It’s pretty common knowledge that a good salesperson can have tremendous impact within a dealership. Their ability to explain the product, manage relationships, listen to the needs of customers and provide solutions puts them in a unique category within dealer operations. However, a recent car buyer study has revealed that good car salespeople may be more valuable than ever before.

This past June, Dealer Communications covered the results of a recently completed Martiz Research New Vehicle Customer Study. According the results, salespeople were deemed the most influential source of information by car buyers in the U.S.

According to the research findings, here are the top ten sources of influential information:

  1. Salesperson at the dealership (21.9 percent)
  2. Family/ friend/ word of mouth (18.7 percent)
  3. Consumer guides (18.4 percent)
  4. Dealer’s/ manufacturer’s websites (8.6 percent)
  5. Third-party websites (6.4 percent)
  6. Automotive magazine reviews (6.1 percent)
  7. TV advertisements (4.0 percent)
  8. Dealer’s/ manufacturer’s brochures (3.2 percent)
  9. Dealer/Manufacturer-sponsored event (2.4 percent)
  10. Newspaper advertisements (1.7 percent)

While there is certainly plenty of hype surrounding new technology and social networks, managers should consider those channels a complement to a dealership’s in-person sales efforts. While they certainly can be effective when applied at the right moment, new tools can’t always compete with handshakes and face-to-face conversations.