Everywhere you turn, people are talking about the digital retail experience. People are debating about the experience the customer wants. Some people are in the camp that customers want a fully digital experience, never needing to talk to a salesperson or visit a dealership. Others are in the camp where the customer must interact with a salesperson and come to the dealership. Personally, I am of the mindset that customers want the assistance of a salesperson, even if they don’t want to admit it. Or even if they do not realize it.
I believe the customers who want this fully digital experience have this opinion based on previous poor experiences purchasing a vehicle, either their own experience or one that happened to someone they know. I also believe most of these same customers would prefer to work with a professional salesperson and a dealership that creates a truly exceptional customer experience if they had the chance. The problem is most dealerships, especially in current times, do not create this truly exceptional experience. In fact, most dealerships create a terrible customer experience.
Most dealerships digital retailing or internet process is doomed from the beginning because it focuses on what the dealership and salesperson want instead of the customer experience. To prove this point, over the past two years, I have mystery-shopped more dealerships than I can count, and 99% of them all had two things in common.
- All but one did NOT answer the question I submitted in my lead inquiry
- All but one only asked me one question in their responses. That question was some variation of “When can you come in?”
These facts about my mystery shopping experience show me that most dealerships and salespeople are more focused on what they want instead of what the customer wants. Especially the second fact, “When can you come in?”
If the customer wanted just to come in, that is what they would do. Your hours and address are listed on your website. An appointment is not required to visit your dealership, and your website shows the vehicle is in stock.
When customers submit an internet inquiry, they have questions. One of those questions is rarely, “When can I come in?”
Imagine the following scenario. You are single, and you want to go out tonight to a bar to try and meet someone you could have a relationship with and maybe even have a sexual relationship with them. You would not walk up to the first person who caught your eye and ask, “Do you want to come back to my place and have sex?”
Sure, this approach may work once in a while; however, when it does, you need to ask yourself, is this really the person you want to go home with. In this scenario, if you’re going to start a relationship and determine if this is the right person for you, you need to start by asking questions and getting to know more about them.
An internet inquiry is no different. You must be interested in them before they are interested in you, especially before responding and engaging with you. This leads me to the NUMBER ONE OBJECTION with internet leads, NO RESPONSE.
How many of your leads go unresponded to? If you are like most dealerships and salespeople, the majority of your responses go unanswered. Basically, the customer gives you one chance to be of value to them, and if you miss this opportunity, they move on.
Next time try this:
This email template is highly effective for the following reasons:
- The Subject Line entices a customer to open it. People love options.
- The body of the email starts with building the customer’s attitude.
- Asks an engaging question about them.
- It justifies why you ask the question and why the customer should answer it.
- It piques the customer’s curiosity about these options, or they respond that this is the only vehicle they are interested in. Either way, the response is powerful.
- It wraps up with a call to action, specifically to call you. At the same time, making it the customer’s idea.
I don’t know about you, but I think this email accomplishes a lot with just a few sentences. This email has engaged more customers than any other I have seen in my 27-year career. Try it out and see what it does for you.
I challenge you to look at the last 10 internet leads you responded to that did not reply to your message. Did you bring any value to them? Did you ask them any engaging questions, or did you just ask them back to your place? If you would like help making your responses more engaging, send one to me at: email@example.com. Please make sure the subject line is exactly the same as you would send to a customer, and be sure to leave me a contact number so I can discuss the recommended changes.