This article is geared more towards owners and managers of car dealerships; however, many of the same tactics I talk about apply across numerous business models – so, if you’re an owner or manager at any business, you can certainly learn some new concepts from reading this post.
Essentially, every business needs an automated sales system and car dealerships are no different.
Think about how much competition a car dealership has. Unless you’re way out in the middle of nowhere, there are probably a dozen dealerships within a 10 mile radius. So, what’s to convince someone to go to one dealership over another?
Then, what’s to convince that individual to come back again and again for things like services, maintenance, and even, another car?
And what helps form and maintain relationships? (hint: it’s an automated sales system)
- Related article: What is an automated sales system?
To Collect Lead Contact Information
The first reason your car dealership needs an automated sales system is to collect contact information from potential leads.
Of course, you’ll then use that contact information to build a relationship and ultimately sell a vehicle.
Let’s be honest for a minute. There are really only two reasons why a person would ever arrive on your dealership’s website:
- They’re seeing what’s in stock (they’re ready to buy)
- They’re checking on how you do business (research) [loans, offers, incentives, policies, reviews, etc]
They’re not going to be researching particular vehicles on your website – that’s what the manufacture’s website and the plethora of vehicle review sites are for.
They’re only there for the aforementioned reasons, and instead of inundating them with random information, you should target them based off of those reasons.
Based on the visitor’s intent, you’ll be able to cater to them on a deeper level – but first, let’s talk about segmenting them.
There are a number of ways to segment visitors automatically based on keywords and the links they clicked; however, let’s keep it simple.
All you need to do is – ask them.
The very first page someone lands on can ask the simple question – “Why are you here?”
Then, give the options:
- I’m looking to make a purchase soon
- I’m just browsing
Now you know exactly why an individual is on your site and you can provide the necessary information to that person in order to collect their contact information and start building that relationship.
Lead Magnet Ideas
- Related article: What is a lead magnet?
For the individuals that are looking to make a purchase soon, you can offer a special deal like …
- $1,000 cash back
- 0% financing
- 6 free oil changes
For the individuals who are just browsing, a special deal won’t go as far because they’re not quite ready to commit to a purchase, so you’ll want to offer something else – for example:
- Digital pamphlet – 7 tips for buying a car from an independent dealer / used car dealership / car dealership / etc
- Fact sheet – 7 questions you need to ask before purchasing a vehicle
- Fact sheet – 5 things most dealerships don’t tell you, but you need to know
Of course, in each of these digital products you’ll refer back to your business and how your business answers the questions and solves the problems – placing you in the spotlight.
How many people purchase a car without talking to a salesperson at some point?
Exactly – everyone will talk to a salesperson at some point.
So, after collecting the individual’s contact information, it’s time to start a conversation that builds a relationship.
The best way to start a conversation is by delivering exactly what you say you will – the lead magnet.
- First email: Lead magnet
- Time frame: Immediately after signup
This action instantly establishes a bit of trust. You said you would instantly deliver the lead magnet, and you did. You’re a man/woman/business of your word.
The goal of the second email should be to start the conversation – and a great way to do that is by asking a question. (Note: based off of your segmentation, your question should change – CYA [consider your audience])
- Second email: Ask them a question
- How can I help you?
- Time frame: Within 24 hours of delivery of the lead magnet
Note: It may be best to ask a simple yes or no question as people are more likely to respond with a yes or no. For example: Have you ever shopped with us before?
Remember, it’s all about getting the individual to start talking with you – once the conversation has started, you’ll be able to drive.
Ideally the conversation will be started with the second email; however, this doesn’t always happen. Maybe the person needs a little more information about your dealership – which is the point of the third and fourth emails.
- Third email: Tell them about your inventory
- Time frame: 2-3 days after second email
- Fourth email: Tell them about how you conduct business
- Incentives, credit checks, warranties, etc
- Time frame: 1 day after third email
Now, the individual should know everything they need to know about your dealership – from your inventory to how you conduct business. It’s time again to ask a question.
- Fifth email: Ask them a “fun” question
- What car do you picture yourself in?
- Time frame: 2 days after fourth email
Now, these are just the first five emails that I recommend sending. Of course, things change – what works for one dealership may not work for another. What works for one segment may not work for another.
The point is, you’ll have something to work with, and from there you’ll be able to see what’s working and what isn’t.
Just remember, it’s all about getting the conversation started!
After The Sale
After spending hours working with an individual – trying to sell them a vehicle. And after that individual opens their wallet to give you money to purchase a vehicle … do you want that person to drive away from your dealership … never to be heard from again?
My guess is no.
You’re going to want to keep that relationship alive – and this can be easily accomplished with an automated sales system – via the sales pipelines.
- Related article: What are sales pipelines?
Segmenting Your Sales Pipelines
There are many reasons people purchase the type of vehicle they purchase.
For example; if they purchase a sports car – they certainly care about what they drive, they’ll be proud of their purchase, proud of their accomplishments, want people to see it, etc.
If the person purchases a minivan – they probably do so because they need some extra room – have kids, etc.
If the person purchases an off road vehicle like a Jeep or a truck – they’re probably going off road, camping, exploring, etc.
So, you can specifically target individuals based off of what their interests are and send them related products and services.
Also, no matter what type of vehicle they purchase, they’re still going to need to perform the regular maintenance like oil changes, filter changes, tires, etc, etc, etc.
Whether your dealership actually performs the maintenance or not – it’s going to need to be done – and by sending reminders, coupons, and recommendations at a regular interval, you’ll be able to keep in touch with your customers in a very helpful manner.
I mean, who doesn't like oil change coupons?!
If your car dealership does not have an automated sales system in place … you’re missing out on so much! Everything from starting the initial conversation to keeping a relationship alive.
Alas, it’s never too late to implement an automated sales system for your business, simply contact us!