Are your internet customers more like Tinder or eHarmony?

The connection between online dating and your dealership.

Guest blogger Tiea Roper, Product Manager at BetterCarPeople, looks into why your internet leads are similar to online dating sites. She also gives some great hints on how to make sure your potential customer swipes right.

 

Valentine’s Day is next week, and depending on how long you have been single or celebrating one of the most ridiculous of holidays, it can be an event.

Thinking of Valentine’s Day also made me think of how buying a car can be a similar experience to dating--especially if you “met” online and it’s your first date.

Like almost everything, it all starts online.

On Tinder, what seems most important is first impressions. This site focuses on snap judgments that will either lead to further communication or a swipe left.

Remember I’m shallow and  short on the time I want to spend looking.


So how is this like your digital presence and response?

  • Make sure your website and it’s inventory are attractive. One photo or several stock photos make me think you have something to hide. (swipe left!)

  • Keep your information up-to-date. Bad or misleading pricing is like falsely providing your annual income. I mean the actual information may not have been a dealbreaker, but the lie certainly means we are NOT going to meet.  

Now my eHarmony folks have spent a lot of time preparing for this encounter; it is kind of a big deal! They have filled out a ridiculous amount of information (anyone who has done this can relate). They  explained what exactly they are looking for, but receive a one-size-fits-all response in return. (Really, you sat down and wrote the poem just for me? Umm yeah, okay)

Do you do this to your internet leads? Especially ones that come in after hours?


If you want to get the first date:

  • Pay attention! Read the lead and respond with a certain amount of anxiousness that would come along with engaging with someone that you would like to get to know better.

  • Be hopeful that the customer will like what you have to say and find it intriguing enough to choose your dealership to purchase their car.

  • Be direct, but follow the path that makes sense. If this is your first non-phone conversation, you don’t have the right to ask me to come in and see you. (That can be a little creepy.) Instead, get them to exchange numbers, wow them with your awesomeness, and THEN ask for the date.

We are so proud of you! Your first date is just moments away. Like any first date, you are being judged even before you begin talking. However, nothing can break the ice like showing your date how much you remember about them!


Want to seal the deal?

  • Show them how much you paid attention to even the smallest of details to break the ice. Why am I looking for something new? What about my last relationship (car) did I like and dislike?
  • Show them that you have everything they are looking for and want nothing more than a long term committed relationship. They should be coming to your store for service from here on out.

Now everything we have discussed thus far assumes the customer actually chooses to engage with you. Let’s be real, a good majority won’t even give you the time of day after the first wink, poke, like, or flirt. For you, all of those are “leads”

Match.com says “only answer emails from people that you can honestly see yourself dating.” So if they are not responding, it's you not them! It’s 2016 and could be well overdue to check on what email responses and voicemail messages are being left by your team on a daily basis. If they are not well thought out and include a call to action every time, they are likely enjoying their first date elsewhere.  


Talk About It:

  • Do you have different plans to engage with your customer based on the lead source ?
  • How to do make your initial response to leads personal and inviting?

  • Once they say “yes” how do you make the in-store visit something to remember?


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3 Ways Training Will SAVE Your Automotive BDC

Automotive BDCs Internet Departments

What if training your BDC employees decreased employee turnover, improved your customer satisfaction, and increased your dealership’s revenue?  Would you do it? Guest Blogger Deanna Haynes, Product Specialists with BetterCarPeople, describes why training is critical to success.

 

 

Whether you currently have a BDC or you are considering building one, it is important to make sure you are providing training that will give each of your employees an opportunity to be successful and, in turn, make your dealership more successful!

Employee Retention

I think we can all agree that there’s a ridiculous amount of employee turnover in dealerships.  

71% to be exact according to a 2015 study conducted by NADA.

A lack of proper training in your BDC is a main factor in low employee retention.

Providing your employees with training will expand their knowledge which will build their confidence, making them feel more pride in their job and more loyal to your dealership.  Retaining your best employees will save your store money and stop the revolving door that is your hiring process.

 

Customer Satisfaction

Obviously, the main purpose of your BDC is to generate business.  In order to keep your business growing, you need to make sure your customers are having a positive experience while on the phone with your employees. Without regular training it’s easy for employees to develop inconsistent habits that can negatively impact a customer’s experience. A strong training program can be the answer to creating a culture of consistency within your BDC and give your customers the best impression of your dealership!

 

Increased Revenue

So here’s the bottom line - literally. Proper training allows employees to become productive and perform better.  Trained employees have higher motivational levels and will be more focused on their tasks.  Their productivity will increase, enhancing overall profits for your dealership and boosting your training ROI.  

Keep in mind that training is a process.  You must identify what needs you have for your BDC and develop your training based around those needs.  Your employees learn at different levels so make sure the training program you choose is flexible, trackable and easily accessible!

 

Let’s Talk About It:

 

  • What training protocols have you put into place already? What has worked and what has not been successful?

  • Do you think Service BDCs need training at the same level as Sales BDCs?

  • Is time the biggest factor when it comes to in-house training?

 

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Robots and Your Dealership: Is Technology Taking Over?

Overnight BDC Internet Lead Response

2016 is bringing a TON of new technology created to bring customers into your business. The CES touted over 50 football fields of  technological innovation, including robots who greet your customers as they walk in.

Robots.

They can hold a conversation with you.

R2D2 would definitely get my attention.


With all the new, it is easy to take the old, proven technology for granted. However, ignoring the proven technologies is a dangerous path to go down.

 

Even though it is not new or sexy, mobile is more important than ever. It has been on the A list for a while, and it is not going anywhere.

 

Mobile means so much. It means a personal computer in the majority of your buyer's hands. It means a mode of instant communication.  It means a GPS that will guide them directly to your dealership.

 

So are you ready for all this traffic?

 

Wait--you don’t see it? Well, you need to learn to leverage it correctly.

 

Three Things Mobile DOES in 2016

 

Gets conversations started.

Mobile has been touted as a great way for consumer to find you, but what about a way to start real conversations? Online leads have been the golden goose when talking about marketing and mobile, but there are more calls coming in today than internet leads from mobile devices.

60% of auto searchers on a smartphone would be likely to call directly from a search result if the functionality was there.

 

 So what does this mean for you?

  • Make sure you have a click to call feature on your website that makes it easy for customers to reach you instantly and when they are interested.

  • Also make sure that all of your basic information (Name, Address, Phone Number, Website) are all listed correctly in Google. When people search you, they should be able to click a button and reach you.

 

Gets customers in the dealership (even if they are at a different one….)

We know that mobile facilitates research, but it also brings people directly to your dealership.

In many different ways.

There has been great discussion about showrooming, or “Webrooming” as Anne Fleming likes to refer to it, but how are you leveraging it?

63% of mobile users on on their phone while they are in your dealership. They are researching your deal and the deal you are offering. They are looking for better deals near them. They are creating their strategy.

Stay a part of it.

People using a mobile device were 72 more likely to visit another dealership than those who were without a smartphone or tablet while car shopping. 52 percent of those mobile users visited an additional dealership because of information they found on their device.

 

So, What Does This Mean For You?

This should influence multiple factors:

  1. Make sure your digital presence is responsive across all platforms. At least have a mobile platform for your potential customers.

  2. Be as transparent as possible both online and on the phone. We are fighting a stereotype that some still hold onto--the sleazy, duplicitous car salesman. Be upfront with everything--the majority of the information in online regardless. So…

  3. Make sure you know what is on your website!

 

Get them back for service ( and future sales)

Mobile drives site and foot traffic to your showroom--We get it. But is also drives traffic to your service lane. 36% of all automotive searches dealt with parts and service requests.

They are looking for you online, using their smart phone, and would probably like to set an appointment. Are you meeting them where they are? It is up to you to capture them as they are searching for you (or searching for a service and your dealership pops up.)

Just take a moment and look at your Google Analytics. You can get a quick snapshot of how many are visiting your website via mobile.

It may be more than you think, and with service, you need to make sure you make the experience as seamless as possible.

 

So, What Does This Mean for You?

  • Make sure every page of your website is responsive. That includes your service pages. It is easy to set online appointments? Is there a lot of typing, or is it a simple choose and click?
  • If a customer wants to call, is your number prominent? It is enables for click to call? If your customers have gotten this far, don’t lose them to someone else because of a clunky or outdated experience.

 

Let’s Talk About It

 

  • When was the last time you searched your dealership on your smartphone? Each page--not just the landing page. Do it now and see what the experience is like.

  • What is your mobile traffic on your site?

  • Do you see a high conversion rate from click to call customers?

 

Overnight BDC, internet leads, Internet Departments, Automotive Marketing No Comments

4 Tips to Start January Off Right

The New Year brings lots of changes in a dealership. New inventory, new sales approaches, and new initiatives.

It also brings new salespeople.

January generally has HUGE turnover in a sales force, so here are FOUR tips to keep things running at top speed when your sales guys have run off:

 

1. Take Control of the Email Account

Internet Lead Response

Nothing is worse than missing out on leads or prospects because you are not aware of the incoming emails. This needs to be one of the first things fixed. Have the account put in your name so that you are in control of the traffic. You will also be able to respond to clients direct them to their new contact.

 

 

 

 

 

2. Don't Ignore Orphan Accounts

Orphan Accounts Automotive Dealerships

As your sales team changes and shifts, opportunities and previously sold accounts get orphaned. Make sure to assign them to a new team member and have them make contact immediately! It is easy to make sure you contact the orphaned opportunities, but sometimes the orphaned owners get ignored. Don’t! Owners are service customers and future car buyers. Keep them in the contact loop as well. Have this process in place and you will have a seamless transition from one sales person to the next.

 

 

 

3. Pay Attention to your CRM

Automotive Dealerships and CRM

The CRM is your database for all of your current and potential customers. So it is highly important that one of the first things you do is remove the salesperson who left and reassign the prospects. This way your information is protected and your customers are cared for.

 

 

 

 

4. Don't Miss Opportunities

BDC Missed Opportunities

Make sure to tell the receptionist, the BDRs, anyone who may need to take a message or transfer a call about any salespeople leaving or new ones coming onboard. The more prepared you are, the better your dealership looks. And the fewer opportunities you miss.


 

 

Here is to a great start to 2016!

 

Overnight BDC, Service BDC, Internet Leads No Comments

Ring in the New Year! We've got your leads covered.

Answer internet leads at night

It is a wonderful time of year--the decorations, the family, the parties…..it's enough to make your head spin.

In this holiday chaos, leads are coming in at all hours, and they don’t care what you have planned for the holiday season. They just need to be answered.

And you know they need to be answered in less than 10 minutes.

And not with an autoresponder.

How is that possible during the holiday season?

Overnight BDC

BetterCarPeople created Overnight BDC for people like you. People who know the value of leads--especially the ones which come in after hours or on weekends. Overnight BDC will answer your leads 24/7/365 or whenever you want to switch us on. But we don’t only answer the lead--we answer it with live people. We create a customized, professional, engaging response to every individual inquiry.

Each response will be answered as you--for you, with images, value propositions, engaging questions, welcome videos featuring the individual salespeople, and very specific call to action directions for your potential customer.

Overnight BDC also gives you the tools to customize anything within the response. You can add pricing statements, your own personal value propositions--the sky's the limit.

And we do this all in under 10 minutes.  

Busyness is inherent in this season. We should slow down and enjoy the moments, but there just aren’t enough hours in a day. So when you add working in an industry with a selling cycle that never turns off, it only adds to the “most wonderful time of the year.”

Imagine a date night,  a New Year’s Eve party, or any night without having to worry about an initial response.  A night without your phone buzzing or having to log into your CRM. Imagine a Monday morning with all of your leads answered and organized. All you would need to do is call the customer.

Would you sell more cars?

Would you have more time?

It is not too late to enjoy the season. Contact us to see how we can not only change your end of the year, but your 2015 as well!

Until then, hum your favorite carol while you finish answering leads!

 

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Five REALLY Important Things to Think About in 2016.

Not that you NEED more customers, money or better employees...but if you do, here you go.

 

Overnight BDC

I hope everyone is having a strong close to 2015! When it comes down to it, you probably don’t need more customers, more money, or better employees, right?

 

Well, in that rare instance that there were a few “deals” that you just couldn’t seem to put together--or, you lost that one employee that, when you are alone in your quiet space, you can actually admit you wish you had done more to keep...read on.

 

A new year brings about reflection and self-evaluation. Am I on the right path? Am I doing the right things to push myself and those around me forward? Should I stop eating AM CrunchWraps?

 

Well, it’s no different in the automotive world. Things are changing at a crazy fast pace, and if you don’t adapt and change with them, you will see people passing you left and right.

 

Now, I am not that annoying person who cannot let anyone pass them.

Never.

I’m not saying that I speed up when someone on the right tries to get ahead of me, but…..

 

Life is the same. There are some things we want to think about for 2016 that, in all honesty, you should have changed in 2015. Commit to not being the same place for 2017!

 

Are you holding you or your team back from moving to the next level?

Most of us have had that manager/boss who did not care if we got any better. You know who I mean. The ones who say all the right things, and then disappear in their office all day.

Don’t be that person.

You are the leader of your team. Make sure that you give them all the tools they need to be successful. Train them on expectations. Be transparent with goals and benchmarks for success. If they have something to work towards, they will have something to reach for.

 

Is the customer experience and inner company communication your top priority?

 

That same manager we were talking about earlier--the one who hides--he also does not communicate well at all. Inner Company Communication sets the tone for the dealership. Poor communication leads to a divisive tone and a lack of progress because no one knows exactly what to do and why. Create a great chain of communication so that people know who to talk with and what to expect.

Customers can feel that immediately--either good or bad. So make it good.

 

Commit to expanding your views and become an active participant in your career movement --it’s not as hard as you think.

You don’t know what you don’t know until you see or read something new. Stay educated and on top of the industry news. Forums, blogs, and sites like DealerOn webinars, DrivingSales, DealerRefresh have the most relevant, cutting edge information out there. And where else do you have the opportunity to talk with industry experts about issues you face on a daily basis? If you are not on these sites, now is a great time to make it a habit!

 

If you think you’re super smart already, mentor someone. If you would like to be a little smarter, find a mentor!

This is a tough industry. So much of it is finding your way as you go along, which is why we have such a high turnover rate. You can be part of the solution! Mentor someone. Everyone has their niche--their speciality in which they could help guide others. Share your expertise. Make someone around you a little smarter. A little more confident. And MUCH more productive.

If you know where you need some improvement, seek out a mentor for yourself. Stop thinking you are weak if you ask for help. You are motivated and want to be better. There is a big difference.

 

Learn the technology around you instead of complaining about it. (The CRM, your website--this is what drives your dealership. Know how they run and the best way to utilize them)

The one thing I KNOW will make you more productive (and help you sell more cars) in 2016 is to know your technology. Way too many people think that the CRM is useless--they don’t enter contacts, calls, and don’t track their customer connectivity.

STOP.

Your CRM, regardless of how clunky you think it is, is your best friend when it comes to contacting customers and selling more cars. Your memory will only take you so far (some further than others), and your CRM will pick up the slack when you can’t recall when you last spoke with someone, the name of their daughter, or what they have for a trade in.

 

Sales is relational, but the term relational has changed in the past few years. It does not only mean face to face, but also your digital relationship with customers. That is generally their first impression of you and what will set the stage. Use all of your assets (including your website and CRM) to make this as memorable as possible.

 

Try it for a few months. Consistently log your calls and ups in your CRM and see if it positively affects your sales.

 

Let’s Talk About It:

  • What is the one thing you want to change for 2016 that you can control?
  • Do you have a love/hate relationship with technology?
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'Tis the Season: To Fix Your Mobile Presence

 

With mobile shopping habits taking over, and online shopping higher than ever before, what does that mean for the automotive industry? Times have changed, and this season of shopping has proven that. Is your dealership ready?

 

‘Tis the season. And we should be thinking about cookies, and decorations, and that creepy Elf sitting on a shelf waiting for a mischevious situation to appear. (I am soooo glad my kids are too old for that. My elf would be sitting in the same spot the entire season. I would have to come up with some good lies. And I am not so hot at that).

So why is black on the mind?

Black Friday was just a few days ago, and it definitely told us something about the changing shopping habits of Americans. Including automotive shopping.

 

Historically, Black Friday was the opening of the floodgate for holiday shoppers. The deals, the excitement, the kitsch of it all brought shoppers out in droves to kick off the hunt for a deal, insane spending, and a few well-placed elbows. And generally, economists could gauge a spending forecast for the season based on this one day.

 

Well, the jingle has jangled, and for the first time Black Friday was beat out by…..Cyber Monday!

And why not? Shoppers got the same deals online as they would in the store for the most part, and could do so from the comfort of their couch while still digesting their turkey and pecan pie (I’m not a fan of pumpkin).

Now, you may be thinking “Why do I care? People still need to come on-lot to purchase a car!”

 

Here is the reason.

 

Black Friday spending went down approximately 3%. (National Retail Federation)

 

Cyber Monday spend was up by 15%. (Time)

 

People are, and have been, shifting their purchasing process to online, and that does not exclude the automotive industry. The road to the sale is so completely different than ever before, and for us to ignore the web and mobile is to ignore the majority of our customers.

 

Here are a few facts that should convince you that your website MUST be mobile friendly now:

 

  • 50 percent of your customers have already done their research, know every aspect of the car, and really just want to come in and purchase it from you. (Google Digital Auto Shoppers Study)
  • 69 percent of shoppers who used YouTube while shopping were influenced by it.
  • 1 in 3 shoppers who used their mobile device as a part of the purchase process located and/or called a dealership from that mobile device. (thinkwithgoogle)

 

Your customers are using mobile more than any other technology to find you, to get directions to your store, to call you, and to research the desired car. And with the average  consumer only visiting 2 dealerships before purchasing, why would you ever take a risk with your web presence?

 

If we can learn one thing from this season, besides the fact that Black Friday is fading away, it is that shoppers have shifted. Shopping on mobile is the new norm, and your web presence must be ready. 56% of automotive shopping during the weekends happens on mobile--probably while they are in your dealership shopping the best local deals!

Make Sure Your Website is Responsive.

What is responsive? It is not creating a separate mobile site.

Responsive means the site responds to any device-tablet, PC, laptop, smartphone.

“Day by day, the number of devices, platforms, and browsers that need to work with your site grows. Responsive web design represents a fundamental shift in how we’ll build websites for the decade to come.”- Jeffrey Veen

Responsive is not a nice addition to your digital presence. It is a necessity.

Clean It Up!

Review your site and omit the clutter, the annoying noises, and the distracting floating heads that get in the way. Create an experience that shoppers want!

Let’s Talk About It

  • What does your website look like on mobile?
  • Do you agree that online has taken over the majority of the car buying experience?
  • Have you invested in a responsive site? If so, have you noticed a difference?
  • Do you hate Elf on the Shelf as much as me?
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