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How to succeed with electric vehicle sales

For the first time ever, retailers’ forecourt stock of electric vehicles (EVs) is surpassing customer demand. But far from being a problem, EVs are becoming an increasingly attractive opportunity for retailers in the long run.

There are a number of reasons for this, including the relatively low stock levels of internal combustion-engined cars, making EVs more readily accessible. Additionally, there are more EV models around nowadays, especially on the used market as cars that were initially acquired on lease agreements are traded in.

However, EVs are a very different proposition from ICE vehicles, and customers generally don’t have the same level of awareness and expertise on them. This means they’re relying on your sales staff much more to give them the advice and help they need, and so training and upskilling your workforce on EVs is essential to build trust and opportunities.

This blog gives you three top tips that can help you develop confident, long-lasting customer relationships that can boost your EV sales conversion rate.

Addressing common concerns

It’s crucial that your sales team know the most likely questions that customers will ask at the initial enquiry stage, and have the accurate information to hand in order to answer them.

For each EV model you sell, they should be aware of price points, battery size and condition, distance range, charging options, warranty, and maintenance history. Ideally, they’ll also understand how these figures stack up against similar vehicles, so the information can be put into better context. This can help dispel any uncertainties that customers might have, not just in purchase but in long-term ownership, too.

In the same vein, there are also a number of concerns that customers regularly raise as they progress through the sales journey that they’ll be seeking positive answers to. These include:

  • Range anxiety: EVBOX research has found that half of EV drivers feel uncertainty about always being able to charge when they need to, especially accessing charging points on long journeys.
  • Battery degradation: understanding the practical lifespan of an EV’s battery, and the cost of replacing one when needed and dispelling some of the myths around battery degradation that customers may believe.
  • Safety risks: given the high voltages, hot temperatures, and flammable batteries involved with EVs, customers will want to understand how charging and driving an EV is safe.
Salesman showing woman how to charge electric vehicle
Terminology tips

The language and jargon involved with EVs can be substantially different from those associated with ICE motoring. If your sales staff aren’t up to date with them, or can’t put them into simple, layman terms that customers can understand, then building interest or enthusiasm for EV sales can be extremely difficult. As an industry, there’s many terms and acronyms widely used internally that customers won’t be familiar with, so language should be clear and in context.

These definitions put some of the key principles and concepts of EV motoring into a form that everyone can understand:

  • Brake recuperation or regeneration: when energy produced by braking is recovered and recycled back into the battery
  • Cost per kWh: the energy cost of the car, equivalent to the cost of a litre of petrol or diesel
  • Pure EV: a car that runs on electricity alone and releases zero emissions
  • Smart charging: a system where the EV varies its rate of charge at different times of day, taking in more charge at times when electricity is cheaper

Of course, delivering this level of simplicity won’t be practical or possible in every situation. But making an effort to improve customer understanding of EV technology can help them feel more confident about shifting to electric motoring, and help them understand real-world use.

Utilising video to promote EV sales

Video has a vital part to play in delivering the jargon-free, reassuring, informative detail covered in both of the points above. That’s because it’s an easy and accessible way to get points across, and enables information to be personalised to the specific queries and concerns of the individual customer.

At the initial enquiry stage, a well-judged, personalised video can be immensely powerful in building trust and emotional engagement. Not only can the customer get the information they need, but they can also experience the car in virtual form before they visit the showroom. Our research has found that 84% of customers find video to be a valuable part of the client experience. We recommend keeping videos short and putting in as much personalisation as possible. Our recent blog on best practices for sales videos can give you further advice in this area.

In the longer term, video can also be useful in the workshop when EV repairs or maintenance are required, where any safety concerns or other technical details can be addressed fully. Given more than 40% of customers are more willing to approve repair work if they receive a video beforehand, these videos can make the difference when trying to generate workshop revenue.

In summary

With EVs becoming increasingly commonplace in the years to come, retailers will need to readjust their business strategies and approach to sales. With some customers feeling more ready than others to transition to EVs, it’s critical that sales teams can build knowledge, confidence and trust in customers. Gaining that knowledge themselves is a big part of that, but delivering it in simple, accessible ways (such as jargon-free, personalised video) is just as important.

Want to get on the front foot and make the most of each and every EV opportunity? CitNOW can help – learn more here.