2020 has brought some interesting new changes, and has forced us to adopt new methods of engaging with customers. Internet leads have remained constant or increased in the past few months, and creative communication with customers is more important than ever.
How you handle your internet leads showcases your culture, your dealership, and your customer experience. Do you differentiate yourselves from the competition that surrounds you?
With customers looking for creative and new ways to interact with dealerships, you need to have a plan in place concerning how you handle your internet leads, the rate in which you reach out to customers, and how you create buying relationships.
There is much research that speaks to new best practices in the dealership, how to best handle leads, processes, and how customers are shopping in the moment. Who has time to wade through all of it? So here are some facts that stood out to me from a recent Google study:
- 95% of car purchases begin online
- People are searching terms such as “At-Home Test Drives” and Video Conferencing” in relation to buying a vehicle
- Consumers are increasingly looking for a contactless experience
As new technologies emerge and disruptions are added, data grows, morphs, and develops into new, slightly different data. It is almost impossible to have “current” information because current is constantly evolving.
But one thing is certain. People are now used to having a more “remote” experience, and your dealership or BDC needs to be prepared to offer them.
Think about how that affects the way we reach out, market, and talk to customers. It is an ever changing game and we need to either know the most recent rules or start creating some new ones.
A few points to take away from all this data:
Remove the friction from your website
One major takeaway is that customers are searching your dealership and looking for information on multiple platforms. Is your website set up for a multi-device experience? If the majority of customers are doing research on their smartphone, and 70% lead to some form of action within an hour, you need to make sure you are meeting customers where they are. It is not enough to have a functional website, but you need a responsive one. One that provides the information they want without having to minimize to see the text or do the scroll of death to try and find the right margin. Your website should be completely functional on any platform with any device the customer chooses to utilize.
Also--review your call to action buttons and lead forms? When was the last time you discussed these with your website provider? Changing the wording on a CTA could be the difference between a click or an abandonment.
Create a technology first environment with your BDC or staff
Your BDC is the face and voice of your dealership. Make sure they are equipped with the tools they need to surprise and delight your customers.
I was evaluating a dealership’s digital presence the other day, and took a moment to read through reviews. One customer was so impressed that the dealership not only responded quickly, but sent a quick walkaround video of the vehicle, that she knew she was going to purchase from them. She stated they were the only ones who went above and beyond without her asking.
All it took was a simple video.
How is your BDC going the extra step to stand out? Video is the key to this, and there are many ways for your team to utilize it with just an iphone and the right application
If you want to start using video in sales and service, reach out and we can provide best practice tips for you and your team!
Are you prepared for change?
We are creatures of habit in an industry that does not embrace change as quickly as others. The problem with that is our customers ARE changing, and we need to keep up in a manner they find inviting. That means we have to have multiple modes of contact, advertising, and selling. Customers expect to have choices now, and we are more than capable of providing them. Texting, Chat, and Video need to be the focus. One statistic I read today stated that texts get read in under 3 minutes. Videos are the most consumed item online. YouTube is one of the largest search engines.
There is so much to think about that your head would spin trying to keep up.
Let me give you some peace of mind.
There are some tried and true methods that are still effective. You can add any new approach needed, but these are three static forms of contact that must happen.
- You must engage your customer
- You must get them on the phone as soon as possible
- You must set an appointment
With all of this innovation and change, take comfort that there are methods you already embrace. The interesting and exciting part is figuring how to weave the old with the new. How to incorporate video and contactless services with what you know needs to be done.
Don't abandon prior methods, but you can enhance them and make them even more effective. So do what you are doing, but add what you can one step at a time. Master that, and then see if it works.
Because, at the end of the day, it does not matter if it is cool or cutting edge. What matters is if it helps you reach more customers and sell more cars.