Car dealerships today still have a bad rap for playing games with their customers. Whether it’s dodging questions, using high-pressure techniques to book appointments, or doing bait & switch tricks with sales offers, these all hurt your dealership's reputation. Playing games and being deceitful in your business may let you walk away with a few lucky deals but it will ultimately hurt you in the long run. Today, customers are smart and aware of the stigma associated with car salespeople so you need to be ethical and provide a transparent sales process. In this article, we’re going to give you 7 steps to an honest follow-up with your customers.
Before a customer comes in for an appointment there’s a good chance they’ll have a list of questions. If you want the customer to feel comfortable before they come in to meet you, answer all these questions directly and honestly. Tell them the price, the additional fees and anything else they need to know so there are no surprises when they get to the dealership. You’ll close more deals when you’re honest and transparent from the get-go and you’ll be more likely to get repeat customers.
The best way to ensure all of your salespeople are following the correct sales process is to have them work out of your CRM. We recommend 5 calls and 5 emails per lead over a 30-day period. Test this system out and see how it works for you and your sales team. If you find more success doing more calls and fewer emails or vice versa, fine-tune this to what you feel works the best.
You may have been working your process on a lead, but eventually, that lead may become a cold lead. Now it’s time to warm that lead back up and one of the best ways to do that is through a video. If you want to ensure that the customer actually watches the video, write their name on a piece of paper and hold it up beside your face at the beginning of the video. This way, before they click the play button they will see their name written on a piece of paper next to you. A good video message would sound something like this: “Hey Chris, we haven’t spoken in a while and I want to make sure that you’re taken care of, whether you buy from me or not, I’d be happy to answer any questions you may have about the car buying process.” If you can make your message personal and genuine that you’re there to help them you’ll see the most success.
If by chance your video message doesn’t get a response, it’s time to turn your cold lead over to the dealership’s BDC for continued follow-up. At this point, it’s important not to be too aggressive in the follow-up strategy only contacting the lead one to three times per month. If the lead had an interest in a particular type of vehicle or model, send them emails about promotions on that specific model. At this point, it’s important to send targeted content to that individual instead of generic content.
So thanks to the video message or BDC team, that once cold lead is now a hot lead and is coming into the dealership for a test drive. Now it’s your job to make the customer feel valued and special. Do this by preparing the vehicle and pulling it up to them when they arrive or parking it in a nice area on your lot. Write their name on a piece of paper in sharpie and put the piece of paper on the dashboard so when they see the vehicle it will give them the feeling that it belongs to them. Now they’re visualizing in their head that they own the car before they’ve even done a test drive.
So you just got on the road with your customer for the test drive, now is not the time to start making conversation. For at least the first half of the test drive don’t say a word and just let the customer take in the vehicle. Once they’ve had enough time getting a feel for the car, then you can start asking questions about what they like and don’t like about the car.
At this point, the customer has had enough time driving the vehicle to decide whether or not it’s a fit for them. Return to the dealership, pop the trunk and hood and answer any other questions the customer may have for you. Once finished answering the questions bring your customer into the dealership and sit down with them. It’s important not to leave the customer(s) to themselves as this is typically when the excitement of a new car wears off. The more you can minimize the alone time in the dealership with your customers, the more deals you’ll be able to close.
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When talking about how you should use SEO for your dealer website, there truly isn’t a one size fits all strategy. You’re going to have different goals from the next dealership and therefore the ways you achieve those goals through SEO will be different. You may want to bring more awareness to your dealership or maybe you want to highlight your SUVs. Both of these goals require a totally different SEO strategy.