“Communication with you customers has never been easier…and yet your customers have never been further away.”
For some time now I have been thinking and battling it out with several blog opponents on conversion and why it is so important. It really comes down to breaking through the Digital Divide between you and the customer.
To do that you need to PERSONALLY INTERACT WITH THEM and to do that you need contact information… PERIOD.
The Digital Divide is the growing digital gap between the customer and the personal connection to a salesperson.
“Whether you like it or not there is a huge technological wedge between you and the customer.”
No matter how hard you rail against it the technological wedges keep growing. When you think about it the Digital Divide didn’t just sneak up on us it’s been happening for some time.
In the 50’s the way you shopped and bought a car was you went to church, rotary, some social function
ect. with the person who was selling you the car that’s how you knew them and why you bought from them. In the late 60’s as the Telephone became more ubiquitous people started calling the local dealership to get more information, talking to more salespeople (shopping), the first digital wedge creating a small divide between buyer and seller.
In the 70’s and 80’s as Radio and Television became more affordable and these technologies drive another wedge to the Digital Divide further disconnecting the customer from the salesperson.
In the early and mid 90’s technology hits the showroom with CRM systems and we begin to ad our own wedge to the Digital Divide as our communication starts to become more systematic and less personal.
In the late 90’s the mother technology hits… the internet... driving the largest technological wedge between buyer and seller in history, so large was the belief in this disconnect between buyer and seller that even JD Power and many others were predicting the end of the connection between buyer and seller in the retail auto business completely. We all rushed to get websites and drive another technological wedge between us and our customer.
In early 2000’s when it became apparent that the personal connection would not be substituted by a website along came the listing company (Cars.com & AutoTrader) and in consistent fashion we happily turned our inventory over to these online classifieds helping to establish themselves as the online retail automotive authority and driving the next technological wedge between us and our customer;
Are you starting to see a sadistic pattern here yet?
2004 enter social media a twist on the mother technology and another wedge between us and our customer. By now there are so many technological wedges between us and the customer the Digital Divide is incredible.
SO HOW DO YOU CLOSE IT?
The only way I know how… a good proactive personal interaction with a knowledgeable, professional salesperson.
WE NO LONGER SELL A PRODUCT WE ARE SERVICE COMPANIES WITH PRODUCT OFFERINGS (CARS).
To do this you have to get the customer to share contact information with you, you have to work to break through the Digital Divide. Make no mistake car sales has become a step by step process that starts online and you break through the Digital Divide wedge by wedge with good direct response marketing tactics.
However if you just leave it to the customer cross your fingers and hope you did a good enough job online for them to come to your store, if you think you just need to be out there and the internet is an “influencing medium” it won’t be too much longer before the Digital Divide erodes your customer base and you’re left with a smaller and smaller group. Gone are the days we spend huge sums of money to drive people into your store to close that miniscule percentage and out run the ad budget. There are more than a few dealerships within the last few years that found that is no longer a sustainable strategy, due in large part to the Digital Divide.
Bottom-line Connect… as early as possible and as often as possible with good relevant information, this can only be accomplished if you have contact information (a conversion).
At my Digital Dealer sessions in Orlando and the Digital Dealer workshop I go into more detail tactics needed to break through the Digital Divide.
How are you breaking through the Digital Divide, let’s hear about your strategies and tactics…
For those attending Digital Dealer here are my session dates and times:
Looking forward to seeing every one there and hearing great ideas to break through the Digital Divide.