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
Automotive dealership texting is becoming a core component of a successful internet sales strategy as consumers move more of their vehicle purchase online and Digital Retailing takes hold in automotive dealerships around the nation, the next phase will be meeting and engaging shoppers on the communication channel of their choice. Many consumers are already texting as the most efficient channel to purchase their next vehicle. Today we wanted to cover seven powerful ways to leverage texting at the dealership and during the sales process to help you create dynamic experiences for your shoppers and deliver more car sales.
- One-click to share inventory
Let’s start with the speed of sharing information in an impatient world. Your sales team has very little time to engage and establish trust with a shopper before they move on to another dealership. Existing automotive text applications force you to click multiple times to complete an action and share information with a shopper. The problem is that it is just simpler for a salesperson to use their own smartphone to complete these tasks completely bypassing any accountability. Plus, the limitation of the current products in the market cost dealerships time and reduce the quality of the shopper’s experience. Being able to quickly and easily share one or multiple cars with shoppers is a critical part of moving your shopper through a Digital Retailing experience. Make sure that whatever texting solution you chose can share inventory in less than a couple of clicks.
2. Test drive appointment reminders
Be honest, we get busy and forget things all the time. Worse, our distractions at the dealership cause us not to be consistent in our sales processes and follow up. This breakdown reduces sales, yet it can easily be solved using technology. Many businesses already do this, and I wouldn’t be surprised if your dentist did it for your last appointment. Automated text messages to remind your shopper of their upcoming dealership appointment does two things simultaneously. First, it helps to ensure more people show up for their appointments and don’t forget. Second, by using gentle reminders or enabling them to reschedule right there if something came up creates a great experience. If your texting platform can’t do that, you are relying on humans to call and remind customers or chase them down if they failed to show up. This is an entirely inefficient and expensive process, but with technology already available in the texting automation marketplace, it’s completed automatically.
3. Picture/Video texting
The saying that a picture is worth a thousand words is a fact. When making a sizeable emotional purchase like a car, photographs, and videos inspire us to take action and connect with the salesperson. The problem is doing that from a desktop, which can be cumbersome. Data shows us it is much better suited for completion via a smartphone because it aligns with our existing habits using social media and our desire for quick results. If you want your sales team to be highly successful, align your sales processes with the habits they already have established. Taking pictures or shooting a video is done on their phone, so your automotive dealership texting platform should be there to support your salespeople’s habits and deliver the WOW factor to your dealership shoppers. More personalized videos from your sales team will result in more happy customers.
4. Canned responses for repetitive conversations
Do you ever find yourself saying the same thing over and over again to online customers? In the age of speed and trust-building, you need every advantage you can get over your competition. Building a good selection of quick responses can help you become more consistent and refined in your customer engagement. Plus, it saves time while delivering consistency of process. These types of tools are critical to success in sales. Maximizing every single minute of your selling time daily. Also, it would be best if they auto personalized the response to the shoppers to again take your texting to another level of engagement and trust-building.
5. Seamless desktop to mobile transfer
Today’s customers demand instant responses, and texting is by far the fastest with the highest level of engagement. How many times have you seen those three dots and waited for the reply? We love now, and instant satisfaction, and so do our customers. You need to enable your sales team with the best in class automotive dealership texting platform. So whether they are at their desk, on the lot, or even offsite, your sales team can keep the shopper engaged and moving towards the sale because let’s be honest no one likes to wait. We are entering a time when the automotive texting technology we use needs to be device agnostic. Your texting platform should also be omnichannel, enabling messages from many different places to come into one system in which your team can reply even across various channels.
6. Text engagement & productivity reports
You can’t manage what you can’t measure. Texting can be incredibly difficult to measure because many conversations are happening from salespeople’s personal phones with customers, which is outside your CRM. This creates potential liability for the dealership because the sales team is operating outside TCPA compliance. Also, couple this with a lack of tracking for management and privacy issues, your dealership is at risk without a centralized texting platform. Plus, I am sure you have tons of questions are going unanswered. How effective is text messaging working at my dealership? What is the average text volley? What percentage of salespeople are sharing inventory via a text message, and does it impact appointment results for my store? It would be best if you had answers to these questions and more to manage your team and deliver outstanding results. Your dealership texting solution better bring the data intelligence to help you manage your team and create coaching moments.
7. CRM connectivity
Moving data across platforms outside the automotive industry is easy with open APIs and webhooks. It has been made more difficult in automotive because of the wall gardens created by the larger companies. Your texting platform needs to communicate essential information with your CRM provider to update the records and keep all your information organized. The technology doesn’t need to be wholly integrated through to get all the real benefits of a texting platform; in fact, sometimes the texting services that have complete integration within the CRM have limited functionality because of the CRM itself. Texting is a continuously evolving platform. You will best be served with a company that specializes in it versus just another add on tool to an already cumbersome CRM platform.
In conclusion, using a specialized automotive dealership texting platform at your dealership will have a profound improvement in customer engagement and results. Here is another post that might interest you on the subject. It will also help you stay in control and TCPA compliant while also giving your sales team the added advantage to grow your sales. To become successful in these fluid times within the automotive industry, you need to leverage best in class technology, and it is even more critical to adapt your processes to align with both your sales teams and shoppers existing habits. By meeting them at the intersection of where and how they want to communicate. Today it’s texting, and Digital Retailing depends on your ability to be successful using texting to communicate with your customers every day.
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