I’ve watched enough movies to know soldiers aren’t trained on the battlefield. They’re provided education, exercises, instruction, and tested by leaders before moved to the front lines. When there is no battle to fight, soldiers practice their craft in hopes of staying sharp and getting better. If your dealership is quieter than normal, now is not the time to sit back, relax and wait for the first onslaught of customers. Now is the time to get fundamentally great at the basics of customer service warfare.
Advertising When Times Are Slow
I’ve received countless emails from vendors stating now is the time to increase that spend and gain market share. With profit diminishing, this doesn’t seem to make fiscal sense. Nor does the opposite, though. Pulling back all spends will cause your entire business to atrophy. Instead, get localized in your attacks. Stop with the big Google Adwords buys of vehicle brand and model names, and dedicate more dollars to local market contextual ads, long-tail searches, and retargeting efforts. Ensure that the tone and copy, along with all graphics, are addressing the current state of affairs. Shoppers aren’t stupid and will prefer this more local and targeted approach.
Lead Handling When Times Are Slow
In-store traffic and phone traffic may be falling drastically, but online shopper traffic and internet leads have not sank to those levels. Whether your team is working from home or social distancing from each other on the sales floor/BDC, there are still opportunities funneling into your CRMs that are valuable to engage. Are they chomping at the bit to come in? No. Like your own soldiers must be, they’re doing their research. They’re preparing themselves to be in peak condition to charge your dealership and buy a vehicle when the time is right for them. Are your troops following the same regimen? Are they learning, getting better, and training? Now is the best time possible to work with your team to sharpen their skills. (This doesn’t mean bringing in an in-store car sales trainer, or even having DealerKnows train your team virtually. Your own in-store management and directors should be up to this task. This way, when the flood gates open, your dealership has a fighting chance at winning the battle to sell more vehicles.
Prospecting When Times Are Slow
It is times like these when we must dig ourselves in and leverage what we have. Hunker down and find opportunities already in your own CRM. Per Axios, there are 1.8 million vehicle leases due to expire between now and June. Since your team is likely not calling or texting all of those fresh walk-in shoppers, why not incorporate in a strong lease follow-up campaign to capture those customers? People may be forced to stay at home due to these current circumstances, but that doesn’t mean their lease ending date is on hold. Become a sniper and engage them on a one-to-one basis before they make contact. Whether it is a lease pull-ahead or crafting another offer based on the amazing incentives available, this type of ambush gives you the upper hand. Don’t wait for them to peek their head out of the foxhole. Go get them.
While we train teams to communicate better with shoppers under any and all circumstances and identify new ways to create urgency as to why now is the best time to buy, we also recognize budgets are being cut. This is why our core Virtual Dealer Training program fits so well in these times. Whether it be us, or ANYONE you choose… someone needs to be role-playing, monitoring, training, instructing and coaching your staff. When the loud cracking of new leads explode into your CRM, your troops must be ready; seasoned, smart, and disciplined enough to handle everything a busy summer can throw at them. Don’t wait until everything is back to being hectic before you teach your team. You won’t have their full, undivided attention. It is when things are all quiet on the western front that it is best to do your basic training. Only then will you ever have a company of people conditioned to be victorious.