2020 has faced us with unprecedented challenges at the dealership and in the auto industry as a whole. From social distancing to complete shutdowns, to pent-up demand with waning inventory, we have weathered it all. And we have not yet out of the woods..
Through all of the issues we have been faced with, they have forced us to be creative problem solvers, to look to data for answers, and to focus on the most important element of our business: our customers.
Connecting with Customers
Connecting with customers has become a battle of who can respond to each and every customer with a relevant message in a timely way, while answering questions and bringing value.
Email, phone, and text are our tried and true way of communicating with customers.
The average person spends 2.5 hours per weekday checking personal email at work, and the open rate sits at about 20.81%. (https://www.convinceandconvert.com/digital-marketing/email-marketing-statistics/)
So how do you increase your open rate with emails? What can you say in your message that will prompt them to respond and set an appointment?
If customers are not opening your emails, you need to analyze why. From content, to subject line, to format- you need to be able to diagnose why the customer did not see value in your message.
When I am looking to block everything out and really problem solve, I listen to music. And dealerships generally have that 80s station going, which is what got my mind rolling today. If you are tired of working really hard and getting less than desirable results with your emails, here are a few tips you can try that are proven to increase email opens, engagements, and responses.
And some great songs to go along with them.
Things Can Only Get Better by Howard Jones
Let’s face it. Emails are sent because we are hoping the customer responds. They can reply to our email or give us a call, but we want engagement! That is the #1 result I am looking for when I hit send.
So why should a potential customer reply when I give them All.The.Information. All of it.
It is not the purpose of the email to give them the ability to make a decision if they want to buy. The purpose of the email is to get the person interested, create a reason to contact us, and then start building that relationship.
I worked with a brilliant woman who had an excellent formula for emails. You need to keep them short, simple, and to the point. She would repeat the following formula all the time: 5 sentences or less. Tell them why you’re emailing them, what you would like them to do, how to do that, and ask an engaging question. That question is the most important part, because if you ask the wrong question, or ask it in the wrong way, you will immediately turn the customer off.
- Stay away from questions that can be answered with a simple yes or no.
- Ask open-ended questions that will start a conversation.
- Keep questions towards the end of the email. That will prompt action.
Who are you? The Who
Right now, customers may not be coming into the dealership as quickly as they would have prior to March. But they are shopping and searching at rates higher than we have seen previously. When you have active shoppers who are interested in inventory, but not interested in coming on-lot until the moment of purchase, your need to be able to convey all the reasons they should buy from you and not ABC Motors down the street.
Tell the customers who you are and what makes you different. Lifetime oil changes? Have an image in the email that states that. Awards for customer service? Shout it from the rooftop. 4.9 Google Rating--should be in your template. Free fresh-baked chocolate chip cookies in the showroom? Absolutely!
Creating a virtual relationship before the customer comes on lot is paramount to winning in 2020, and knowing who you are as a dealer and what makes you stand out will help.
Also, focus on community connections and relationships. Highlight your involvement on your website, on social media, and briefly in your email templates to customers when you can. Highlight what you do to give back and people will want to buy from you.
Don’t Stop Believing by Journey
If you send one email and get no response, don’t give up! You will see the highest response rates with the first email, but persistence is key. It may take a few connections to get together, but you will never reach the customer if you don’t keep trying.
Cadence with emails is important, but also make sure your BDC is trained on how to handle each lead source and that they understand the value of the 5 minute conversation. The ability to talk with the customer, listen to what they are looking for, help direct their path and set an appointment is what will make the difference in appointments set vs. appointments shown.
Here’s An Example
Here’s an example of a quick email to a customer I recently sent out:
You recently reached out to me because you wanted to increase your closing percentages on your DMN leads. I would love to get together to review your processes, learn your process for service leads, and discuss what we can suggest to boost those numbers.
When is the best time to connect?
You can either respond to this email with a good time, call or text me at the number below, or click on the Book Now button to book an appointment on my calendar.
I look forward to connecting soon!
Five Sentences, a question, a call to action.
And this works.
Let’s Talk About It
- Are your emails in need of some TLC? What do you need to do to make them better?
- If your response rate is low, what can you implement today that will help raise that?
- Are you looking for an omni-channel approach that includes email, chat, text, and live phone calls? Connect with BCP today!