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Jared Hamilton
From: Jared Hamilton
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1. Chat software is not all the same, so it really does matter what technology service you use. Some chat software systems are much better at allowing your salespeople to engage in chat, and also providing information about their online behavior. Knowing your shoppers’ click path, keywords, previous website visits, location and previous chats all help to craft a better, more engaging conversation with shoppers, which helps generates more qualified leads. This is the difference between business intelligence and mere IM software.

2. Chat will not be an effective tool if you use it occasionally or just when you have time. For chat to work at your dealership you need chat reps available from 9am-9pm, Monday through Friday, during your website’s peak traffic times. If a shopper clicks to chat and you are not there, it can do more damage than good. Consistent coverage helps to make chat an effective sales tool. If you can’t cover the hours, hire someone who can.

3. Simply placing a chat icon on your website and waiting for customers to click will not lead to significant lead increases. This is not at all effective. You need to apply the same marketing strategies you apply offline to get your online shoppers engaged and motivated to chat with you. Make the first move and invite your website visitors to chat with you. Proactive invitations where you can customize the message being delivered to your shoppers have a significantly higher engagement rate than just placing a standard drop down image on the corner of the screen.

4. If you think that it is too costly for your dealership, the real question should be: “How many missed lead opportunities did I lose last month because chat wasn’t available?” Take your unique visitor traffic and multiple it by 3%. That is about how many additional leads you did not capture, but could have with chat. Chat is not the perfect answer but it is a great way to engage a significant segment of your website visitors and convert them into sales opportunities.

5. Chat is not just another marketing gimmick. Thinking that it is is the equivalent of thinking the phones at your dealership are a marketing gimmick. Opening up channels for your website shoppers to communicate with you on their terms is a critical first step in achieving success in the automotive Internet selling business. Building rapport online can help formulate and set up a well qualified website shopper.

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