Todd Smith is a serial entrepreneur who is now building the leading sales text messaging platform for automotive dealerships. Todd is an industry author, speaker, and industry expert with over 30 years of automotive retailing experience. View all posts
Texting at your dealerships is happening every single day with your shoppers. Today we are going to talk about leveraging a dealer texting platform to accelerate your Digital Retailing and increasing your dealership’s sales by texting and lead intelligence to grow your bottom line.
Once you have the data, the most effective channel to communicate is through texting, which right now is producing superior results almost 5X better compared to email, and it will keep you ahead of your competition and driving towards your sales goals. Today we are sharing ten critical insights and techniques from top-performing dealerships around the nation that are making texting part of their engagement workflow.
1. Text messaging has the highest engagement rate
Dealerships leveraging text messaging within the sales process saw the highest engagement rate for shopper communication. Statistics show that 98% of text messages are opened, and 95% are read and responded to within the first three minutes. This compared to email, which had an open rate of just 20% and an engagement rate between 2%-5%.
Another avenue is voice but getting a shopper on an actual voice call requires even more effort with upwards of eight attempts per shopper to make initial contact. After reading hundreds of dealership text conversations, it was apparent that consumers were texting to conduct research, ask questions, and confirm pricing and availability. The time between the shopper asking the question and the dealerships delivering back a quality response was critical to move the sales process along smoothly. Dealerships that are winning have “easy to share” preformatted messages that can be sent with a click or two. This helped lower the response time and increased the shopper’s propensity to purchase.
2. Move shoppers quickly through the sales funnel with a texting process
Managing the steady stream of incoming sales opportunities in a repeatable workflow is critical to operational success if you work in a busy dealership. The fantastic thing about texting is it reduces the conversation to the essence, which can be very powerful to keep shoppers engaged and moving through your sales funnel as long as you have the right texting platform. When texting is occurring inconsistently through the dealership CRM and is mostly being completed by your sales team via their personal devices, a multitude of legal and tracking issues arise. This affects your ability to manage your team’s processes, which hurts your ability to uncover opportunities to improve your team’s workflow.
Let’s not forget that many of the text-enabled lines that CRMs provide are not voice-enabled, so if the shopper decides to attempt to call the number, they have been texting, nothing happens. This misaligned experience hurts the experience. Worse is the shopper who has been texting back and forth with one of your sales team and saved the number only to receive a call from a completely different phone number.
3. Use vehicle content to build trust and engagement
Sharing vehicle information via texting has never been easier with rich MMS messaging capabilities. Using a dealer texting platform can not only share pictures but videos describing or highlighting specific vehicle features. This type of personalized engagement resonates with shoppers and helps build the trust they need to continue to move down the funnel to purchase. An example would be to shoot a quick video of “How CarPlay Works” and how easy it is to sync to your phone and map a drive. Using content that is personalized delivers the WOW factor that makes dealerships stand out from a crowded marketplace. Dealerships that are using pictures and videos in their text communication with shoppers are not only increasing engagement; they are setting more appointments and delivering more vehicle sales.
Using texting to communicate additional information about a vehicle and specific offerings for the shopper is a perfect way to personalize and experience and deliver more value. Specific rebates and incentives available to a shopper are easily communicated using MMS or simple text. This type of content communication keeps the conversation moving while building trust with the shopper. To make your sales teams texting platform work productively at your dealership, it should have tools that make sharing this type of information simple. Just think about the possibilities with this framework. You could send Monroney labels, CarFax report, and so much more.
4. Smart dealers are conducting trade appraisals via text
We all have seen the rush into Digital Retailing in 2020 and for a good reason. As consumer habits shift and demand more of the purchase of a vehicle be conducted online with a “Contactless” experience, aggressive dealerships are using what is already in their salespeople’s pockets to do it. Successful dealerships know it is about the process far more than the technology to achieve a winning formula. As salespeople turn to their phones at the connection and communication tool, dealerships will need to formalize how this will be completed. The best dealerships have implemented a formal dealer texting platform to control this new communication highway to ensure it is not only working but flowing and achieving the desired outcomes.
Appraising vehicles via a text experience isn’t only natural; it is damn efficient for the consumer. Instant trade values can be returned to the shopper in seconds with as little as the shopper’s license plate number and state. Dealerships need supporting text analytics to check the progress of their team as well as understand underperforming outliers within their sales teams.
5. Automated test drive scheduling via texting
One of the critical indicators of serious shoppers is there decision to complete a test drive. The goal of top-performing dealerships is to move as many leads into a confirmed test drive appointment as possible. With texting, it can become effortless. Automated calendaring via texting has become popular to help build trust and eliminate the back and forth that typically happens via email when trying to schedule a test drive. Best in class dealerships are using an automated calendaring system within their text messaging platform to not only initially schedule test drives but also to confirm them as well as reschedule them all automatically. When dealerships depend on BDCs to handle appointment confirmation and missed appointment rescheduling the financial burden the can be astronomical with human resources. The smartest dealerships are relying on automation to process these repetitive tasks within the sales workflow.
6. Build value with quick inventory sharing
After reviewing over 80 dealerships workflow processes, we notice a trend with top-performing dealerships and their ability to share inventory easily and in a format that shoppers can use on mobile devices. Stores that didn’t have a simple utility in place shared less and produced fewer appointments because they chose the sales path of trying to “Just get the customer into the door.” There is a correlation of information shared, and the actions of the shoppers, but the most successful dealerships are shared more often. Another interesting thing was the number of clicks necessary to share a vehicle with a shopper. The more click, the more friction, and the fewer cars are shared.
In conclusion, now is a perfect time to upgrade your dealer texting processes and to maximize the use of this communication channel. We all use texting as a form of communication now, and the best in breed dealerships are using state of the art dealer texting platforms to reenvision communication with their shoppers.
🙏 Please give some love by clicking and sharing this article with your friends by using the social links on the left. This helps others find my articles and encourages me to write. 😁