Community

Share your automotive expertise

2 Write a Blog Post

Filed in: None

Conversations That Sell

Advertising is a one-way communication, but selling is a conversation. When I sold Jeeps in 1979, there were only two forms of sales conversation, in-person and on the phone. Today, the conversations that sell also include:

* Chat

* Email

* Video Chat

* Back and forth click and response between a shopper and your website

* Back and forth interaction with you inventory on AutoTrader, Cars.com, etc.

* Back and forth with information about your store, store policies, and your employees

The in-person conversation is usually where the sale is closed, but the selling process includes all these conversations across both human and technological touchpoints.

The dealership website can be built to quickly lure shoppers away from technological touchpoints and into a conversation with a human. Some stores find the number of phone calls from their site goes up when they take price off the vehicles, only to realize many of those calls simply ask for the price and drop off. The irony here is that ecommerce sites try to keep shoppers from calling the store for simple information requests. Labor costs money. There is even a cost to having commissioned sales people answering these calls. They can get so burnt out being free information providers. They end up working the customers too hard too soon out of desperation or give up working them altogether.

It's frustrating for human employees to try to catch up with shoppers who have been having conversations with websites for hours and are just now letting the sales person in. More and better tools are being built to help stores bridge the gap and improve the holistic steam of conversations. I was delighted with some of what I saw in this area at the NADA convention and in online demonstrations since then.

Selling has not changed. It is still about conversations that help the shopper get the right bundle of features and benefits. What has changed is where those conversations are taking place. Keep your eye on video. Recorded videos are a chance to get the customer engaged with their ears as well as their eyes, and live video demonstrations are a fantastic conversation.

Look for interactive video to play a major role in the future. These videos will have tables of contents next to the screen, allowing the shopper to get right to the portion of the video they really want, or to bounce back and forth. Imagine that, the shopper having a conversation with your video.

The basic technology is available today. The army of people capable of fully utilizing these tools is a work in process. Fortunately the focus among product development teams is shifting toward ease of use for those in the dealership as well as consumers. As an industry, we will get better at these conversations, online and offline. The industry will sell more vehicles more cost effectively as a result of it.

Comments

Totally agree with the video component. Better networks, improved devices, larger screens - it's the perfect recipe for video.

It'll eventually include the ability for internal workflows with video as well.

Apr 4, 2013

Great points Dennis. Forcing a conversation because you've failed to provide adequate info to engage the customer is not a good way to start a relationship.

Apr 5, 2013

Throughout the customer's journey if dealerships can connect at a personal level, and work on to built a trust specially online through copy writing, videos, call to actions etc. than we will see a huge increase in conversion ratio's. Potential customers are looking for an experience and someone who is really solving their problem, this is how conversations begin online.

May 26, 2014

Thanks for the share. Conversations are what I am great at! The video chat is also an amazing idea that I am going to work into all of my future emails from now on.

Nov 12, 2014

We had 4 sales manages and 1 Director. We took the leads set the appointments sold the vehicle. We did not share our leads with the sales floor. We did not take any ups unless everyone on the floor was busy. We round robin the video chat between the 5 of us. That is the best tool you can have. These are the people that do not want to come to the dealership except on Sundays.,,,lol. That's not all together true. They will tell you more here (open up more). The wall here is soooo much small to break down and start the relationship and build rapport. Your appointment ratio will go up so should your sales. If you have done a good job then the customer is 2/3 sold before he comes to the dealership for a test drive.

Dec 26, 2014 (Last Edited: 2014-12-26 18:05:50)

Comments 1 - 5 of 5

You must be logged in to comment

Login Create an account

Add your comments:

   

Dennis Galbraith's Recent Posts

Related Posts

  • Vendor Partnerships and the Importance of Making Ego Begone

    The word "begone" is such a funny word. It has a powerful meaning but is so rarely used outside of board games and exocisms. We're going to use it today, mostly because it fits in nicely with the topic of discussion. As fate would have it, one of our team members was picked for jury duty. While he is fulfilling his civil responsibility as a citizen of this wonderful country, I'm filling in for him on the social side. It's good to roll your sleeves up and get to work sometimes (which is why I believe even general managers should take ups every now and then) just to get a feel for what's happening in the trenches. Facebook is all about momentum, which is why I normally do not like our posts to run over others. Conversely, I don't like other people's posts to run over ours. Collaboration is an important key to a strong social media strategy that takes some thigns from the dealership and some content that we create, so we like to time everything out to maximize things. Today, I had a ...Read post

  • Phone Interview Questions: 6 Tips for Running the Show at Your Dealership

    Want to hear something crazy? 103 years ago the Titanic sank. Want to hear something even crazier and completely irrelevant to the first question? Most people do not know how to conduct a proper interview, yet alone a phone interview. Meeting someone face-to-face allows for natural interaction and initial conversation. On the other hand, meeting someone over the phone calls for a bit of effort from the caller (in this case, the hiring manager) to get the conversation going. Therefore, it’s essential to have a guideline or some format to follow when writing up phone interview questions; otherwise the interview is bound to fall apart and lose its purpose. 6 Tips for Phone Interview Questions 1.) MAKE A SCRIPT—Following the same script for every interview helps avoid bias and inconsistency. You want to make sure every candidate has the same opportunity to a fair interview process; this means asking everyone the same basic questions. Plus, this helps you stay on track and keep the interview flowing within your respective time limit. 2.) INTRODUCTION—This means more than just a simple, “Hey, how’s it going?” Introduce yourself, your background and your company first. Then give your candidates an overview of how the interview will flow so they know what to expect. Make sure they understand your interview process. This will help ensure a smooth transition to the next stage of the process, like a face-to-face interview or polite rejection. 3.) CAREER PLAN—Ask the candidates aRead post

  • Spring into Revenue with Sports Marketing

    With warmer weather in the air, many athletes, old and young, are starting their spring sports. From the professional level to little league, athletes, their families, and sports enthusiasts everywhere are excited about the upcoming sports season. For this reason, now is the perfect time to utilize sports marketing to build brand awareness, drive traffic, and spring into revenue. Here are two ideas to help you get started. Leverage Sports Theme Spring sports are gearing up, from soccer to softball, baseball to lacrosse, golf to tennis, track and field to swimming, and many more. Depending on your specific area of the country, you may be able to utilize excitement from local professional teams or little league teams. This time of year presents the perfect opportunity to leverage sports themed marketing, like Home Run Savings, Go for the Goal Deals, or even Hole-in-One Incentives to promote your dealership. Whatever sport you decide to highlight in this month’s marketing, you can leve...Read post

  • Your Director of Marketing Has Gone Rogue

    The Director of Marketing going rogue can be a blessing or a curse. Here's how to identify which it is for your dealership.Read post

  • DrivingSales is Heading Across the Border to Canada

    We are very excited to announce our first international conference in Canada. DrivingSales is will host the Canadian Dealer Forum in Calgary, Alberta on June 22 – 23, 2015. For the last two years, the Canadian Breakout Session at DrivingSales Executive Summit has sold out. We have heard from many dealers that they would like to see a conference in Canada. You spoke and we listened.Read post

  • Why oh why do we not support the sales staff?

    In 28 years of experience in auto retail sales it still baffles me with the lack of support training the sales staff. Why would you want to spend tens of thousands of dollars to attract customers so they can speak to inexperienced sales people that are just told to get the customer in or be greeted by someone with one weeks worth of experience. These days the customer can be thousands of miles away and not to mention they are very educated. I know they would like to speak to someone capable of not wasting their time. As a sales trainer we can only do so much in the time alotted to get new salespeople introduced to the business. The rest of it is on the management. We all know they do not have the time to teach all the processes that go into a car deal. I suggest spending the money to have the training company at least 2 or 3 days every month to help retain and maintain the salesforce. This will decrease turnover and keep things fresh.Roger Ricciardelli. automagician@gmail.com ...Read post

  • Three Ways Mobile Tablets Increase Transparency In Your Dealership

    Anyone who runs a business knows that transparency is considered to be a good thing. Transparency is an important part of a company's efforts to improve productivity, boost employee morale and earn customer trust. Yet, to be transparent is apparently easier said than done.   It's a sad fact that auto dealerships are--still, today--repeatedly listed in the Better Business Bureau's Top Ten industries with the most customer complaints. Even if you're an auto dealer who works hard to create one of the most transparent, honest dealerships in town, fighting public perception can be like swimming upstream.   The fact is, people tend to believe what they read more than what they hear from another person. These days, most people read online via a computer or other device. This is where mobile tablets can help.   Incorporating mobile tablets into your dealership processes allows you to present visual information to the customer. Information increases transparency because the customers f...Read post

  • Websites: Why Your Smallest Investment Still Pisses You Off

    We’ll let you in on a little secret. For years, decades really, you’ve been able to throw some words and photos onto recycled trees, shoot a check out for $5,000 a week and create a line so long out your front door you were laughing. And now you have a virtual ad up every day for one quarter that price (or less for most dealers) and bang your head against a wall. You might even think that your last print ad actually did better than any other source in recent memory. The only rules that changed when you relied on print was if your rep would “take care of you”, a competitor would drop out of the paper for a week, you had a better lost leader than the closest same-brand store or if you included dealer cash or bought down rate and nobody else did that weekend. Nowadays how you show up, where you show up, when you show up doesn’t make sense to you and don’t have anyone even get you started on pricing as gross erodes, software tells you how to optimize your lot and competito...Read post