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The Art of Selling Electric Vehicles

Target Staff Training and Build Strategic Relationships with the Right Technology

Up to this point, every automotive retailer perceived “Electric vehicles are a part of the future”. That future has now arrived. The age of EVs is well underway and there are no signs that it is slowing down: plug-in and hybrid/mild hybrid vehicle sales have quadrupled globally since 2015. In addition, when looking at the lucrative used vehicle market, both supply and demand for EVs are rising quickly.

According to the Global EV Outlook 2020, the sale of electric cars reached 2.1 million globally in 2019, surpassing 2018 (already a record year to boost the stock to 7.2 million). It is still a relatively niche market, but it is highly profitable in the pre-owned segment if you can effectively buy, and more importantly, sell these vehicles.

Selling_Electric_Vehicles_WP.jpg
Up to this point, every automotive retailer perceived “Electric vehicles are a part of the future”. That future has now arrived. The age of EVs is well underway and there are no signs that it is slowing down: plug-in and hybrid/mild hybrid vehicle sales have quadrupled globally since 2015. In addition, when looking at the lucrative used vehicle market, both supply and demand for EVs are rising quickly.

According to the Global EV Outlook 2020, the sale of electric cars reached 2.1 million globally in 2019, surpassing 2018 (already a record year to boost the stock to 7.2 million). It is still a relatively niche market, but it is highly profitable in the pre-owned segment if you can effectively buy, and more importantly, sell these vehicles.

Up to this point, every automotive retailer perceived “Electric vehicles are a part of the future”. That future has now arrived. The age of EVs is well underway and there are no signs that it is slowing down: plug-in and hybrid/mild hybrid vehicle sales have quadrupled globally since 2015. In addition, when looking at the lucrative used vehicle market, both supply and demand for EVs are rising quickly.

According to the Global EV Outlook 2020, the sale of electric cars reached 2.1 million globally in 2019, surpassing 2018 (already a record year to boost the stock to 7.2 million). It is still a relatively niche market, but it is highly profitable in the pre-owned segment if you can effectively buy, and more importantly, sell these vehicles.

Selling_Electric_Vehicles_WP.jpg

Up to this point, every automotive retailer perceived “Electric vehicles are a part of the future”. That future has now arrived. The age of EVs is well underway and there are no signs that it is slowing down: plug-in and hybrid/mild hybrid vehicle sales have quadrupled globally since 2015. In addition, when looking at the lucrative used vehicle market, both supply and demand for EVs are rising quickly.

According to the Global EV Outlook 2020, the sale of electric cars reached 2.1 million globally in 2019, surpassing 2018 (already a record year to boost the stock to 7.2 million). It is still a relatively niche market, but it is highly profitable in the pre-owned segment if you can effectively buy, and more importantly, sell these vehicles.

Selling_Electric_Vehicles_WP.jpg
1. Understand the Terminology

Possibly the most important aspect leading to sales success is to understand the terminology. Much of it is new to many and ‘knowing your stuff’ has never been more important. As well as knowing all about your traditional vehicle product and specifications, after all much of an EV is identical to an ICE (Internal Combustion Engine) powered vehicle, it is increasingly important to be able to talk knowledgably about all the various EV components, capacities and capabilities.

Often a customer who is new to the EV market will need careful guidance as to what is the best option for them. We certainly do not want to confuse them or be accused of mis-selling to them in the future. Therefore, knowing your BEV (Battery Electric Vehicle) from your PHEV (Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle) at the top level is vital. As you get into more detail, knowing the difference between kWh (battery capacity) and kW (potential charge delivery rate), or the difference between DC and AC charging or CCS and CHAdeMO is not too complex to learn, but to a potential customer used to a petrol or diesel type for decades, it is critical to get it right.

The OEM will be helping with training and product knowledge, but there are many consumer-orientated sources of information too. Using these will align your knowledge with that of an informed customer.

1. Understand the Terminology

Possibly the most important aspect leading to sales success is to understand the terminology. Much of it is new to many and ‘knowing your stuff’ has never been more important. As well as knowing all about your traditional vehicle product and specifications, after all much of an EV is identical to an ICE (Internal Combustion Engine) powered vehicle, it is increasingly important to be able to talk knowledgably about all the various EV components, capacities and capabilities.

Often a customer who is new to the EV market will need careful guidance as to what is the best option for them. We certainly do not want to confuse them or be accused of mis-selling to them in the future. Therefore, knowing your BEV (Battery Electric Vehicle) from your PHEV (Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle) at the top level is vital. As you get into more detail, knowing the difference between kWh (battery capacity) and kW (potential charge delivery rate), or the difference between DC and AC charging or CCS and CHAdeMO is not too complex to learn, but to a potential customer used to a petrol or diesel type for decades, it is critical to get it right.

The OEM will be helping with training and product knowledge, but there are many consumer-orientated sources of information too. Using these will align your knowledge with that of an informed customer.

1. Understand the Terminology

Possibly the most important aspect leading to sales success is to understand the terminology. Much of it is new to many and ‘knowing your stuff’ has never been more important. As well as knowing all about your traditional vehicle product and specifications, after all much of an EV is identical to an ICE (Internal Combustion Engine) powered vehicle, it is increasingly important to be able to talk knowledgably about all the various EV components, capacities and capabilities.

Often a customer who is new to the EV market will need careful guidance as to what is the best option for them. We certainly do not want to confuse them or be accused of mis-selling to them in the future. Therefore, knowing your BEV (Battery Electric Vehicle) from your PHEV (Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle) at the top level is vital. As you get into more detail, knowing the difference between kWh (battery capacity) and kW (potential charge delivery rate), or the difference between DC and AC charging or CCS and CHAdeMO is not too complex to learn, but to a potential customer used to a petrol or diesel type for decades, it is critical to get it right.

The OEM will be helping with training and product knowledge, but there are many consumer-orientated sources of information too. Using these will align your knowledge with that of an informed customer.

2. Train Your Staff on the Technology

As you expand into this market, you need to make sure your sales team is ready. Across the board, your employees need to become knowledgeable about the features of EVs, but this is especially crucial for your sales staff. One way you can train your employees is through role-playing conversations. Vehicle lifespan, battery specifications, and charging options should be fundamental, base-level information for each EV on your forecourt. Just as you would mention engine performance to a conventional car, you should learn exactly how battery-electric cars perform and convey that information to potential buyers.

It is also critical to avoid grouping all EVs together in one category. EVs can vary significantly in size, range, and performance. A Tesla Model S and a Nissan Leaf will have vastly different features and buyers, despite the fact they are both powered by electric drive trains and use batteries to store the electrical charge. Research-driven customers will want to know which EV best fits their needs, so your staff need to know what sets each one apart. For prospective buyers, seeing their options in person is a key step of their buying journey, and your readiness to engage with them will determine the outcome.

This is more difficult as remote customer interaction has become more the norm of late, so learning how to use video and having that, as a part of your customer journey is a critical piece now. For example, there could be confusion about how charging works. One way to clear up any misconceptions could be to offer a hands-on demonstration to see first-hand how they would charge the vehicle. It is also vital to teach them about the options of an at-home charging device or point them to key apps that can locate publicly available charging stations.

Selling EVs will require a higher degree of technical knowledge, but through coordinated training efforts, your sales staff can embrace opportunities to talk about EVs with prospects.

2. Train Your Staff on the Technology

As you expand into this market, you need to make sure your sales team is ready. Across the board, your employees need to become knowledgeable about the features of EVs, but this is especially crucial for your sales staff. One way you can train your employees is through role-playing conversations. Vehicle lifespan, battery specifications, and charging options should be fundamental, base-level information for each EV on your forecourt. Just as you would mention engine performance to a conventional car, you should learn exactly how battery-electric cars perform and convey that information to potential buyers.

It is also critical to avoid grouping all EVs together in one category. EVs can vary significantly in size, range, and performance. A Tesla Model S and a Nissan Leaf will have vastly different features and buyers, despite the fact they are both powered by electric drive trains and use batteries to store the electrical charge. Research-driven customers will want to know which EV best fits their needs, so your staff need to know what sets each one apart. For prospective buyers, seeing their options in person is a key step of their buying journey, and your readiness to engage with them will determine the outcome.

This is more difficult as remote customer interaction has become more the norm of late, so learning how to use video and having that, as a part of your customer journey is a critical piece now. For example, there could be confusion about how charging works. One way to clear up any misconceptions could be to offer a hands-on demonstration to see first-hand how they would charge the vehicle. It is also vital to teach them about the options of an at-home charging device or point them to key apps that can locate publicly available charging stations.

Selling EVs will require a higher degree of technical knowledge, but through coordinated training efforts, your sales staff can embrace opportunities to talk about EVs with prospects.

2. Train Your Staff on the Technology

As you expand into this market, you need to make sure your sales team is ready. Across the board, your employees need to become knowledgeable about the features of EVs, but this is especially crucial for your sales staff. One way you can train your employees is through role-playing conversations. Vehicle lifespan, battery specifications, and charging options should be fundamental, base-level information for each EV on your forecourt. Just as you would mention engine performance to a conventional car, you should learn exactly how battery-electric cars perform and convey that information to potential buyers.

It is also critical to avoid grouping all EVs together in one category. EVs can vary significantly in size, range, and performance. A Tesla Model S and a Nissan Leaf will have vastly different features and buyers, despite the fact they are both powered by electric drive trains and use batteries to store the electrical charge. Research-driven customers will want to know which EV best fits their needs, so your staff need to know what sets each one apart. For prospective buyers, seeing their options in person is a key step of their buying journey, and your readiness to engage with them will determine the outcome.

This is more difficult as remote customer interaction has become more the norm of late, so learning how to use video and having that, as a part of your customer journey is a critical piece now. For example, there could be confusion about how charging works. One way to clear up any misconceptions could be to offer a hands-on demonstration to see first-hand how they would charge the vehicle. It is also vital to teach them about the options of an at-home charging device or point them to key apps that can locate publicly available charging stations.

Selling EVs will require a higher degree of technical knowledge, but through coordinated training efforts, your sales staff can embrace opportunities to talk about EVs with prospects.

3. Build Strategic Relationships

As EV technology continues to evolve, you may find prospective buyers have more questions and a longer buying process than traditional car customers do. This means it could be necessary to heighten the management of your interactions with specific customers, which can be achieved with effective customer relationship management (CRM) software. Ideally, you want your salespeople to lead customers to a purchasing decision, but it can be difficult to focus your efforts in the right place without an effective CRM. To boost both efficiency and effectiveness, this solution would help your team prioritise tasks and follow-up actions based on the likelihood to buy.

A key part of this is understanding different EV buyer profiles. For example, Tesla and Audi EVs are high-performance vehicles with very advanced technological features, meaning the type of buyer you should target is different from, say, an environmentally-conscious Millennial looking at a Hyundai Kona or Nissan LEAF. That same base of technical knowledge in your sales associates will also help them differentiate between prospective buyers for the various EVs in your showroom, and your CRM is vital support in this area.

Implementing an effective CRM solution also ties back to properly training your staff to sell EVs. You can use real data to coach your employees on both their strengths and weaknesses throughout every customer interaction.

3. Build Strategic Relationships

As EV technology continues to evolve, you may find prospective buyers have more questions and a longer buying process than traditional car customers do. This means it could be necessary to heighten the management of your interactions with specific customers, which can be achieved with effective customer relationship management (CRM) software. Ideally, you want your salespeople to lead customers to a purchasing decision, but it can be difficult to focus your efforts in the right place without an effective CRM. To boost both efficiency and effectiveness, this solution would help your team prioritise tasks and follow-up actions based on the likelihood to buy.

A key part of this is understanding different EV buyer profiles. For example, Tesla and Audi EVs are high-performance vehicles with very advanced technological features, meaning the type of buyer you should target is different from, say, an environmentally-conscious Millennial looking at a Hyundai Kona or Nissan LEAF. That same base of technical knowledge in your sales associates will also help them differentiate between prospective buyers for the various EVs in your showroom, and your CRM is vital support in this area.

Implementing an effective CRM solution also ties back to properly training your staff to sell EVs. You can use real data to coach your employees on both their strengths and weaknesses throughout every customer interaction.

3. Build Strategic Relationships

As EV technology continues to evolve, you may find prospective buyers have more questions and a longer buying process than traditional car customers do. This means it could be necessary to heighten the management of your interactions with specific customers, which can be achieved with effective customer relationship management (CRM) software. Ideally, you want your salespeople to lead customers to a purchasing decision, but it can be difficult to focus your efforts in the right place without an effective CRM. To boost both efficiency and effectiveness, this solution would help your team prioritise tasks and follow-up actions based on the likelihood to buy.

A key part of this is understanding different EV buyer profiles. For example, Tesla and Audi EVs are high-performance vehicles with very advanced technological features, meaning the type of buyer you should target is different from, say, an environmentally-conscious Millennial looking at a Hyundai Kona or Nissan LEAF. That same base of technical knowledge in your sales associates will also help them differentiate between prospective buyers for the various EVs in your showroom, and your CRM is vital support in this area.

Implementing an effective CRM solution also ties back to properly training your staff to sell EVs. You can use real data to coach your employees on both their strengths and weaknesses throughout every customer interaction.

Conclusion
EVs are here to stay, with other possible alternatively fuelled vehicles still to come. Technology is not standing still, so keeping informed and up-to-date has never been so important. While we are still adapting to EVs being more readily available, you can prepare your dealership to sell EVs with straightforward, intentional steps. By training your employees on the technologies behind EVs, prioritising relationships with prospective buyers, and driving home attractive and beneficial incentives in F&I (make sure all sales executives are able to sell EVs not just one or two specialists) your dealership can take charge of EV sales, now.
Conclusion
EVs are here to stay, with other possible alternatively fuelled vehicles still to come. Technology is not standing still, so keeping informed and up-to-date has never been so important. While we are still adapting to EVs being more readily available, you can prepare your dealership to sell EVs with straightforward, intentional steps. By training your employees on the technologies behind EVs, prioritising relationships with prospective buyers, and driving home attractive and beneficial incentives in F&I (make sure all sales executives are able to sell EVs not just one or two specialists) your dealership can take charge of EV sales, now.
Conclusion
EVs are here to stay, with other possible alternatively fuelled vehicles still to come. Technology is not standing still, so keeping informed and up-to-date has never been so important. While we are still adapting to EVs being more readily available, you can prepare your dealership to sell EVs with straightforward, intentional steps. By training your employees on the technologies behind EVs, prioritising relationships with prospective buyers, and driving home attractive and beneficial incentives in F&I (make sure all sales executives are able to sell EVs not just one or two specialists) your dealership can take charge of EV sales, now.

Some further useful data sources are linked below.

  1. EV connector types (Zap), click here
  2. The global electric vehicle market in 2020: statistics & forecasts (Virta Global), click here
  3. Electric car market statistics (Next Greencar), click here

Some further useful data sources are linked below.

  1. EV connector types (Zap), click here
  2. The global electric vehicle market in 2020: statistics & forecasts (Virta Global), click here
  3. Electric car market statistics (Next Greencar), click here
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