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Automotive Playbook: 2020 and Beyond

Automotive Industry
Automotive Marketing
Customer Engagement
Driving Growth
BCP Editorial

BCP Editorial

13 Aug, 2020
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Playbook for selling more cars 2020

There is a lot of information flying around right now about what you should be doing and how you should adapt and adjust in the post-covid automotive world. There are some processes we should  move forward with, and there is some technology that we cannot ignore--but at the end of the day, we HAVE to know how to engage with our customers.

Matthew Belk recently hosted a webinar for a specific OEM, and was able to 1) break down the current state of the market, 2) address best practices on engaging with customers in an omni-channel environment, and 3) discuss how to put your dealership in the position to sell more cars. Here is a breakdown of the major elements that you can use as your “Playbook” for selling cars post-covid and beyond.

Where is automotive right now?

That is a loaded question, as the numbers and information change daily. Metrics are in flux and the best we can do is look at high level trends. According to Lotlinx Market Report (5/26/2020), shopper volume is down, but engagement and sales are trending up. What that means is, you may see fewer shoppers, but the ones who are active are engaging and buying. 

At BCP, we engage with over a million leads a month, and we have seen that on average, over 40% of your leads are coming in after hours. We also know that if you respond to your leads within 10 minutes, you are most likely to see a 30% engagement rate, as opposed to a 10% engagement rate if you respond to the lead after 10 minutes.

You cannot miss a single opportunity.

We have also seen a 50% higher contact ratio during the past two months than previous, mostly because WFH and other distancing measures are allowing people to be more available to our Virtual BDC’s phone calls. 

So, more engaged customers, purchases are on the uptick, and more people are answering the phones. Are you selling more cars today than yesterday?

Here’s what to do

Become Leaders in the art of Self Service via your Website

We live in the Amazon economy, and most customers are used to buying everything from toilet paper to homes online. Consumers are used to researching, comparing, deciding, and clicking to purchase almost anything they may need. And if there is something additional needed, Amazon will suggest that, too.

Automotive needs to embrace the Amazon, Self-Service approach because customers want, need, and expect this more than ever.

Evaluate your website and look for all the ways customers can do things for themselves, without having to engage with an employee, to get the information needed to move the deal forward.

  • Payment Calculators
  • Trade-in Tools
  • Incentive/Rebate Tools

Master the Basics

I know that sounds old, archaic, and simple. But it is the truth. Phone skills are the #1 skill in selling cars online, and you need to make sure that you have a team of well trained automotive agents. People who know how to engage in conversation, build relationships, and provide the information needed so the customer can make an educated decision.

Train in Phone Skills

Matthew referenced a CallRevu study that showed in a study of 2 million calls, there was a direct correlation between appointments showing and call length with the customer.  If the call was 5 minutes or longer, the appointment had a higher likelihood of showing. If it was less than 5 minutes, the likelihood of the customer not showing up for the appointment increased. So we need to make sure that our agents are Happy, Caffeinated, and can have a 5+ minute conversation with the customer.

Make sure that you are training your agents in the art of listening, giving feedback to the consumer, and asking buying-triggered questions. The more the agent learns, then better they can converse with the customer and provide the information they are seeking.

Focus on the Three Ts

Trust: Build trust through the rapport you build with your customers. That all starts with the first response, first touchpoint, and first engagement. From your website to your listings with third parties, to your first quality response, you are sending a message to the consumer about whether or not they should trust you. Make sure that you are quick to respond and respond with the right message and live people. 

Time: Customers value a deal, but they really value their time. Make sure that you provide them with as many ways as possible to complete as much of the deal as possible. From ease of search to trade-in tools, to the credit application, provide the consumer with the ability to easily complete the majority of the deal, so that when they are with you in the dealership, you can spend time talking about the car and not waiting for F&I.

Time also refers to the speed with which you respond to the customer. Remember, 10 minutes or less will bring you to an average of 30% engagement. More than 10 minutes, 10% engagement. What would you rather have?

Transparency: This may be the most important of all three Ts, especially right now. With people still slightly uncomfortable to meet face-to-face at a dealership, you need to ensure you are sharing a lot more about the deal with the consumer. If they ask for price, give them price. If the car they want is not there, be clear about that. Give them a look under the hood of the deal and be real with the customer. It will save them time, make them trust you more, and you will be the hero of the deal.


What now?

Take a moment and evaluate your processes. Have you adjusted to meet the needs and expectations of the consumer?

Where do you fall in the 3T metric? Where are you strong and where could you use a little assistance?

Is your website clean, easy to navigate, and does it allow your customers to move down the funnel quickly?