Chat is TOO HOT?!?!?

Terrence Gordon
I just about had a heart attack this morning. We rolled out our managed chat product recently, which integrates with our websites and inventory management. It's amazing. In fact, it's SO amazing that one of our dealers cancelled it today. Reason: "You guys are doing a phenomenal job...but we aren't equipped to handle the amount of leads on our end..." Meanwhile, they just increased their SEM budget to almost $10k per month. I invite everyone - Dealers and Vendors alike - to help me understand this. A chat lead is a different animal than a phone call or an email. Yet it seems nobody is setup to handle a HOT LEAD that comes in via email. It appears as if these are treated as "just the normal price shoppers who are too afraid to call". I've personally closed many chats myself during our testing phase, and I can tell you that these people are BUYERS. So a dealership is prepared to spend hundreds of thousands of $$$ on advertising, but is not equipped to handle the leads as a result? me.
Jared Hamilton
Ouch. Your service is working too well but we are not prepared to handle that much business... Seriously? Wow.
Jim Chamberlain
If you can't handle the leads developed from a chat tool how are you going to handle the leads generated from $10k per month in SEM? I hope for their sake they hire someone who's not very good at SEM. We sell a lot of cars from our chat tool every month and by gosh we have to work a lot of leads to get the sales. Funny thing is we have to work a lot of leads for all the sales we get. A lot of phone ups, a lot of showroom ups, lease lists, retail lists..... Isn't that what we're supposed to do? Give me a call. If you can pound me with more leads than I can handle I'll hire more people to handle the leads.
Gary May
Terrence, Glad to hear and willing to invite! This has been the case with quite a few dealers we've come in contact with. There seems to be a number of unexplainable phenomena in regards to the "handling" of leads. First, a chat lead is on..NOW. There is no 15, 30, 45 or 120 minutes of "should I finish my __________ (fill in the blank with anything you want) before hitting the leads?". It's amazing the number of people who indicate that the are in sales, can sell the most, are the leader of the pack, and then shrink at what is essentially the best lead around. It seems that there are still folks who believe the walk up is the most qualified customer and the one worth waiting for. This was completely evident in a luxury make client we worked with. 17 sales people. 2 viable internet sales people. Offered internet ups to five other sales staff that I thought could handle it. Nope, nope, nope. "No thanks" was the response as floor traffic was dropping 20, 30, 40, even 50%. Live chat is no different. Most, not all, dealership people will tell you "they're all 13-20 year-olds on their computers for a "school project" and are not real". Or you hear "why do I want to handle service leads? I'm only paid to sell cars". Here's a reality check: Do you want leads from your own site, live chat, SEO, inventory and integration within social media? NO WAY! Newspaper ads, factory leads, PPC and portal/third party leads for 10-15 grand plus a month. A live chat lead, in my opinion, is nearly as good as a strong walk up, better than a phone up and a web lead. And the ironic part of all of the items we talk about regularly here is that the very technology and opportunities that are completely mismanaged, under-utilized and ignored by automotive retail in general are the first ones expected when the same people are customers in other businesses and industries. Figure that one out and you've unlocked one of the mysteries to automotive retail. Until then, keep selling your product to the ones that want it and use it right... Great work! Best regards, Gary May IM@CS
Ryan Lucia
Terrence, I am so glad you posted this. As someone who spent many years as a Internet Director I never understand when dealers tell me they are too busy for chat. Congrats on your chat feature. I used to send people your way for websites until your guys told me you are starting your own chat product. Sorry, just business :). Now every tech, BDC, web design, and marketing company offers chat. I believe I compete against 500 chat companies a week now. uses our chat feature and reported at Digital Dealer that either 68% or 87% (I think) of site visitors that started a chat from their website bought a car within 30 days (either way its a lot). This stat matches all the research we have done....buyers who chat are closer to the purchase phase of the process. My philosophy is....every dealer is looking to cut cost. Use that as your in. Leads from your website close at a higher rate and normally will produce higher gross profit. This would suggest you can cut back on the purchase of leads. I have a dealership paying $200 a month and they get 1200 chat leads every month. Got a call a month ago from a BMW store in Cali saying they sold 19 cars from chat in Jan. and put $35k on the books from it. They pay $200 monthly. What you put into chat is what you will get out of it. Why pay $20 a lead for an email that could take days to reach when you can pay $200 for unlimited amount of live conversation with people who want to buy now? At the end of the conversation you know if you have something or not. You will learn a lot over the next few months with this chat feature. This excuse is only one of many you will get. None of them really make any since. I speak to dealers all the time that says they aren't spending any more money on advertising. My response is "you are already spending too much money on advertising" I quickly point out their ad on google adwords and how chat will increase their conversion by over 25%. The amount of money spent equaling the % of conversion, for $200 it will increase 25%. Whats your ROI on that? Its weird because dealers won't shut the phone off if the phone rings to much. Why chat?

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