Let’s admit it: Many vehicle buyers still have trauma from poor sales staff who went for a hard sell and ultimately turned the buyer instead. The spectre of the smarmy car salesman still haunts the popular imagination for many vehicle buyers.
This is a problem, of course. Even if dealerships prac tice respectful sales techniques, many buyers avoid sales help like the plague. This both undermines the ability for dealerships to support customers on their buying journey, and it reduces sales because well-trained sales staff don’t get the opportunity to sing the praises of the vehicles on offer or guide the customer to the appropriate vehicle.
Even though this perception of the pushy car salesman will take time to fix, that doesn’t mean that dealerships are lacking options for engaging with customers during the pre-sales process. One option that savvy dealerships are starting to use is live chat, a way to engage one-on-one with prospective customers without the stigma associated with the “car salesman.”
Sales Without the Hard Sell
One reason that dealers are going toward the adoption of live chat for increased vehicle sales is that live chat avoids the stigma of the in-person sales agent.
Potential vehicle buyers can get their questions answered through live chat, but they also know they can close their web browser at any time if the sales agent at the dealership gets pushy. Thus, potential buyers can ask questions without the fear factor.
For the dealership, live chat also works. Dealers can still greet customers. They can still sit down with them at a virtual desk to pre-qualify them and to discuss in real-time what models might be good for the customer. They still can answer questions that the customer might have and guide them in a direction that will lead to a sale. With live chat, dealers also can still share sales collateral such as brochures and promotional offers.
Live chat delivers all the same benefits of being there with the customer in the showroom, but without the fear from customers that things will get out of hand.
Improved Awareness on What Customers Really Need
Then there’s the feedback loop.
“Live chat software has a number of features for helping you nurture your online customers and, thus, improve your business,” notes Jason Grills in an article published by Live Agent, a leading live chat software solution on the market. “One of those features is real-time monitoring, which enables you to gather information about people checking out your website so that you can learn more about them in order to know exactly how and when to offer a helping hand.”
Real-time monitoring shows you how your visitors have found your website, where they are located, which pages they are viewing, how long they stay on each one, as well as how many times they have visited your website and whether or not they have interacted with you before, according to Grills. This can all be used for better understanding what works and what does not in your sales approach.
Through direct interaction with customers via live chat, your dealership also can better track which questions customers
Live Chat Builds Trust
A second reason that dealerships are starting to use live chat for sales is because the platform builds trust that encourages a greater willingness to purchase from the dealership. As every effective dealer knows, trust is critical for closing the sale.
More than three-quarters of people surveyed by Bold Software said that live chat positively affects their attitude toward a company, according to the industry news portal, Digital Commerce 360.
This is because buyers can interact with a dealership even when browsing at home, turning a static dealership website into a live person-to-person interaction. Dealerships become real when there is a human interaction beyond the passive billboard-style websites that sell or provide information. With this direct interaction comes trust much earlier than the moment a buyer steps foot in a dealership to take a test drive.
Guidance Earlier in the Buying Journey
Live chat also boosts dealership sales by better educating customers, a key consideration especially for Millennial buyers who often research before talking with a sales agent.
Vehicle buyers often have a lot of questions. This makes sense because any vehicle is a major purchase. When customers go researching online to figure out the options and make sense of the market, dealerships can be ready to answer questions and guide customers by having live chat enabled on their site.
Live chat is less invasive than visiting a dealership, and it helps dealers connect with customers much earlier in the buying journey. So instead of customers researching on their own and hunting for answers to questions, live chat makes it possible for dealerships to be there early on in the research phase to quickly answer questions and take control of the sale.
are asking, and what is attracting or repelling about a particular model.
Using technology such as live chat to complement sales skills and general knowledge of the field can give a great competitive advantage to a salesman. Most of the niches are already overcrowded, however, in this case, only a small amount of people are diving deep into using modern technologies to differentiate one from the rest.
So while the problem of a stigma around car salesmen lingers, it still is possible to proactively sell and engage with customers. You just have to think outside of the box a bit and use the latest technology. In this case, live chat functionality.