Ignore This Advice, Ignore Your Customers

Just like Ferris Bueller says: “Life moves pretty fast. If you don't stop and look around once in awhile, you could miss it.”

You blink and you could miss some new, innovative way to sell, communicate, or close a deal. If you don’t keep up, you will lose out.

So, as life flies by and I take my daughter on college visits, (blink), I find myself with a little time to myself. What do I do?

Research articles on customer service and the automotive industry.

I live life on the edge…..Don’t be jealous.

As I searched the vast sea of automotive research, I found an overwhelming amount on mobile usage and automotive shopping. I’m not a fan of data for data’s sake, but these numbers are pretty impressive. They should definitely make you pause.

Here are a few facts that stood out to me (but did not shock me):

  • The average mobile campaign significantly outpaces online in ad awareness. (Source: DynamicLogic.com)

  • 35 percent of Edmunds unique site visits are mobile. (edmunds.com)

  • Adults spend 10.1 percent of their media time on mobile, but only .9 percent of ad spends are on mobile. (Source: eMarketer.com)

  • 73 percent of smartphone users say they used the mobile web to make a purchase instead of using an app. (Source: JumpTap.com)  Edmunds supports this data.

  • 70 percent of mobile searches lead to action within one hour. (It takes a full month for the same percentage of desktop users to catch up.) (Source: MobileMarketer.com)

  • 9 out of 10 mobile searches lead to action. More than 50 percent lead to sales. (Source: SearchEngineLand)

 

Are you thinking SLOW DOWN!?

I know this data dump could be  overwhelming, but we have two choices:

Ignore the information and keep doing as we have always done.

OR

Use the information to move forward and capture more of the market.

Data changes quickly, so sometimes pivots feel like sprints. As new technologies emerge and disruptions are added, data grows, morphs, and develops into new, slightly different data. It is almost impossible to have “current” information, because current is a very fluid concept.  

Regardless, you need to think about how that affects the way we reach out, market, and talk to customers.  You cannot manage how you were managed and you cannot sell how you were sold.

It is time for some serious change.

 

A few points to take away from all this data:

Can we agree that mobile is not a fad?

One major takeaway is that customers are searching your dealership and looking for information on multiple platforms. Is your website set up for a multi-device experience?

If 81% of customers are doing research on their smartphone, and 70% lead to some form of action within an hour, you need to make sure you are meeting customers where they are. It is not enough to have a functional website, but you need a responsive one. One that provides the information they want without having to minimize to see the text or do the scroll of death to try and find the right margin.

Your website should be completely functional on any platform with any device the customer chooses to utilize.

 

Are you prepared for change?

We are creatures of habit in an industry that does not embrace change as quickly as others. The problem with that is our customers ARE changing, and we need to keep up in a manner they find inviting. That means we have to have multiple modes of contact, advertising, and selling.

Customers expect to have choices now, and we are more than capable of providing them. Texting, Chat, and Dealership Apps are the new kids on the block (maybe not NEW, but newer) and need to be discussed. One statistic I read today stated that texts get read in under 3 minutes. That is powerful, as long as it is not an intrusion for your customer. Dealer Apps are very cool, but you need customer buy-in. It can make your head spin trying to keep up.

You also must remember the legal issues with texting. Compliance is key with all communication. Currently, if your salesperson texts a customer without their consent, you could be fined up to $1200 a text.

No, thank you.

The one way to ensure you are covered is to text through your CRM if it allows. There is an automatic opt in request sent.

 

Let me give you some peace of mind.

There are some things--some tried and true methods--that are still effective. You can add any new approach needed, but these are three static forms of contact that must happen.

  • You must email your customer

  • You must get them on the phone

  • You must set an appointment

You are already doing this, right?

Then why do some dealerships not require phone numbers? The best way to sell a car is to get on the phone. Talk to the customer. Find out their needs.

Without a number, that can be pretty difficult.

I know people give fake numbers, but people also don’t always answer their emails. Requiring a number will not only weed out the tire kickers, but it will also make your leads stronger.

With all of this innovation and change, take comfort that there are methods you're already embracing. The interesting and exciting part is figuring how to weave the old with the new. How to incorporate apps or geo-fencing with what you know needs to be done. How to leverage video at your dealership so that people feel like they know you before they walk in the door.

Don’t abandon prior methods, but enhance them and make them even more effective. Do what you are doing, but add what you can one step at a time.

Master that, and then see if it works.

Because at the end of the day, it does not matter if it is cool, or funky, or cutting edge.

What matters is if it helps you reach more customers and sell more cars.

 

Let’s Talk About It:

  • What are you doing to move forward with technology?

  • Do you know how to protect yourself and your dealership by doing things the right way?

  • Are you compliant with your texting, messaging, and communications?