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
As the automotive lead process is not a new thing. It has become obvious there is a collision between the dealership’s automated systems and human engagement. If you missed our previous post click here
Today, we will focus on the first two steps in the lead development process. The autoresponder and squeeze page coupled be powerful attractors for dealerships yet virtually every dealership we tested are squandering these two steps on their initial automotive lead engagement. I started here because this is a great spot to set a first impression and the entire tone of the relationship with the shopper, and it is a spot that is poorly executed in almost every dealership tested.
First Impressions Matter
Let’s start with the autoresponders, which practically every dealership we tested is using one to acknowledge they received the lead request. Every one of these that we received was a wasted opportunity. This is the dealership’s first impression, yet it was a lost opportunity to establish a trust or build any type of engagement besides confirming the lead’s receipt.
Let’s fix it and make the first automotive lead contact compelling.
It would be far more effective for the dealership to develop an autoresponder that included these four elements which we will discuss more in-depth below
- How the sales process works
- “Why Buy” from your specific dealership
So let’s get a little more specific with this autoresponder email and what it should accomplish. I will assume you already know what personalization of an email is so I will skip that one and focus on the larger core elements.
First, we have to establish trust right up front in that initial email. You can begin to accomplish this with a couple of written testimonials with pictures or video ones with links to additional ones. Telling your story through your previous customer’s words and voice is powerful.
The second is to paint a visual image of how doing business with your dealership works. Think Explainer Video. Shoppers don’t know, so we need to show and tell them exactly how buying a vehicle from your dealership will looks and how it will make them feel. The context of the video could either be your transparent sales process or explaining your dealerships Digital Retailing process post-COVID-19. This could even be done with an Infographic showing the process. We did see emails coming from salespeople with this type of messaging. Unfortunately, it was much farther down the sales funnel and it wasn’t detailed so it made little impact or added much value. Timing coupled with the right information is everything
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Third, now that you have established trust through testimonials, and then you highlighted your transparent processes at the dealership its time to show the “Why Buy From Your Dealership.” These four critical elements combined, and upfront placed into your shopper’s mind will put your dealership into the best selling position with the shopper.
So a quick recap of the auto response:
- Personalize it
- Have testimonials front and center with customer pictures or even links to customer videos if you have them.
- Highlight your sales process in an infographic or Explainer Video
- Tell your “Why Buy” from your dealership story.
With every contact through every channel make sure it has one of the two types of CTA “Call to Actions” There is what is called a direct CTA which would be “Buy Now” like on a Digitial Retailing page. The second is what is called a transitional CTA which would be “watch this video.” Every interaction with a shopper should have a clear CTA to drive outcomes.
This is about capturing your shopper’s attention and holding it to establish trust, and no better place exists that your autoresponse. Just because they submitted a lead doesn’t make them yours yet. You still need to get them to engage in that first text, email, or call and ultimately purchase a vehicle. It all begins here as a critical first step with the autoresponse.
Now onto the second opportunity, we saw squandered in virtually every dealership communication process. It’s called a squeeze page, and it is the page after a shopper hits the submit button on the lead form. Most dealership either just has a pop up thank you or returned us to the homepage. HUGE MISTAKE!
Learn to maximize your shoppers time on site
Let’s create a Squeeze Page and convert more automotive leads into truly active buyers. If you don’t know what a squeeze page is, click here. Otherwise, let’s dive in and talk about moving the shopper further down the funnel faster. The shopper just hit the submit button showing intent in a vehicle on your website. Instead of taking them back to your homepage or just saying “Thank You,” with a page or pop-up, we will use this page to build a deeper connection.
This page can do a couple of things, but the primary one is to drive a greater propensity to purchase from your dealership. Here are just a couple of ideas that you could potentially include on the page.
Know the Value of your Trade: You can use third-party credibility here using KBB or Blackbook for the value.
- Get an instant appraisal value of the car you are currently driving.
Know your credit score: You can use 700Credit or NCC for third party credibility using a soft pull for the shopper.
- Get pre-approved to lock in the best financing rate today.
Take a simple 3 question quiz: You can ask questions like what is your timeframe to purchase? Are you planning to purchase or lease? Have you ever owned a Chevrolet?
This page is an incredible opportunity to drive a more in-depth relationship with the shopper while keeping them engage before you even make initial live contact with them.
If you look outside automotive, these techniques I have described are everywhere online and used by successful marketers to maximize every interaction point with their shoppers.
In the next post, we will focus on the first personalized engagement with the shopper by phone, email, or text and how to make sure you continue the momentum and drive more sales opportunities into your dealership starting this month.
One more thing.
The inconsistency of the automotive lead communication process between shoppers and the dealership can be solved by developing a Content Style Guide for all communication coming from the dealership, whether it is coming out of the CRM or directly from one of your sales team members. Read about designing one for your dealerships here.
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