Dealerships have this issue where they’re attempting to cater to every single consumer all at once -- no matter what stage of the shopping journey they’re in.
While this doesn’t seem like a particularly big deal, consumers in the earlier stages might simply prefer to conduct research at a pace that comfortably suits them. Car buying can be a massive investment of time and money, so it’s important that they choose wisely and pick out a vehicle they really want. Although consumers will almost definitely find it beneficial to work with a sales person as they get closer to a purchase, it never hurts to let them explore on their own during those initial stages.
One big thing to note is that consumers in these research phases shouldn’t be catered to in the same way as a consumer who’s ready to buy. Many dealerships seem to fall into this trap, and it can cause a bit of confusion between your sales team and the consumer. Each consumer’s needs are completely different, so the messaging and outreach for each consumer needs to be different.
Not only can reaching out to all consumers with the same message have a detrimental effect on their relationship with your dealership, but it can actually cause your best leads to slip through the cracks.
If your dealership’s website is highly effective at capturing leads, your reps might have found themselves overwhelmed and overloaded with the number they’d have to reach out to. If each lead is called in the order it was received, you’re going to miss out on consumers who are ready-to-buy and ready to speak with a sales rep.
In fact, if your sales reps are so overloaded that they can’t reach out to everyone right away, then some consumers won’t be called at all. Your “buy in 90-days” leads aren’t being acknowledged, and the ready-to-buy leads are slipping through the cracks.
Now, just to be perfectly clear: this way of reaching out to consumers was and still is extremely typical in the majority of dealerships. After all, why wouldn’t a sales rep want to reach out to every one of their leads and attempt to sell them a car? Accuracy by volume, right? Well… not really.
Back in the day, there was no way for dealerships to attain a thorough understanding of their consumers. Unless you asked them directly (over the phone), the folks you were reaching out to were just leads. They weren’t individuals with wants, needs and shopping preferences. Through the advent of web experiences and engagement technology, however, it’s so much easier for your dealership to collect that individual data and formulate a follow-up based on what’s in the consumer’s buyer profile.
As of late, the dealerships that really stand out and who have seen the most success are those who cater to each consumer’s individual needs during their follow-up. This is often done by separating different types of consumers into their own phone and email cadences. The reason for this is so your sales reps can prioritize their follow-up primarily based on purchase timeframe.
For example: If a consumer indicates that their purchase timeframe is approximately 30 days, your dealership will want to put that consumer in call and email cadence that’s separate from the consumers who indicate they want to buy in the next month or so. The cadence that’s been created for the more immediate consumers will have a sales rep attempt to make contact right away.
By separating these two different types of consumers, your sales reps will have a better understanding of different consumer priorities. The consumers who are ready to buy will be acknowledged right away and your sales reps will try to get them in the showroom.
On the other hand, the consumers who aren’t quite ready might get an immediate follow-up, but the push won’t likely be as aggressive. They’ll get one call saying that their information was received and those consumers will go into an email cadence the attempts to further engage them.
All that said, don’t feel pressured to boil the ocean with follow-up workflow creation. Start with two different cadences and segments. Separate the consumers into buckets of those likely to buy within 30 days and those likely to buy after 30 days. You can still make sure to have an urgent first touch on all leads, and adjust the timing and frequency of the subsequent touches to allow for the most ready buyers to receive more follow-up. If you can’t tell the difference between these two types of buyer preferences, then researching technology to uncover this information would be the first priority.
Does your dealership have different call and email cadences for its consumers? What workflow works best for your ready buyers? Let me know in the comments and share some best practices with your peers!