Looking to sell more cars online or in the showroom – are you matching the 7 preferred learning styles?

When it comes to car buying, whether a prospective customer wants to browse, research or buy, today’s motor dealer needs to operate an omnichannel approach.

John Hughes MD 

This means providing customers with a seamless experience, whether they’re online from a desktop or mobile device, by telephone, or in the showroom itself.

Where dealers can give themselves an edge is by recognising that the content, presentation and tone that support every customer touchpoint matter and that with a little imagination and not a huge amount of work they can make it easier for more people to buy from them.

Meeting Customers’ Preferred Buying Styles

Since the 1970s, educationalists have recognised that there is a diverse range of learning styles and that matching teaching to the student’s preference helps to deliver the best results. There are seven identified learning styles; visual, verbal, physical, logical, social, solitary and aural. In creating an optimal online and PoS experience, dealers can develop their content, presentation and tone to support each of these.

A person’s preferred learning style reflects how they absorb, process, comprehend and retain information. This preference is not limited only to education and, while it is reasonable to recognise that the mediums are changing, paper to electronic, the preferred learning style – which is after all what car buyers are completing in their car-buying approach, as they learn about the car, finance and dealer – remains crucial.

Please note, these learning styles are not driven by age, gender or social background – they cross over these barriers.

So how could these 7 styles be reflected in car retailing?

The following table is not rocket science and contains many core practices, which is why it should not be scary!  I hope it serves as a platform to help businesses to broaden their digital proposition, creating broader and more immersive experiences for potential customers who invariably do start their car-buying journey online. At the same time, I aim to challenge dealers to bring some online tools into the showroom.





Visual – pictures, images, and general look/feel.

First impressions and presentation of the dealership and stock.


Visually pleasing presence with authentic, quality, car and site images and audio/videos.


Use product/service infographics.


Display awards and reviews

Verbal – words, both in speech and writing.

Helpful and knowledgeable staff


Data sheets on stock – history and running information.

Write product details with care and passion, it is time well invested.


Back up the description with data on each car/van – history and running information laid out consistently.


Friendly and useful content with a carefully considered and appropriate tone of voice.

Physical – tactical, touch and  feel.

Easily accessible and well-prepared stockTest drives are crucial.

Add tools that enable customers to build/spec their car or select added-value services.


Provide test drive offers.

Logical – data and reasoning.

Data sheets on stock – history and running information.

Data on each car/van – history and running information laid out consistently.


Explanatory videos.


Access to information on added value services (F&I).


Easy access to reviews.

Social – personal interaction.

Personal welcome & service 

Provide time to understand the customer.

Create the business personality in the style and content.


Access to Live Chat or rapid response to online leads/emails or calls.


Appropriate social media posting of stock but especially the business and its culture/values.

Solitary – self-discovery.

Make it easy for people to self-discover in the showroom with easy access to experts.

Provide a self-serve journey.


Ensure privacy policies etc are clear .

Aural -sound and music.

Use background music in the showroom.


Provide access to explanatory videos in the showroom.

The use of explanatory videos

Personal welcome through video.


Welcoming and useful telephone answerphone .


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