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Jared Hamilton
From: Jared Hamilton
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Dave Page

Dave Page Owner

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A poorly executed live chat solution plus a non existent or weak visitor engagement plan will take potentially one of your most powerful Internet sales tools, live chat, and turn it into a disappointing expense very quickly. We have seen these committed time and time again so here they are:

SIN #1


Keeping in mind that proactive chat produces 500% the visitor engagement and therefore opportunity for your department to build rapport and cultivate a true sales lead- use a proactive approach to engaging with your Internet shoppers. Do not wait for the “WebUp” to approach your representative.

SIN #2


If you do not have a dedicated representative to engage in your live chats then why do you have live chat? Statistically 27% of Internet shoppers are online shopping during your off hours (after 9 pm and before 8 am)…that is a lot of opportunity to miss! If in fact this is a problem in your store consider a chat provider that provides 24/7/365 coverage.


SIN #3


Take the time to create a communication “flow sheet” so your representative(s) have a game plan as they engage in dialogue with visitors. Make sure periodically that you “sample” your own website chat to make sure that the process is in tact and you are being represented in the most effective way- consistently. There is nothing worse than dead space and/or poorly delivered information on a chat. Maintaining control of the chat in such a way that the customer does not feel intimidated or pressured is critical to building trust with the visitor allowing your store to have a shot at converting this to a true sales lead.

SIN #4


Nothing turns a shopper off, Internet or not, more than an aggressive pushy sales person. This applies to Internet shoppers more so than any other type of “up”. An Internet shopper can and will “click” you off faster than a walk in or even phone up customer will-because it is easier- you are nothing but a screen and a curser to the visitor until such a time you have earned “human” status within their psyche through the rapport you successfully built.

If your representative takes the approach to every live chat that is a first time introduction and not a “sale” this will create the opportunity to truly establish rapport allowing the customer to start to trust. Once trust has been established and the customer truly feels that they are buying and not being SOLD anything, then and only then will they give you permission to guide them along YOUR process as an assistant in their BUYING experience.

SIN #5


This is a short one! Nothing makes a live chat a dead chat quicker than not having or being able to answer the visitors question. Knowledge of a vehicles availability, specs, and comparatives to similar makes and models is a must- your representative needs to know your inventory and your product line(s). A solid inventory control system preferably one that is accessible “real time” to your Internet chat representative is imperative.

SIN #6



Chat capability is not enough. Competition is fierce and if you cannot provide information to the visitor without them having to ask, or search themselves you are really not doing anything to earn their business. It is very important to “give” to your visitor before you ask to be given anything, i.e. asking them without having “given” them anything such as additional contact information, permission to call, appointment etc. If you have the ability to provide helpful information to the visitor proactively as you are chatting with them, this now causes the experience to feel more like a relationship rather than a blind Q & A session.

For instance, if you are chatting with a client who stresses how much they would like a 2011 model but cannot afford one, and you provide 3-4 used options this send the message that you are not all about the $$$$$/sale, but rather the “assisting them with a purchase that is best suited to their needs”

SIN #7


If you have taken the time and have incurred the expense of implementing a live chat solution and you fail to follow up with these leads- you are not only throwing perfectly good money out the window but you are also sending a message to the shopper about your customer service standards- whether they buy from you or not! Create a follow up game plan and make sure it continues at least 6 months past the original chat date- then engage every six months via email with special offers etc.

For more information on Pro Active Live Chat, Contact Dealer e Process at 877-551-2555

Gary May
Dave, While this is an ideal point-for-point review of the issues of having live chat and not "doing it" right, this can be replicated into many areas of dealership operation. And we're all guilty. There is still a pervasive mentality around services, especially CRM and other SAAS purchases that dealers count on. Websites, software, social media, CRM, eNewsletters and email blasts (and ads in general) don't sell cars. Everything that is done away from the dealership and online is to drive a lead or an up. We're creating engagement, intent, reason to buy, etc. Live chat won't sell cars but it's incredible at setting appointments. It's fantastic to communicate with prospects in real time. I'd take a chat up versus an elead. We (vendors, consultants, reps, etc) need to be emphatic about proper implementation, then how well things can work with processes and correct use. The best widget in the world can't work effectively if it's not used properly. Dealers, if you're going to pay for a product or service, please use it. Train, learn, use, follow up. If the vendor can't support you, that's different. It's unfortunately commonplace for dealers to have an issue with a service that 2,000 others are using well. The biggest sin is not all of the things that a dealer can do wrong with a service. The biggest sin is the service taking on a dealer or a dealer hiring a service when they're not ready to use it correctly. Best regards, Gary May IM@CS
Great Guide. I have one more. When a customer tries to connect to the service dept to set up an appointment and only the sales dept is on the chat. My mystery shopping tours revealed 7 out of 10 times "Well you are with the sales dept. Try the phone number and ask for an appointment. Is there anything else I can help you with." NO JOKE, almost all of these 7 conversation on chat ended like this. Make sure that you have you chatting software/client also embedded into at least one service desk or receptionist so you can transfer the chat when necessary to handle your clients needs. Similar to the so necessary phone trainings, dealer should invest as well into chat/conversation trainings. GREAT POST and thank you for sharing! VJ Digital Marketing Ambassador and Social Media Coach
Jared Hamilton
Good point that ive never really thought much about. Most chat products are geared towards sales department (if im not mistaken) @Dave - what do you recommend dealers do to incorporate chat into the fixed ops side of the business? Any success stories you can share?
Ryan Lucia
Having a department selector when they push the button so the customer can choose what department they want to chat with is extremely beneficial. Or, having a forward option to the other department is something our clients like. Now, they may not care to set it up because sales and service do very little communication. I try to sell on the GM level so this becomes an opportunity for a bump and education for multiple departments. If done properly it can work very smooth.
Bryant Gibby
Good post Dave. We are looking into online chat at our dealership and hope to get it rolling in the next couple of months. The thing we are struggling with the most is should we do it in house here at the dealership or outsource it? Any thoughts?

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