Welcome to My new CEO blog!

With a nod to all the new ways we share information, and a desire to connect more directly with our customers and friends, welcome to the Brickell Motors Blog and thanks for stopping by. Count on the latest information about the auto industry, as well as some of what we have learned about doing business in our community.

Over the past 30 years I’ve witnessed many changes in the car business; from the surge of Japanese automakers in the 80s to the shift to SUVs and trucks in the 90s, and recently the rise of hybrids and new technology. But the most significant change to the car business in the past several decades has had nothing to do with products, performance, efficiency or economics.

The Internet.
More than any single development, the Internet changed our industry fundamentally and I think for the better. Consumers now have more information, online at their fingertips, than ever before. Whether features, pricing or background information, today we’re working with our most astute buyer ever.

The group that best showcases the change is the Millennial Generation, what’s often called Generation Y. Consumers born from the early 1980s to the early 2000s that grew-up with the Internet. They’ve always purchased products and services online, and expect anyone selling anything today to have an online presence. Most millennials never used a travel agent, have rarely stepped into a bookstore, may have never waited in line to buy ticket to a concert, and infrequently picked up a printed newspaper, much less subscribing to one. They don’t share their parents or grandparents life experiences, and most critically, they shop differently.

Today, the reality is that for most any retailer or service provider to succeed, they must tailor their shopping experience to the expectations of millennials. In our business, that means modifying decades-old sales techniques and business practices which required that customers come to us. Once they had no choice, but today they do. Millennials may like to touch and feel products like the rest of us, and get the “behind the wheel” experience like previous generations, but they are in no way limited to them.

Here are a few of the ways we’ve learned to be better connect with millennials:

Transparency is Key.
Begin with the fact that, as a group, Millennials are the best-educated and informed client we’ve ever had. Before ever stepping foot in a dealership, they typically research cars online. They understand features and selling points before we ever get a chance to present them face-to-face. And because pricing information is so widely available online, and savvy customers now have a better understanding of our products, we need to embrace transparency.

Millennials are accustomed to seeing a price online and paying it. They prefer not to haggle and know what a fair price is before they reach us. They want to see their options and make the most of their time. The upside for the car industry is we can now offer a sale price that will be honored by both parties. But be wary of hard-sell negotiation tactics because for the millennial customer another seller is always just a click away.

Encourage Sharing because it Builds Loyalty.
Selecting a symbol for the millennial generation is simple: The Smartphone. It’s their lifestyle hub, and serves as a one-to-one and group communication tool, research device and sharing super machine. Individually written posts, photos and videos created on smartphones are instantly shared across growing and changing social networks. Social sharing channels may come and go but the act of sharing is no fad. Millennials share their experiences readily, and for retailers and service providers, this offers a powerful tool and an opportunity that shouldn’t be missed.

We’d like all of our customers to post a photo or video of their new car, product or item of clothing. It not only offers a moment of joy for the customer (and retailer), it’s a genuine and authentic expression of goodwill that can be developed into brand loyalty. Consider ways to encourage your clients to share their buying experience through review sites, social channels or just taking a selfie with their new purchase. If you do a good job, great customers can become raving fans.

Consider their World View.
How we buy a car is where we again see how the millennial worldview differs dramatically from their parents. Baby Boomers aspired to buy a car, pay it off and “drive it ‘til the wheels fall off,” dreaming of the day without car payments, if we couldn’t pay cash and avoid financing charges in the first place.

Millennials just entering the workforce are more comfortable with payments. Their budgets already include monthly payments for rent, insurance and smartphones. Car payments are a viable purchase option and just another payment. Many see themselves making payments forever, and because of it feel less urgency to pay off their vehicles. In the car business, we’ve adjusted our view of pricing accordingly.

At Brickell Motors, it’s all part of how we’ve embraced millennial consumers, as properly a big part of our customer base. I hope sharing some of what we’ve learned will be of value to you. We’ll regularly post here with helpful news and information about the automotive industry and other issues important to our community.

We’re looking forward to a productive dialog and welcome your thoughts – we’d enjoy hearing from you!

Make it a Great Day!