing information is readily available on the web; look it up on a web buyer’s guide, or ask your Facebook friends what they paid.

As a result, most auto buyers never visit a dealer until they have already made up their mind about the specific made and model they intend to buy. In fact, one recent CarsOnline poll revealed that 44 percent of new car buyers would never ...

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