Using modern sales techniques to break through the screens and attract in-market Gen-Z car shoppers.

As Gen-Z enters the workforce and inevitably enters the pool of potential car buyers, sales teams are scrambling for ways to attract and interact in ways that are even more unique than the approach they used with millennials. Dealerships that adapt to the digital sales format will win in the years to come.

Below I’ve outlined some of the ways to stand out from your competition and even other salespeople at your dealership.

Please Leave A Message After The Beep.

Tip number one isn’t exactly earth-shattering news, but let’s be honest – no one wants to answer the phone anymore.

Your BDC should be focusing on less intrusive forms of communication. This includes (opted-in) texting, face-time walk-arounds, and emails that are simple, transparent, and written in a more conversational manner.

Gen-Z recognizes templates and will stop replying if they think it’s a bot or someone simply copying and pasting canned responses.

Breaking away from what you have been trained since you started selling cars might feel like a struggle at first, but once you see how quickly someone in this age demographic will respond to a text message instead of answering a phone – you will be hooked.

In fact, the team at research from BankMyCell has found through researching Gen-Z shoppers that they find phone calls “too time-consuming”. So if they feel like it’s a waste of time, why would you want to be someone intentionally wasting their time? The only major stipulation for texting with your customers is consent.

The TCPA (also known as the Telephone Consumer Protection Act, requires any and all businesses and organizations to get written consent from individuals before sending them any text messages.

Usually, it’s as simple as a YES or NO response from the customer. There are a number of amazing companies out there that help with this initial text message Opt In / Opt Out process to avoid risking any fines or unhappy customers.

But, with all of that being said, it’s definitely time to cut the cord.

Hand touching phone

Your Package Is Out For Delivery.

Tip number two is if a customer has moved to the bottom of the funnel, they more than likely know more about the vehicle you are selling than you do.

Gen-Z car shoppers meticulously research the vehicle they intend to purchase. 9 times out of 10 they will decline a test drive simply because they know what they want ahead of time.

The idea of focusing on getting a customer in for a test drive is old school. Adapting to home delivery and home e-signing is the best way to close deals with customers not interested in coming to the showroom.

According to the market research firm J.D. Power, back in 2020 millennials bought new vehicles more than any other age group, accounting for an impressive 32% of total new-car sales. This is the first time this age group has purchased more new vehicles than boomers.

Wild, right?

Even more interesting, those millennials were almost twice as likely as boomers to shop for their next vehicle 100% online or from their phone, according to


Picture of Car

Hidden Prices? Seems Pretty Sus.

Tip three is all about transparency.

And for those not in the know, sus is short for suspect – and if you’re not being transparent, that’s exactly what you will be labeled as.

Gen-Z loves gaming, but not when it comes to their money. If you plan on playing the game, know that they are ready to play it also.

As we all learned with millennials, the moment you leave them alone in the showroom, they are on their phones and researching everything you are putting in front of them and calling out inconsistencies.

Gen Z is even faster to call you out on pricing changes and add-ons they did not ask for.

If you take a moment to go to Reddit, you’ll see full instructions for Gen Z shoppers on how to not be taken advantage of when working with car dealerships.

Be honest. Be transparent. And above everything else, do not talk down to them. Young does not mean uneducated.

To make things even easier for you, I’ve included a couple of these Reddit discussions below.

Please keep it on the down-low for me, I don’t want to be shunned from the showroom chats.

No Cap: You Have To Adapt. 

The automotive industry is going through a major transformation right now, those that adapt will see great success. Those that don’t – well, you know the ending.

With the rise of custom factory orders and fewer acquisitions, now is the time to really hone in on your people skills. Modern sales will be centered around being genuine and transparent.

Take note of the tips above and I assure you, you’ll get some golden reviews from Gen-Z shoppers.

The team at Little Black Book said it extremely well while researching Gen-Z behaviors:

For Gen-Z, 71% say that they need to be aware of all the buying options available to them – making them more likely to engage with competitors and more likely to buy based on research than brand reputation.

Add to that the fact that, 70% agree that they’re less loyal to brands than previous generations. In today’s world loyalty is earned through social media, positive reviews and memorable consumer experiences.

Dealerships need to capitalize on this to replicate traditional brand stickiness. To win, dealers need to make the buying process accessible, seamless, easy and memorable.

Ed Howarth

Managing Director, Global Clients, OLIVER Agency

Long quote, right? But what does it boil down to?

The short of it is that you need to not look down upon these potential customers and fully expect them to come to the buying table aware of any potential “fluff” you may throw at them. If you want to close the sale – be transparent and respectful of their time.

Who Does This Kid Think He Is? 

For those wondering who I am, my name is Brian Michael West.

I’ve been in the automotive industry for 13 years and have worked for various marketing agencies around the nation. My goal has always been to find new and innovative ways to reach younger demographics through clever campaigns, unique conversation approaches, and plain old honesty.

With the help of third-party data providers, I’ve been able to assist hundreds of dealerships to sell more cars and turn customers into advocates.