With so much focus on generating leads for your dealership, it’s important to recognize that success isn’t measured by the number of leads generated. As always, the bottom line literally is the bottom line; the number of cars sold and total profit earned.
Granted, to sell cars you must have the opportunity, so your marketing efforts inherently are tied to your success; however, without effective customer communication, does it really matter? I have yet to see a salesperson paid or a dealership profit simply by speaking to customers. That is why how the leads are handled is what matters most.
In order to justify your monthly marketing expenses, in all their varied forms, you have to produce results. Success breeds success, and if you want to be able to source more dollars to a particular area (in this case, online, as more and more progressive dealerships are doing once ROI is accurately measured), you better be able to prove that what you are proposing makes good sense. I say this because dealer case studies show that when dealers, sometimes a bit reluctantly and after some lively debate, move away from traditional advertising, it’s important to be able to quickly prove this was a good decision or risk losing those newly gained online marketing dollars. The move from print to online can certainly be justified by reading testimonials from other dealers who have made the switch. However, these stories don’t pay your bills, so you must be prepared to get the job done, and when you do, solidify the fact that the most efficient marketing investments are with the online customer.
To prove that online is the right place for marketing dollars, you must raise not only sales, but also closing percentages. Simply put, get better at interacting with online customers and setting dealership appointments.
The rest usually takes care of itself because once the customer has enough confidence to visit your dealership, it becomes your sale to lose. To establish that confidence in your customer, it’s important that your online and phone interaction revolves around what the customer has stated is important to them to help them decide what to buy and where to buy it. You must tailor your communication to match the five main buying motivations important to the online customer:
- Save time – Provide as much information as reasonably possible prior to the visit, without backing yourself into undeliverable promises.
- Level the playing field – Provide inventory, pricing and trade information, helping them to make a comfortable and educated decision.
- Solve the problem – Pay special attention to the customer by asking open-ended questions to learn as much as possible about what they want to accomplish.
- Reduce stress – Use a consultative approach and communicate with them on their terms (chat/e-mail/ phone) to gain customer confidence.
- Cater to the customer’s “desire to win” – Plant the seed that given your dealerships expertise and flexibility in working through all types of circumstances, you can help them achieve a greater-than-expected result.
Establishing a connection with your customer by reaching their “hot buttons” remains a pivotal step to success.