Hello Dealer Knows,
At our store we recently signed on with our first CRM tool (VinSolutions) and in the past I have used AVV with handing leads. I’m the only one handling leads at the dealership roughly 75-95/month. I’m looking to revamp the sales process online. What have other dealerships been doing as far as best practices? I hear automated templates are outdated, some still use them. I used them with AVV and they were okay, but not great. I want to get into more of the walkaround videos, solid follow-up processes, and an effective way to reach my customers. Any input would be great.
Internet Sales Manager
This topic is near and dear to my heart, as lead management training is our number one priority at DealerKnows. Unfortunately, I don’t have the time to write 50 pages so I will try to be as clear and concise as possible with some helpful hints.
1) Mystery shop your competition and determine if they are doing anything outside of the box that might be generating them more “online goodwill” that you’d then need to adopt.
2) Deconstruct EVERY lead. Simply Google the name and/or email address of every lead and attempt to glean some information about them online that might help you either build rapport or understand their buying trends.
3) Timing is key. And I don’t just mean the first email and call. Your ongoing follow-up timing should be staggered, and should initially be scheduled based on the hour, not the day, so you are reaching the prospect at times based on when the lead arrived opposed to every morning. (A lead is submitted at 4pm, ongoing follow-up calls are triggered to reach them at 4pm the next few days).
4) Read your emails before sending them. No spelling errors, punctuation gaffes, grammatical inconsistencies, etc. Moreover, make sure you are answering their questions every step of the way.
5) Eliminate all templates with the words “Still interested?”, “Have you bought yet?”, or “I haven’t heard from you in _____ days/weeks”. We definitely rely on automated emails, but the key is to make them engaging automated emails. Every single template topic should be completely different or have a different topic.
6) In the end, email templates are meant to do one thing… and that is to elicit a response. Make sure that you are always asking a question of the prospect.
7) Incorporate in as much multimedia as possible. You mentioned video walk-arounds. These can be VERY beneficial as many industry professionals have proven, but it is very time-intensive. You have a lower volume of leads so it is possible, but the key is to make each video as personal as possible. And don’t think walk-arounds only have to be about the vehicle. You can have videos telling the customer about yourself, your dealership, and your process as well. If you don’t have time for a video, send pictures as people are still visual creatures.
8) Use different channels. Email isn’t the only form of communication (even if it was the medium chosen by the customer). Make sure you are offering them multiple mediums in which to communicate such as text, live chat, video chat, phone, and even in person conversations. Make sure the customer knows you are both their virtual Internet guide, but their in-store assistant as well.
By and large, customers want to speed up the process while staying in the comforts of their own home until they feel at ease with their decision. However, they often think a dealership’s Internet salesperson is solely meant to email them answers and they can walk in at their leisure. It is imperative you let them know you’re there to help them from the start all the way to the finish. If you can prove you are going above and beyond to meet their needs through your correspondence alone, they’ll usually choose to do business with you over others… provided the pricing lines up 🙂
While “Ask the Experts” is never a sales pitch, I will say that DealerKnows has a master account with VinSolutions (along with a few other CRMs) and can push our customized email templates, phone scripts, and follow-up processes into our clients’ dealerships. If you are interested in becoming a DealerKnows Dealer, feel free to reach out to us directly.
Hope that helps.