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Todd Smith

Todd Smith President & CEO

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Facebook Marketplace: A Dealership Primer – Part 2: Effective Communication is Key

In the first part of this series, I shared why Facebook Marketplace can help dealers sell more cars, the ways in which they can get started, and the questions they should be asking their vendors when getting this set up.

 Now that your dealership’s inventory is live on Facebook Marketplace, there’s no doubt that consumers will find vehicles they're interested in and reach out to your dealership with questions. As I mentioned in part 1 of the series, how you handle these interactions will directly impact the success you have. Dealers are used to automating responses and processes to follow up with the leads coming into their CRM. Yet, while dealers spend a bunch of money to turn those interactions into to sales, the industry is still seeing close ratios as low as 12%!

Winning Over a Customer is About More than Simply Communicating

The same goes for phone “ups.” Salespeople are rarely trained on how to talk to customers on the phone and can, at times, turn customers off by simply not providing the information requested. Those customers who took the time to call the dealership end up frustrated that their needs weren’t satisfied.

Text-based communication is no different except in one area: the customer has complete control. If the people you empower to interact with customers via live text-based communication don’t know how to communicate properly, you’ll simply see customers cancel the chat and disappear into the ether.

Customers intuitively know when the e-mails they are receiving are automated. The same thing goes for scripted text-based conversations or the new thing, chatbots. When customers reach out to your dealership via any form of test-based communication, they are expecting to communicate with a real person and will quickly learn whether the “person” on the other end of the chat is a live person or not.

Responding Quickly and Properly Will Increase Sales

If you’re going to utilize Marketplace to increase sales, customers can only interact with the dealership via Facebook Messenger. The dealership, of course, can choose to utilize an approved chat service to have conversations on Marketplace. Regardless of which means of text-based communication a dealer chooses, prompt communication is vital. Imagine a customer calling into your dealership and nobody answering the phone. When a customer reaches out to your dealership via Messenger or chat and nobody responds, you end up with the same… exact… result.

Customers don’t want to be met by a voicemail, robot or, even worse, silence. The mere fact that they are reaching out to you should indicate that they are low-funnel shoppers ready to buy. And those are exactly the people that you want to talk to. Facebook Marketplace is no different than a customer calling in on a VDP from a third-party website or your own website. Dealerships who choose to list their inventory on Facebook Marketplace need to be aware that potential customers will be reaching out to them and the best part? The only reason that they are reaching out is that they are interested in a vehicle that you have in stock. Marketplace customers aren’t people reaching out inquiring about dealership hours, service appointments or other issues. Those individuals will go directly to your website. These are car shoppers that are interested in buying a vehicle. And you have to admit that those are the most attractive conversations that your dealership could have with a customer. On top of that, these are customers interacting with you LIVE, not email addresses or phone numbers that don’t work so it’s especially important that whomever you charge at your dealership to handle live chats is trained to maximize opportunities.

Potential customers want information. Period. If your salespeople or BDC is not equipped to give them the information that they want, they will simply discontinue the chat and seek the information elsewhere. Consumers on Facebook Marketplace want to be able to communicate with your dealership, but they still expect a prompt response that satisfies their needs and answers their questions. Failure to do so can easily jeopardize the chances that your dealership builds rapport with the customer and, ultimately, the sale. 

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