When Tesla entered the market in 2008, they were the only option for electric vehicles. They were also priced in such a way that they were only available to luxury car owners. Now, electric vehicles have become far more affordable and accessible — but for car salespeople who have spent years selling more traditional cars, trucks, and SUVs, selling EVs is a new challenge.
What will it take to effectively sell electric vehicles? Here are some tips and tricks for salespeople who may find themselves struggling.
Understanding Market Hesitation:
Electric vehicles are becoming an exciting way for drivers to continue with their daily commutes while doing their part to protect the environment, but there is still a substantial section of the market that is hesitant to adopt this new technology.
There are plenty of options out there to choose from, with automotive manufacturers planning to release upwards of 600 new EV models between 2021 and 2025.
In spite of this excitement, there is still quite a bit of market hesitation coming from the consumer side of the marketplace. A 2019 study found that in spite of a large number of consumers showing interest in purchasing an EV — anywhere from 36 to 80% depending on the market demographics — less than 5% actually convert from interest to purchase.
Selling an electric vehicle in this market means understanding that market hesitation and not letting it discourage you from trying to sell EVs in the first place.
Understand That EVs Aren’t Going Anywhere:
There have been a remarkable number of green and sustainable trends that have come and gone through the years, with the ones that remain proving their worth thanks to fanatical support.
One thing that isn’t going anywhere any time soon — especially with the push to ban petrol vehicles — is the electric vehicle. Ford, one of the biggest automotive manufacturers in the world, recently invested $11 billion in EVs, releasing the Mustang Mach-E SUV which is expected to roll off the assembly line in 2021.
EVs are growing more quickly in markets like China and Europe than they are in the United States. China has 44% of the planet’s EVs currently, with Europe coming in second with 31% and the U.S. only accounting for 17%. These numbers will still continue to grow as the world collectively moves forward toward a zero-emission future, and the U.S. will find itself having to play catch up with the rest of the world.
A Time-Consuming Process:
Despite what popular media might try to portray, buying a car isn’t something that happens instantly. On a good day, it can take a few hours — on a bad one, the process can stretch for days. When a salesperson is concerned about securing as many sales as possible, they always aim for the good days.
One of the biggest challenges with selling an EV is that they take so much longer to complete a sale. According to some industry experts, it can take up to four times as long to sell an electric car as a comparable internal combustion engine (ICE) one. This can lead to salespeople ignoring or overlooking potential EV sales in favour of something that will help boost their numbers quicker.
It’s not easy to overcome this challenge without incentivising EV sales over ICE engines — though in the U.K. this may become necessary as the country plans to ban the sale of new petrol- and diesel-powered ICE vehicles by 2030.
EVs Are the Future:
It isn’t just the EVs that need our attention — it’s the infrastructure that is going to support them. Selling an electric car or truck will likely get easier as time goes on, becoming just like selling an ICE vehicle, but for the moment, it takes a little bit of patience and a lot of understanding to successfully sell these vehicles.
No matter how we look at it, electric vehicles are the future of transportation and we have a limited window to adopt them.
Oscar Collins is the founder and editor-in-chief at Modded. Follow him on Twitter @TModded for frequent updates from the Modded team.
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