Tuesday, Jul 29, 2014
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Flammer Ford evolves to meet the needs of Internet-savvy customers


Published:   |   Updated: March 18, 2014 at 02:29 PM

Purchasing an automobile isn't what it used to be.

The Internet has changed the face of car buying and Flammer Ford in Spring Hill has evolved along with it.

"We don't sell cars the way we used to," said General Manager Bobby Triola. The entire process is more focused on making clients comfortable and helping them choose the car that fits their situation.

"My salespeople ask a lot of questions," Triola explained. That way, they understand exactly what the customer wants to buy.

And today's buyer is much savvier. The internet has enabled them educate themselves about everything from pricing to available options. And they come to Flammer Ford with an idea of what they want and how much they are willing to pay.

"We love that kind of customer," Triola said. "It makes our job easier."

The climate has changed significantly in new car sales over the years with dealerships recognizing the negative stigma that high pressured sales left behind. Changing the approach to a more guided service has helped the industry peel away the negatives.

And changes continue to become more apparent as dealerships like Flammer Ford prosper in the wake of recovery.

Flammer Ford has done business in the same location for more than 26 years and Triola believes it is due, at least in part, to the fact that the company is family-owned and community-driven.

"We want to make it a fun experience," Triola said. "I want customers to feel comfortable, welcomed and not intimidated. That's my goal here, to make sure everyone is treated like family."

The sales department has been refined and tweaked to appeal to the new buyer that an economic downturn helped to remold.

Still, many of the sales team and staff have been with Flammer Ford for years, which offers a of mind that helps customers build trust in the dealership, Triola said.

Pricing, he said, is an important factor in the process. Yet coming to a mutual agreement on price between the customer and Flammer Ford is the easy part.

Flammer Ford will meet or beat any advertised price from dealerships outside of Hernando County, offsetting the fallacy that customers can get a better deal if they travel, Triola said.

All dealerships pay the same price for new inventory, he said.

"We can give you just as good a deal as they can," Triola said

Dealerships that remain strong in a community for as long as Flammer Ford do not succeed by accident. Each puzzle piece to their positive ranking came from the successful sale or service job for a client, many of whom live in Hernando County.

Triola's office has direct access from the showroom, so he is visible to every customer that walks in. That is an important part of the showroom design, he said, because it allows customers the comfort of knowing the dealership is run like an open book.

It is important, Triola said, that customers enjoy their experience at Flammer and tell their friends and families about their experience. There is no better advertising than a satisfied customer.

"We give the best service we can to the people that live here," Triola said. "And they support us. If it weren't for the people of Hernando County, we wouldn't be here."

Email Hernando Today correspondent Kim Dame at damewrites@yahoo.com.

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