We at CarSalesSpecialist.com have been diligently pursuing a clear understanding of human behavior in the business arena since 1987. We have taken the precepts identified by those early business men and marketers before us and have laid down a path to success for automotive dealerships – both big and small alike.
All dealerships recognize the need for exposure (specifically exposure of their inventory) and the need for leads. What is normally lacking, however, is attention to the human need for trust. Consumers, like anyone, go through a process before they make a purchase. That is: Know, Like, and Trust.
In order to attain the level of trust necessary to make a purchase, a consumer needs to first know about your dealership and its product line. This is why online tools like inventory syndication (e.g.: AutoTrader, Cars.com, CarGurus, and our own Automotive Syndication) are important. Some consumers are more motivated by other factors like help in getting financing; and this is why we have filtered special finance leads & Direct Mail to lists of people who meet those needs. Still other have time or technology constraints and resort to old school solutions like Mail (yes mail is still very effective at driving leads and UPs for events and sales); OR are attracted by what they come across on their mobile devices (thus the need for long distance iBeacons (to acquire a receptive audience list), GEO fencing (to know when that audience becomes auto-intenders), and then directing ads toward those auto-intenders (people who exhibit a current interest in buying a vehicle). Others are attracted by TV, Radio, or Print advertisements. These tools provide the “know”.
The Like & Trust:
However, consumers need more than just to know about you to make a purchase. They need to like you and eventually to trust you. To do that you develop a relationship; and that takes multiple touches – what we call nurturing. That works in advertising and in personal communications.
- In marketing or advertising we rely on ReTargeting to make those needed touches and develop that relationship for consumers to take that next step – which would be to follow your Call-to-Action or click on your ad.
- We also give them the option to engage/communicate with you via text.
- Because like and trust are so important for people to take that next step (call, text, chat,submit a form), it behooves us to establish examples of trust that other people have shown us. And that is the reason for Reputation Management and Reputation Marketing. Reputation management is the process of acquiring good reviews on important sites like Google; and to monitor those sites to respond to any negative criticism. Reputation Marketing is the process of bringing out those 5 star reviews that we want everyone to know about.
- Once they take that Call-to-Action and begin to communicate with you, they still need to be nurtured to continue to develop that relationship. People like to communicate the way they want; and, therefore, it is best to offer all the forms of communication that they are familiar with. That is why we have TextChat, Live WebChat, and Business Development Centers (BDCs) to encourage further engagement by suggesting a test drive which, in their minds, makes the vehicle theirs.
- And to close, you have your own sales people on the lot; which continues the nurturing process and guides the consumer through the purchasing process.
- Many would think that this is where the nurturing process stops – a big mistake. Now is the time to request a review, the completion of a CSI survey, and/or personal recommendations. Online reviews can be seen as online recommendations that are seen by many, many more people over time. That is why an online review is, in a way, more powerful than a personal recommendation – because it affects the buying decision of many new buyers.
- This is also the time to continue that relationship on into your service department with preventive maintenance programs. For many dealerships, this is their business plan – to get people using their service department. That is because, as you know, the service department retains more revenue in the dealership, about 70%, versus sales which only retains about 3% of their revenue in the dealership. The service department continues that relationship, helps to acquire more 5 star reviews, and nurtures these now customers until they are ready to buy another car.
It is a circular process that continues unending on into future generations.
While maybe 1% of consumers will take action on their initial exposure to you, many more need just a bit more attention. It is estimated that 70-80% of consumers will take a requested action only after 5 touches. If the process of nurturing these consumers can be cost effective and time effective, why not nurture them for more sales now AND in the future?