For a long time, dealers and their sales teams only had to remember three words when they picked up the phone: “Get ‘em in.”
Looking for a price? Come on in. Need more information? Give us a visit. Confirming inventory is on the lot? Stop by to be sure.
It’s an adage we still hear on occasion, and one that’s left an indelible mark on the way the industry interacts with customers. Yes, the “get ‘em in” mentality may have sold cars in the past, but such a one-sided approach to communication can do more harm than good with today’s modern, mobile-minded car shoppers.
From text messages and emails to website content and digital ads, the world is now dominated by mobile-focused communication. Nearly two-thirds of the U.S. population owns a smartphone, and that has radically shifted consumer preferences and expectations.
However, with change comes opportunity. Use these six tips to get the most out of your dealership’s mobile communications and help drive more traffic to your store.
1) Read the situation
Communication is a two-way street, even in a text or email conversation. By ignoring specific questions or simply sending a generic template in response, you frustrate customers and put any chance of a relationship in jeopardy. There’s a place for scripts, talk tracks and structured responses, but they should never come at the expense of genuine person-to-person interaction.
2) Be Prompt
Answer emails, phone calls, chats and text messages as fast as you’re able to without sacrificing quality. Minutes and seconds matter but not if rushing leads to a poor response. Consumers typically respond to incoming text messages within 15 minutes of receiving them. Strive to beat that benchmark at your dealership, especially for real-time communications like chat and texting.
3) Respect Preferences
If a shopper prefers to send a text or an email rather than calling the store, by all means let them. Being too aggressive or insisting to switch methods of communication (i.e., “Just call us.”) can drive shoppers away and turn conversations sideways. If your sales process calls for a conversation to progress from email to phone to an in-store visit, for example, build in alternative steps for consumers who indicate a preferred communication method.
4) Share Content
Offer relevant, mobile-friendly content that enhances the customer’s shopping experience. For example, if a customer mentions they’re driving in from out of town, share a link to your dealership’s positive dealer reviews to help reinforce their decision; if a prospect has a question about a specific vehicle feature, text a photo or short video to show it off first-hand.
5) Empower Your Team
Technology is always evolving, so take an open approach to training your team. Make sure everyone is comfortable handling all communication channels rather than delegating mobile communication to only one or two people at the dealership.
6) Keep a Holistic View
To consumers, your dealership is one entity. Regardless of whether a shopper interacts with your brand in person, on a smartphone or from a desktop computer, they expect consistency. Take a unified approach that stretches across all channels to ensure there’s not a disconnect when customers step on the lot.
By tailoring your customer interactions to meet mobile shoppers on their own terms, you can do wonders to set your dealership apart from the competition and drive sales.