min read

An open letter to my car salesman: Four ways to sell a car to a millennial (psst…it’s all about the experience)

by Whitney Mckedy , 04.06.2014

Dear Car Salesman,

I think I'm ready to buy a car now...

I'm a millennial, which I say begrudgingly, because a lot of people label me and my generation as self-involved and entitled. The truth is, I don't really think that's a fair generalization, and I want to work with people who at least try to understand me.

This is a big decision for me, and I’m definitely going to need your help. I want to share a few things about myself and the experience I expect.

I love my phone.

No, I don't mean I LOVE love it. It's me. It's important that you can help me figure out how to connect and use my phone in the car. Is there Bluetooth capability? Auxiliary inputs? WIFI?! What do I have to push to get it to work? How easy is it going to be for me to figure these things out on my own?

I don't think about cars the way my dad does.

He is obsessed with his hot rod. He polishes it every day, replaces the interior....sings to it. That's fine, but to me a car is a way to get somewhere. It's a tool that I can use to make my life easier on the random occasions I'll need it. Dad's identity is totally wrapped up in that car. I don't expect to have the same relationship with my car, so don't try to sell me a trophy piece. I mean...I already have my phone

I know more than you think.

You can be sure I've already done tons of online research, asked my friends on Facebook, talked to my parents, read the reviews, etc. I basically know what car I want already, so just meet me where I am. I started shopping well before I walked in to the dealership - now it's time for me to try it on.

I need an adviser and collaborator, not a salesman.

I'll tell you what I want and what I need to know, and you can help me by explaining how that car will fit into my life. If I'm feeling hesitant to come to the dealership, it's probably because I'm wary of car salesman tactics. It won't work on me, so just be my partner while I search for a car at my own pace. The more pressure I feel, the more likely I am to go somewhere else.


Thanks for hearing me out.


Sent from my phone.


Whitney McKedy (whitney.mckedy@gfk.com) is a Senior User Experience Specialist at GfK and Eugenio Fiore (eugenio.fiore@gfk.com) is a User Experience Specialist at GfK. Specializing in the automotive industry, Whitney and Eugenio help clients innovate to ensure safe and engaging next generation in-vehicle experiences.

Register for our latest webinar, Engaging automotive technology: Designing cars for the young driver, on Thursday, June 26 at 12PM EDT. The session will explore what’s trending with the younger car buyer, who commands a divergent set of needs that shatter traditional automotive game plans. GfK’s Gavin Lew (EVP, User Experience) and Jeff Campana (SVP, Automotive) will help you keep pace with the rapidly evolving relationship between the young driver and vehicle. Contact ux@gfk.com for more information.

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