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” 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?