I was recently speaking to Robert*, the Internet Manager of a dealership, and he mentioned that in the past few months, they have experienced a pretty significant drop in the number of leads that were converting on their website. What was so fascinating about the conversation was that he was not upset by this fact– in fact, he seemed pretty pleased about the whole situation.
He explained that he knows exactly why the drop occurred: for the past few years, the dealership hid its entire inventory behind a lead capture page, so that anyone who wanted to see a vehicle was forced to input their contact information. The dealership saw hundreds of leads come in as a result of this, but they were very far from being considered qualified. They would regularly get “leads” whose names were Mickey Mouse, and could be reached at (123) 456– 7890. Together with his GM, Robert decided that this “squeeze page” was ineffective and moved to other solutions. In his case, he decided to begin using an AI-powered platform as his primary lead capture tool on his website.
After removing this page and allowing users to view the entire inventory without inputting details, the dealership naturally saw fewer leads. But, the leads that were generated were inherently higher quality. He explained that they saw a much higher rate of people actually showing up for their appointments, and their lead-to-sale rate increased almost instantly.
The team realized that fewer qualified leads were better than thousands of unqualified leads. Their BDC and salespeople were being overwhelmed with irrelevant and nonexistent customers, and it was becoming difficult to identify the qualified leads in the haystack.
To some dealers, this type of story may sound too good to be true. After all, so much time and resources are spent on converting leads that speaking of qualified leads seems like a distant dream.
Well, those dealers are in luck. The distant dream is rapidly becoming reality with advancements in artificial intelligence, machine learning, and predictive analytics.
A dealership website can and should give shoppers the same type of experience that they’d receive in-store. So, just like you wouldn’t bombard a shopper with information about random offers while they are looking at one specific vehicle, your website shouldn’t either. AI-powered tools can track and learn about a shopper throughout their online experience, offering only relevant conversion opportunities that the person will want to engage with, and when they want to engage with it. Not only will they convert, but they’ll be more likely to follow-up and actually come in to your dealership.
There are quite a few ways AI can help get you more qualified leads:
By observing and tracking a shopper’s online interactions and interests, the computer continually learns about the person. Armed with this information, each conversion opportunity that is presented is actually tailored to the shopper’s interests. So, a person who has visited the VDP of a specific vehicle a few times will be presented with an offer on that vehicle, while someone who is looking for service options will be prompted to book a service appointment. By providing them with the type of opportunity they actually want, visitors are so much more likely to convert, with their real contact information. Leads that convert on targeted conversions are inherently interested in receiving more information, and will be more receptive to the follow-up call by your BDC or sales team.
Not only can AI determine what type of content a specific shopper might want to see, it also knows when to present it to them. Every interaction on a website teaches the AI how people work and what they want. As time progresses, the computer gets even smarter and more optimized. One of the most important things AI can perfect is when to offer a lead form to a certain person. Suggesting content or the opportunity to book an appointment is a science: suggest it too early and the user might get scared off; too late and they might have already left your website. Just like your sales team works to read cues and only offer information when they feel a shopper is ready for it, your website can do the same. All of this is to attract those qualified leads who are looking to be pushed down the funnel, even if they don’t realize it.
Because AI and predictive analytics learn about a shopper and present the right content at the right time, conversion opportunities become a natural part of the buying process. Instead of being bombarded with pop-ups and lead forms that disrupt their shopping and research, shoppers are subtly and unobtrusively offered opportunities without interrupting their shopping experience. Not only will this make your customers happy, but it will also improve your website rankings. Recently, Google announced that certain pop-ups will be automatically blocked, because of their negative effect on the customer experience. So, using targeted conversion opportunities that are powered by AI will both push customers down the funnel as well as improve your website. It’s a win-win.
When a vendor promises a dealer a 300% increase in leads in just one month, most dealers will agree that something fishy is going on. The goal should not be to simply convert leads– instead, it should be to convert the right leads, pushing those people who might actually become buyers down the funnel. This way, your valuable time and resources will not be spent chasing down people who are not serious about moving forward with your dealership. Using AI-powered tools will make it that much easier to attract real, qualified leads. Another perk of using AI is that your sales team is then armed with all of the information the AI learned about the shopper, so that every follow-up interaction is highly personalized and relevant. As we all know, someone who gets personal attention is happy, and a happy customer is a future buyer.
*All names have been changed