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Back To School Came Early In 2023, With Stepped Up EV Training

As I traveled the country, this summer, talking to car dealers about omnichannel advertising programs, one thing became clear to me: Dealerships are very serious about the burgeoning EV market. So serious, in fact, that they are rolling out the most extensive and expansive sales training initiatives the auto industry has seen in quite some time. And the timing couldn't be better.

With the Inflation Reduction Act being signed into law at the federal level, and with many state governments passing laws, all their own, to further incentivize EV sales (California is, obviously, among them) the EV market is doing quite well today. According to Cox Automotive, nearly 300,000 EVs were sold in Q2, 2023, a whopping 48% increase over Q2, 2022. Those sales have helped propel EVs to 8% share of the U.S. car market, up from 5% a year ago.

Dealers tend to believe, to continue to move EVs off of lots and into driveways, salespeople need to know more than just a vehicle's features -- they need to know about a host of topics from rebates and incentives to charging solutions.

To close a sale on an EV two things must happen. The first thing is the salesperson must get the prospect in the car. Data suggests that the likelihood of purchasing an EV increases, dramatically, when a prospect has actually driven in the car. The second thing is the salesperson must be a subject matter expert when it comes to buying and owning an EV.

It is no longer good enough to be a subject matter expert on the car itself; sellers of EVs have to be expert in all facets of the EV experience, from deal financials through charging options in the prospect's neighborhood, or have immediate access to people with that detailed information.

Dealers want their sellers to be able to inform the conversation. They believe, sellers will need to be able to have a complete and comprehensive discussion with buyers across all topic areas if they are going to be successful and move cars.

As a result, dealerships are increasing the flow of information around tax rebates and incentives, cost of ownership, the charging process, even downloading and setting up the EV's brand app. Will every seller need to know the specifics tied to charging installation? No. But someone in the dealership should be able to speak to at-home, charger installation and have access to a few names of licensed electricians who can do charger installations.

I think selling EVs is similar to selling ominchannel advertising programs. Sure, you can close a quick deal every now and again with a buyer who is open and anxious. But most prospects need to see the complete picture. What is the creative concept? Where will my ad appear? What will the reach and frequency metrics associated with the campaign? Will the campaign lead to product sales?

Only EV sellers who do their homework, and can speak to the EV experience holistically, will be able to successfully navigate the next several years.



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