Where the rubber meets the road isn’t on the information highway. In Terminator II, a prophecy is relayed to Sarah Connors. Skynet goes online on August 4th, 1997 and human decisions are removed from strategic defense.
Thankfully, we are not yet at the point in our technological evolution where the vehicle we drive is chosen for us, but rather, consumers still play a role in that decision making process.
While much of your dealership’s future communication with customers will be unmanned and executed through artificial intelligence, even with financial transactions performed online and vehicles shipped, there will always be the need for some semblance of face-to-face interaction. People still prefer talking to people over robots. Think of the last time you used an automated phone service that wasn’t able to address your question and how frustrating that is for you. Dealers will become self-aware and maintain control of these critical person-to-person engagements. Technology cannot drive all sales. Don’t be fooled into thinking sales-assisted technology is the future, but rather we must seek to embrace technology-assisted sales.
This is where the rubber meets the road and where DealerKnows is poised to improve the customer experience. Getting the most out of your team through training and understanding the benefit of technology-assisted sales.
Here are the six steps to your dealership embracing technology-assisted sales:
Proper utilization of tablets, app-based software, and menu selling
When you visit an Apple store, you don’t often remember the individual that helped you, but the fact they adeptly used an iPad throughout. They logged you in or registered you for your appointment. Looked up your account. Ran diagnostics. Searched for the right product. Checked inventory. And completed the financial aspect of your transaction. Simply put, tablet technology has far ranging uses, but none more valuable than making personnel look like credible, capable authorities.
I’ll be the first to admit, using iPads in the showroom and service drive slows down the process (that is until your team is confident and quick in using it), but it improves the perception of them, and often the customer experience. The more you can load up tablets with the proper (limited number of) mobile apps and teach them to use the technology with the customer, the quicker this transition will go. Introducing shoppers to inventory, options, information, and presenting figures through this technology and the software within will put your team in the best position possible to appear as a competent authority. Tablets are the pinnacle of technology-assisted sales tools, but only if trained to use it correctly.
Emphasis on the production of video communication
I wouldn’t be where I am today if it weren’t for experimenting with videos before it was on other dealers’ radars. Proud to say I was one of the earliest innovators in video messaging in automotive. With that said, I didn’t write about “Sending Video Messages”, which I still believe is extremely valuable, but “production of video”. Video, in all of its forms, assists the sale, doesn’t complete it. Video walk-arounds answer questions. Video messages build trust. Video chat builds relationships. Video answers to frequently asked questions on a website build transparency. Video value propositions build differentiations from other dealers. Vehicle comparison videos educate. Staff bio videos build peace of mind with who you’ll be meeting with. Dealership process videos manage expectations. Funny videos are memorable. Wacky videos delight. The opportunities that video provides are endless to assisting your dealership with its sales.
Crafting personalized messages to address unique prospect needs
Email, text and chat (read: written communication) still plays a role when staying connected to online customers. Instead of relying heavily on email templates, taking the time to craft a message (regardless of medium) and building a dialogue rather than a monologue, is what keeps conversations alive. Don’t rely on computer-generated/A.I. algorithms to address all of your shoppers’ issues. Technology-assisted sales training can help teach your team the proper language to persuade and engage todays’ customers. Personalization and customization of your written messaging should be on the agenda when planning on how to improve your 2021 marketing efforts.
Progressive sales call handling techniques
Having a phone conversation with an Internet prospect increases the likelihood they purchase by 700%. That is correct, 7X. (Data released in a DealerKnows study at DSES 2018). Knowing how important communicating on the phone is (even with text communication being the easiest way to connect with Internet opportunities today) and leveraging updated phone handling techniques puts your team in a better position to appoint more customers. How old is your phone script? Is it reminiscent of when you first saw a phone script? If so, recognize customers have evolved, and so must your phone handling methodology. A live phone conversation, even leaving voicemails, are far too valuable to leave to ancient phone tactics. Today, technology-assisted sales tools can have your sales calls monitored, transcribed, scored, and graded to promote better call handling. This is how it can assist the sale, without relying on it to complete the sale.
Monitoring of task activity quality, rather than quantity
In 2021, (lesser) training organizations continue to promote a call quota for the day, or a number of necessary tasks to complete. Never do they pay mind to total opportunities per agent or how it is more important to deliver quality follow-up over quantity. Today, sales-assisted technology such as a dealership CRM may engage shoppers automatically, but they do not sell a vehicle themselves. Nor do they measure the most critical functions of follow-up that truly play a role in converting shoppers to clients. However, automotive software that monitors and grades salespeople on their task completion, their process follow-through, and their quality of messaging is taking center stage. This level of technology-assisted sales software will continue to improve team performance and develop into a standard training tool.
In the end, sales are made by combining technology-assisted sales tools and progressive sales training practices. It is at this intersection where dealers will be converging. Those that embrace these new methodologies and technology will continue to provide a superior customer experience while simultaneously capturing market share from those dealers that insist on doing the same old thing.
Want more? Check out our own Bill Playford’s blog about being human.