You probably put a lot of thought into your marketing strategy. It may be paying off if you have thousands of website visitors, hundreds of “likes” on Facebook, a thousand Twitter fans, and a steady amount of foot traffic into your dealership.
Your marketing strategy seems to be working if it’s generating leads, but there’s another important piece to the puzzle. The ultimate goal isn’t just to generate leads. The goal is to sell vehicles. The following tips can help you convert more leads to sales and give your dealership better profits.
1. Know your stuff, and your customer
Know your inventory. More importantly, know why one vehicle is better than another depending on the prospective customer lifestyle. Do not just focus on knowing the competitive price! Prospects who find that your dealership understands their motivations and values versus the “how much” may choose you for the sale.
Lead with lifestyle and benefits, then sell price.
2. Be responsive.
Literally every minute counts when it comes to response time. 80% of leads go cold if not contacted within 5 minutes! Your chances of landing a sale are highest when you can call a potential customer back within a few minutes of receiving an inquiry. Your rapid response can help build a sense of loyalty that remains even after the consumer has explored other dealerships. Just be sure the conversation is casual and professional versus aggressive, pushy or stalker like! Demonstrate your willingness to help, and your respect for the prospect’s attention.
3. Be persistent.
Don’t give up on your leads. A vehicle is a major purchase. Consumers often need time to think about their options before making a decision. Most often the consumer spends time browsing for a vehicle before they are ready to buy. Stay in touch and don’t get impatient. Try to establish a relationship, so you’ll be top of mind awareness when it is time for the purchase.
Statistics indicate that about 80% of sales people make only one phone call. Of the 20% that make the second call, only 10% make a third. Most often, it takes 7-12 touches to sell, make the calls, send the emails and direct mail, so that they think of you first when it’s time to buy.
4. Cater to online consumers.
Because a large part of your marketing strategy relies on your dealership’s website and social media presence, a fair number of leads are likely to come from internet shoppers. Personalize your content by focusing on fantastic technology. Sun Toyota out of Florida, does this extremely well. They are using some of the most sophisticated technology. More importantly, they have a team that connects immediately and makes meaningful and personal offers based on shopper online behavior. Not everyone likes Starbucks so stop forcing Starbucks gift cards on them as an incentive!
5. Use multi-channel marketing.
Multi-channel marketing involves communicating with leads using different methods. For example, if your lead came through social media, you could send emails or direct mail to reinforce the same message through a different channel. The approach may help build consumer trust faster than if you just use one form of marketing. Even using one extra channel can mean noticeable benefits. Consider some or all of the following.
- Social media, such as Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.
- Direct mail.
- Telephone calls.
Keep up with your aggressive efforts to generate leads, but don’t forget that your ultimate goal is to land the sale. These strategies can help you convert leads to vehicle sales so that your dealership stays ahead of the competition.
It’s called the “bright, shiny object syndrome” or BSOS for short. For people in charge of dealership marketing it can be a problem that’s extremely hard to overcome.
People infected with BSOS can often see every new thing as THE thing, the one solution that’s going to make all the difference in helping them achieve their goals.
Something new comes along that looks good and they grab it. Then, all of a sudden, they spot another bright shiny thing that looks good and they grab on to it before the previous shiny thing is ever fully utilized. The pattern happens with enough frequency it becomes a never ending cycle of starting over.
Because of BSOS, it’s easy for automotive marketers to get pulled in an almost infinite number of directions on how to spend very finite resources like time, personnel, and money. Every day, another bright and shiny idea is launched to sell. With each are frequent opportunities to jump to yet another thing, ultimately causing resources to be exhausted with no consistent results achieved.
If you or someone you know sufferers from BSOS, it’s ok. There’s a cure and your dealership can benefit tremendously by kicking the habit.
The solution is found in one simple observance. Some things sell cars and a lot of things don’t. The key is having a precise strategy for being able to identify what works for your dealership versus what doesn’t. Then, you must have the fortitude to stick with what works and get rid of what doesn’t. The more things you find that work well will begin a decrease in the dependency for hopping around from object to object, and ultimately will allow you to be more critical in evaluating things that can pull you astray.
One of the common denominators for marketers who do a good job of separating what works from what doesn’t is they stick with something long enough to accurately measure its true value before they change gears and move on to something else. They provide themselves the opportunity to build a solid foundation of tried and true performers that achieve their goal. That doesn’t mean they’re not open to new things, they’re just more critical of their place at the table.
They follow a process that isn’t overly complicated. It’s based simply on time. The time to succinctly think through how to best utilize a tool; resource; or idea, the time to implement it properly, the time to think through and define their desired goals, and the time to then measure the heck out of something to see if it actually met or exceeded the goal.
Once a really solid foundation is built it then becomes much easier to separate contenders from pretenders the next time they try and present a new bright shiny object that deviates from what you know works for your dealership. As they’re presenting the wonderfulness of whatever they’re selling, call a time out and tell them you’re only interested in the answers to two questions:
Question 1: Does what they have sell cars?
Question 2: Can they prove it? Not just prove it with stories from other dealerships, but prove it in your dealership every month.
The lesson to be learned is that it’s not necessary to chase every bright shiny thing. There are some new things that work, and some things that are too tried and true to be shiny that also work. The key is easily sorting them out to find the best fits for your store.
Does it sell cars?
Can you prove it?
If the answer is yes to both those questions, it’s worth your time and budget. If not, it’s just a worthless bright shiny thing and who needs a collection of those?