A recent survey by AAA found that one in five Americans will likely choose an electric vehicle for their next automotive purchase, up from 15 percent in 2017.

While there may be a gap between intention and actual behavior (EVs make up only around 1 percent of the market), it’s clear that electric cars are finding broader mainstream appeal as consumers take on a more environmentally focused mindset and pine for more advanced technology with lower long-term costs.

In spite of this rapidly growing trend, many dealerships are still not prepared to sell or service electric vehicles, and they struggle to customize their processes to accommodate these unique cars. Here are a few things car dealers can do to take an early competitive lead in the race to sell electric vehicles.

Train dealership staff

In dealerships, there is often a distinct lack of consistency when it comes to electric vehicle knowledge.

Some salespeople are educated and ready to help customers find the right EV, while others may feel unprepared and revert back to selling conventional gasoline or hybrid cars when pushed outside their comfort zone. This inconsistency can cause customers to lose trust in your business and leave them with a negative perception.

In order to bridge this gap, dealers need to encourage their salespeople to know the ins and outs of electric vehicles in order to make the best possible recommendation to customers looking to buy one—including technological features, environmental benefits and charging capabilities. Additionally, service departments need technicians equipped to properly service and repair electric vehicles.

Salespeople should also be made aware of the numerous rebates and tax incentives involved in purchasing an electric vehicle. In several states, even the dealership receives incentives designed to encourage and motivate their staff to sell electric cars.

Become an EV hub

Another issue with electric vehicles in dealerships is the lack of accessibility to the consumer. EVs often are often not visible on the lot to view or test drive, and marketing material or ownership information is rarely readily available.

While it may not seem important now, electrification will eventually dominate the industry, so it’s best to make your dealership an attractive place for people to buy EVs. This includes installing public charging stations on the lot and tweaking your marketing and digital strategies to better target electric car customers.

Stock more electric vehicles

Obviously, catering to the consumer demand for electric vehicles requires dealers to purchase more EVs themselves as inventory. ADESA provides tools like LiveBlock and DealerBlock that allow you to review run lists for electric vehicles, add EVs to your watchlist, bid and buy online, make use of advanced search options to find exactly what you’re looking for and much more.