Conducting Effective Business Where the Customer Feels Safe: Online sales for dealers and OEM’s in 2020

Car shoppers need answers to their car-buying questions, but their outreach changing. But the shopping mentality has now shifted dramatically, and online shopping has heightened out of necessity.

In recent weeks, lifestyles and expectations been impacted dramatically by the pandemic. The car industry is reeling from the challenges created by the coronavirus and is looking for the most effective ways to adapt. These times demand an even better way of working with the consumer in a way they feel comfortable yet taking advantage of all opportunities. This holds true for the dealer, the car company and also the OEM.

OEM’s can no longer regard leads as non-binding.

First, let me identify where I believe you have three opportunities. The first is the showroom customer; the shopper who enters the store without an appointment and displays interest in a particular vehicle. Those customers may currently be dwindling based on social distancing due to the virus. There is the customer who calls for information, and finally there is the online customer who has submitted a form.

Most sellers have historically had a huge preference for the physical customer. In the coming weeks, perhaps months, those types of customer will evolve into phone and internet shoppers. That requires adjustments and training on the part of the dealer. More than ever, we have to focus on a concrete agreement for the appointment, which, in these times, does not always have to be physical.

Today’s online customer is now the most important opportunity you have!

The incoming call, especially through the 3rd party websites, often asks for information about a specific used car. Is it still available? Can I trade in a car? These are all questions that we can easily answer by telephone, but we need to learn to be effective in turning these calls into a concrete appointment.

The appointment
These appointments can be a Facetime conversation, a showroom visit or an appointment at various locations. Just answering the question is not good enough. In this reenacted, real conversation with actors, the seller answers the questions, but he is not working towards making a concrete appointment. Using #DCDW’s Call Track Manager, all conversations are recorded and assessed in near real-time, enabling the sales manager to coach their salesperson more quickly and directly in order to create more appointments.

Facetime calls will become the most normal conversation in the automotive world in the next month!

The online lead
Finally, I would like to talk about the online form that has been around for about 20 years. It supplies the most important information to get in touch with potential customers. We prefer to respond to that online form by telephone. This is also the first rule in following up on online leads, call first! This is followed by WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, SMS or any other direct messaging tool. And email? For many of your customers, email ranks next to the fax machine in terms of usefulness. Keep that in mind.

It’s important that your customers are responded to quickly when they do reach out. With Calldrip, we see similar results at over 300 brand dealers. The customer’s interest is highest at the point where they are actually making the request. Every minute after that (not hours, or days), it becomes more difficult to speak to the customer by telephone (primary) or to contact them through another communication channel.

The aim is to engage the customer in a concrete dialogue that results in an appointment (showroom, Facetime, on location). The graph below clearly shows that the greatest chance of that dialogue, and thus the appointment and the sale, is in the first two minutes after the inquiry! If you call later, you have to exert more effort to engage the customer. A customer in 2020 is less likely to accept a call from a telephone number that is not recognized. That is also an important reason to call within two minutes!

How does it work?
By using Calldrip, the sellers can start immediately with the available opportunities. The potential auto customer sends their inquiry form and 20 seconds after they press “send,” the phone rings from the seller. It doesn’t matter if they are in the showroom, working on a BDC, or sitting at home. The seller hears who is calling and what the request is about (briefly), after which Calldrip automatically ensures that the lead is called.

As an OEM or dealer, you are therefore assured that leads will be called immediately. Hyundai The Netherlands ensures that 90% of the leads are called by a Hyundai salesman within two minutes. Usually the OEM asks his dealers to call the leads. With Calldrip, you ensure that it actually happens. The system is flexible and can be set up according to your preferences with different calling schedules and utilizing appropriate telephone numbers, for example, showroom, mobile or at home. It doesn’t matter how you organize it, as long as the customers are called immediately.

Making sellers better
Especially during these unusually challenging times, you cannot afford to miss any sales opportunities. You get an online lead and begin work to get in touch with the shopper, preferably by telephone. But what happens in that conversation? Is there active steering towards an appointment? Or is it a non-binding dialogue? Most salespeople do their best, have the intention to speak actively engage the lead, but often miss out on setting the appointment. They forget it’s not just the car to be sold, but the appointment as well.

You can coach the sellers when recording and assessing their conversations. In the conversation below, a dialogue (acted out by voice actors in connection with AVG) that has been marked by the #DCDW Quality Managers as a conversation in which the seller had no intention of making an appointment. By recording, assessing and then coaching the salesperson, they will function better on their next calls, and leads can be more effectively pursued.

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