Community

Share your automotive expertise

2 Write a Blog Post

Filed in: None

Conversations That Sell

By Dennis Galbraith on Apr 4, 2013

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 26th

Comments 1 - 3 of 3

You must be logged in to comment

Login Create an account

Add your comments:

   

Dennis Galbraith's Recent Posts

Related Posts

  • Understanding the Data ‘Deep Dive’ that Drives Dealer Decisions

    Check your email. There’s probably a report or two that has hit your inbox since yesterday that was filed away in a “to do” folder of some sort. The digital age has given us access to so much data and so many reports from the vendors that help us advertise our dealerships that it can be a full-time job simply deciphering it all. It isn’t just the time allotted that causes challenges, either. Much of the data we’re given requires concentrated exploration in order to find those hidden gems that can guide a dealership’s marketing path. We know it’s important, but making sense of it all can be too time-consuming. The good news is that most dealers are in the same boat. They’re all getting too many reports that are too big, too confusing, or both. As easy as it is to file the reports away for “light reading” over the weekend, it’s important to perform regular deep dives into the data in order to make the most educated decisions about your advertising spend. Knowin...Read post

  • Manufacturers’ Lists To Connect With Your Next Sale

    Using the information from a manufacturer’s list, a good automated marketing solution can create personalized campaigns for individual customers. You control what you want the solution to look for. Want to run targeted ads based on vehicle purchase date? Last maintenance appointment? Vehicle model? It is possible to create campaigns based on almost anything, and the marketing automation solution sorts out which messages would be most relevant to which customers.Read post

  • Why It's Okay for Dealers to Abandon Social Media

    For the last week, I have spoken to several dealers, a couple of vendors, and members of our team about how to position social media properly so that dealers will be able to take full advantage of it. We blogged about it, prepared a webinar, and adjusted our upcoming presentation at DSES to make sure that we're getting the word out about the tangible, measurable, ROI-based aspects of social media. There was a lot of bad press going out and I felt the need to combat it. The first thing that got me riled up was the infamous "nobody shops for cars on social media" post on Automotive News. Then, it was an article here on Driving Sales that got me even more excited about teaching on the subject. It was a comment, just a single sentence, that completely changed my perspective. I'm now endorsing the concept that most dealers should abandon social media. "Shhh. Craig. Don't tell anyone about the dark posts. We don't want them to get too popular :P" It hit me like an 18-wheeler. Robert ...Read post

  • Preparing for Christmas! In August?

    It is hard to believe but customers are going to be preparing for the winter soon - of course great time to start the focus on tires, wipers, general maintenance and even offering new vehicle options to older model vehicle owners.Read post

  • Your Past Customers Are Ideal for Holiday Sales Messages

    Labor Day. Memorial Day. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. Some of the best sales days of the year in the car business happen on national holidays when people are off from work and ready to buy cars. Many dealerships put a great deal of their advertising and marketing budgets towards promoting their various sales. The OEMs normally have something going on for these types of holidays and the combined advertising efforts makes for some amazing exposure. It's easy to ride the wave and assume that your customers know you're participating, but you can't take that for granted. Even more important is that these holidays are a great time to prompt people into car buying mode. Let's take a look at these two important components of holiday advertising so you can look at hitting your customer database in a different light. Ride the Wave with Familiarity Even in today's ultra-informed consumer world, there are still many people who cannot discern between factory, regional, and individual dealersh...Read post

  • Facebook Bans Contests For Likes

    Facebook bans contests for likes....what does this mean for you?Read post

  • 3 Ways to Leverage Labor Day to End Summer with a Sizzle

    The Labor Day holiday weekend is just around the corner. With Labor Day being arguably one of the biggest sales weekends of the year, it’s time to start planning your marketing strategy to drive traffic to your dealership. You’ll want to leverage marketing that makes your dealership stand out from your competition and provides memorable brand awareness. Here are three was to utilize creative Labor Day marketing to end summer with a sizzle. Hard Workers Coupon In the spirit of the Labor Day holiday, offer hard working members of your community a discount in your Sales or Service Departments. The discount can be a free oil change, car wash, or tire rotation with any purchase or a discount off a new vehicle. Request customers bring in their most recent pay stub to redeem the offer. A campaign like this will get noticed by your community and could be the deciding factor to bring their business to your dealership. Labor of Chance This idea may take a little more pre-planning, but if y...Read post

  • Should We Abandon Social Media?

    The Chicago Tribune ran an article last week with results from a study by Automotive News bluntly stating that social media doesn't sell cars. That even Millennials are apathetic towards the automotive industry’s efforts on social media. Are you really surprised? As someone that has closely worked with social media in the dealership for the past 7 years I can say I don’t disagree. In fact the more I research, the more it becomes apparent that the dots are not connecting.Read post