Why are first impressions important in business? Well, it’s a complicated question, but it can probably be best summed up by the old saying “you never get a second chance to make a good first impression.”

This rings true in all manner of industries and fields. However, it is certainly the case in the uber-competitive automotive world, where establishing your brand and retaining customers could be the big difference between success and failure.

Let’s delve into the subject of how making a good first impression can have a big impact on the performance of individual teams and how it can lift an entire organisation. Along the way we’ll take a closer view of how workwear can be a compelling factor in quickly winning the trust of your teams — and the customers who come into contact with them. We’ll be reserving special attention for mechanic’s workwear and driver uniform — two areas that have become much more important in recent years.

Although we’re about to find out why first impressions matter in car dealerships specifically, let’s start by contemplating the small window of opportunity that all businesses have with a new customer.

Why are First Impressions Important in Business?

First impressions play an important role in how new customers view your company. Some studies have suggested that people will form an opinion within just seven seconds, so making your mark quickly might have a big impact on sales and retention. Striking a positive note with new clients could be seen as an indication of professionalism, competence, and reliability.

excited couple in car dealership

Making a good first impression is a great way to establish trust between your dealership and a new customer. Some studies have suggested that 91% of consumers see trust in the dealership as the single most important factor in how they form an opinion. In fact, consumers are believed to value trust even higher than prices (85%).

Establishing trust is, therefore, a great way of laying the groundwork for future retention — which could have a big influence on the amount of sales you make and reduce the pressure to bring in new business. Additionally, if customers quickly come to have faith in your operation they’re much more likely to become brand ambassadors — and word of mouth is one of the best forms of free advertising.

In short, when customers have faith in what you do, they’re much more likely to talk in glowing terms about your business with people who value their opinions — such as close family, friends and coworkers. It’s the ultimate virtuous circle for dealerships. With that established, let’s take a look in more detail at why first impressions matter in car dealerships.

Which Dealership Teams Must Make a Good First Impression?

It’s said that 55% of first impressions are decided by what customers see. Therefore, one of the quickest ways of establishing trust with your dealership could be by thinking about how your employees present themselves. One of the biggest visual cues about your business could come in the form of the uniforms your teams wear. The smarter they are, the likelier it is that they’ll pass the eye test and show customers that you’re running a professional enterprise. So which teams should be your priority when it comes to the question of why first impressions matter in car dealerships?

If you’re considering which automotive teams should be best dressed, it can be tempting to focus primarily on the sales professionals — after all, they’re the people you rely on to bring in new custom. However, you don’t want to create an imbalance. By neglecting other areas, like your mechanic’s workwear or driver uniforms, you could end up signalling to them that they aren’t as important as others in the company. This could have a serious knock-on effect to team morale and cause significant friction.

smiling automotive workers give high fives

Workwear demands serious consideration. You can’t dress everyone the same, as certain uniforms won’t work as well for some teams as they do for others. Additionally, customers can be very perceptive. If they see that all the effort has gone into the more obviously customer-facing roles, they could come to the conclusion that everyone else is being hidden from view for a reason.

Therefore, consistency of workwear also helps to build trust. While a one-off moment of world class customer service at the start of an interaction will go a long way, you need to build on that in every subsequent interaction.

Being dressed consistently is a big part of the puzzle, because when everybody a customer meets is dressed to an equally high standard, then it’s much easier for them to come to the conclusion that the whole organisation shares the same ethos and values. It’s not a one-off snappy dresser, it’s just who you are as a dealership.

To read more about the changing attitude to automotive workwear, you can read our blog on the subject here.

How Important is Quality Mechanic’s Workwear?

Some surveys suggest that only 30% of drivers will go to a dealership over an independent garage for their car service— with two of the main reasons being quality and access to certified technicians. Because the overheads can be higher at bigger dealerships, this often means that the customer can expect to pay a premium for using them.

The additional cost usually means that customers expect more when they use a dealership’s technicians. They don’t just want their car serviced, they want every single step in their journey to be perfect, so all of the smaller details will help to form a more whole impression of the service they receive.

Let’s take a look at how focusing on the mechanic’s workwear could go a long way towards sending the right signals, winning their trust, and bringing them back again and again:

  • Visual Sign of Quality: A stylish choice of mechanic’s workwear gives a clear signal that the customer is dealing with a professional company. If it’s one of the first things a customer sees, they could make a mental note that they’re dealing with the right kind of outfit.
  • Dress for the Role: Technicians need clothing that suits the working conditions. Keeping them cool in light fabrics could put a smile on their face all day and help to create a happier, more productive, working environment.
  • Think About Colours: Even the smartest uniform will have less of an impact if it shows grease and oil stains. Therefore, look for darker mechanic’s workwear to hide unsightly stains and keep your team feeling and looking their best.
  • Make Them Feel Valued: Morale is believed to have a major influence over productivity. Show your technicians that they’re every bit as important as the rest of the dealership and you could earn their trust and respect, which could improve their performance.

Ultimately, a mechanic’s workwear will need to be practical, presentable, and premium quality. Getting it right has the potential to impress customers and assure your technicians that they’re working for a considerate and forward-thinking employer.

To read more about how staff uniforms could help with employee retention, you can read our blog on the subject here.

How to Make Your Mark With a Memorable Driver Uniform

Changes in how consumers interact with dealerships have, in some cases, affected the opportunities to make a good first impression and build trust. Many of these businesses now prioritise customer convenience by offering collections and drop-offs for services and MOTs, handing the delivery driver a much more prominent role.

It’s now becoming increasingly common for the delivery driver to be the first point of contact — making the driver uniform a new factor worth considering in the race to provide perfect customer service and win consumer approval.

It’s important to always assess and review which employees will be able to most easily build trust, and at which juncture they are most likely to do so. In business, everything can be boiled down to these small moments, from that very first impression, right through to shaking hands, every second of customer interaction is pivotal — so you want to do everything you can to maximise positive opinions about your service.

delivery driver in branded driver uniform

This could mean that you need to think about the right driver uniform for vehicle collections and deliveries or, if commercial transport is your main service, how driver uniform can be essential in winning the public’s trust. When contemplating why first impressions matter in car dealerships, clothing can be a compelling factor.

Ultimately, people often make snap judgments about companies and, increasingly, that starts with the driver. Firstly, a poorly-dressed driver could give the impression that your business is hiring the wrong people. Secondly, it could be assumed that the lack of effort seen on the surface runs right through the whole company. However, a smart driver uniform sends all the right signals about professionalism and care.

To read more about the changing role of delivery drivers in automotive, you can read our blog here.

Leighmans: The Only Choice for Mechanic Workwear, Driver Uniform, and More

As the No.1 specialist in automotive workwear, Leighmans excels at providing stylish uniforms that can bring dealership teams together. Our products are designed to offer comfort and practicality, laying the foundations for your staff to feel good and work at a high level all day, every day. From premium mechanic workwear to presentable driver uniforms, our garments have got everything you need to wow customers and get ahead of the competition.

Aside from our stunning range of clothing we also offer high quality car merchandise to delight clients and establish your business as a caring and authentic brand. We understand that the competitive nature of the car industry means that no stone should be left unturned in your quest to make sales and retain business. We’re ready to help you to take the next big step by giving the impression of a prestige operation that truly values your customers.

If you’re looking for premium workwear, excellent customer service, and highly-competitive prices, Leighmans is ready and waiting to help. To learn more about our services, join us on a discovery call today!