(Original article posted on The Dealer Hub)
Why (auto) sales people in our industry fail.
I think it has become clear that in today’s world of just sitting out back and smoking cigarettes waiting for someone to walk into the showroom and purchase a vehicle on a one or two visit shopping spree is pretty much dead. As most studies show, “auto shoppers go online 95% of the time and spend as much as 120 days looking at and thinking about what new vehicle they are going to buy.” It is incumbent on all sales people to find a way to stay in touch with someone once they show up whether that is online or by phone or the first time they hit the lot. Problem is most sales people don’t even write your name down. They approach you, shake your hand and expect you to buy a car in the next 20 minutes… that is just not how it works any more. When “The average price of a new vehicle in the U.S. is $32,086 ..that’s a $641 monthly payment” (http://www.fool.com/investing/general/2014/03/16/why-the-average-american-can-no-longer-afford-a-ne.aspx ) it can take 4 to 6 visits to a dealership to close that customer. It takes time to find the right pricing, financing… color and features and so on. And while your sales team will swear up and down that a person buys a car in the first 48 hours of stepping onto the lot – that just represents the first time they bothered to write down the prospective customer’s name.
Let’s step back a minute and realize that the “automated” email systems of most dealership websites are marked as spam when they come to the consumer and for those that are not the open rate hovers under 10%. Click rates are under 2%. What kind of marketing program is that? On the lot, most sales people neglect to enter a prospective customers name into a computer because they spoke to 10 people while out and about on the lot as they walked around trying to help them. Expecting these floor salespeople to take the time to bring someone inside, who doesn’t yet want to come, and write down their name and phone number and enter that into a computer BDC or CRM program is ridiculous.
Anyone watching this “Hawk hunting Rabbits” game on a Saturday afternoon at a dealership gets it pretty quick. Those waves of prospects that show up on Memorial Day or President’s day are lost in a sea of noise. Only the most hungry and anxious get attention.
Texting really works!
Texting is a better way to capture first level “suspects” which can then be entered into the system at a later time and groomed into prospects. We have been working with our dealerships around the US now for over 2 years and are releasing a new concept in sales transaction data management. Using the Smartphone they are holding in their hand…Take that first level of contact, text them a link with the salesperson’s information, a vehicle they recommend to them and then, when they are back at their desk, they can enter that person’s cell phone number and any notes that were captured out on the lot. Texting has a 95% open rate.
Take a look at http://TextDetails.com
“We feel that the new texting template service from TextDetails offers our sales team features that will catapult us to the next level in the auto industry. We are able to send out marketing materials and get instant feedback from our customers all from the smart phones our staff carry around with them all day. The system has a built in review function that pushes the positive responses straight to our social media avenues. The possibilities seem endless as to how we can utilize the websites services. Torrey and his team have been great with accommodating us with the ideas we have had.”
Lee Bort, GM Auto Sales and Finance, Amarillo, TX