1. Quick Response timeYes, this concept has been beat into the industry but in this age of immediacy it continues to be one of the largest separators of success. An hour to respond to an email is NOT acceptable. Your response needs to be within minutes, if you cannot do this consistently restructure your department or use technology that can respond with YOUR price quote immediately.
Do not measure, average response time, it’s a bogus measurement. Instead measure what % of the time you responded within 15 minutes. Face it, if you don’t respond quickly the chances of closing the deal drops dramatically.
2. Transparency in price, availability and tradeCustomers can get whatever information they want. If they don’t get it from you they will get it elsewhere. Don’t let that happen. If they ask for a price give them a price. If they want to know what their trade is worth talk to them about it. Don’t ever avoid a question. Be transparent, be engaging, be a place they want to do business, answer their questions and give them a reason to come see you.
3. Provide multiple optionsWhen customers go online the regularly add features or submit requests on vehicles out of their price range. They are curious, they are hopeful and they are human… trying for something better than current reality is just what we do. Once you realize they are unlikely to buy the vehicle they submitted a lead on you realize the importance in providing options to them. This helps engage the customer with you as they explore their options and come to reality of what the best car for them really is.
4. Sell the advantages of your productAgain, customers regularly DO NOT buy the product they submitted a lead on. Many even switch brands or bounce from new to used and vice versa. Clearly the MYTH that Internet customers know exactly what they want is FALSE. You need to “sell” your product.
How do you do this? Provide links. Send them to your product landing pages, micro sites and the pages that tell your brand proposition. If you don’t have these pages built and optimized put that on your list of things to do. Use OEM sites, outside news stories, social media profiles and your dealership ratings and reviews to boost your brand proposition. Do be cautious sending customers to sites you down own, you have less control but added 3rd party credibility. Balance the pros/cons appropriately.
Track these links. Your CRM should be able to tell you who is clicking on what, replace the links that get no action and keep the content fresh.
5. Phone call to request appointmentIf the customer provided a phone number you have permission to use it. Call them. Confirm they got your email, start a conversation to get to know them. The one piece of your product another store cannot is your relationship with the customer, be sure that relationship is strong. Use a phone script, set an appointment and track your shows.
6. Long term follow upMost 3rd party leads close AFTER 30 days. If you are a dealership that does a great job at following its customers for 3 weeks, congratulation! You could double your closing rate if you could extend that follow up/engagement process follows for an additional 60 days. Long term follow up should be more than automated emails or a dealership newsletter. Include regular phone calls into the mix. You are most likely better at building and maintaining relationships on the phone than you are at email. Use this to your advantage.
7. Differentiated “customer friendly” sales processAfter you have done all this work to get the Internet Customer to the dealership, don’t blow it with a bad “in person” sales process. Continue to be transparent, answer questions, be a resource and over come objections. You should close an exceptionally high number of your Internet appointments that show up. It’s ok to sell and be a closer, just maintain your customer relationship through the process and you will be fine.