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Trace Ordiway

Trace Ordiway Internet Sales Best Practices Consultant

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As one who launches three to four e-mystery shops per week, I get to see the marketplace from a perspective far different than the one I had when I worked at a store.  I’ve learned that a lot of what, in my selling days, I thought was good material actually contains a message far different from the one intended – and that the message that comes across is not always a good one. 

Judging by some of the follow-up emails I get from dealerships today, many stores still have the same unintentional communication difficulties that I had.  So, in the interest of industry service, I’d like to pass along some (admittedly subjective) constructive comments, observations and recommendations. Please read on if you’re interested.

Let’s first establish that within 24-48 hours of its arrival every incoming e-lead is going to fall into one of the following three categories: 

1). Responsive, 
2). Lurker (opens your emails but does not reply to your email or voice communications) or
3). Black Hole (does not open emails, does not return phone messages). 

Every prospect gets a Day 1 email or emails, but it’s likely that only the Lurkers and Black Holes will get your Day 2 and onward emails.  Let’s talk today about those Day 2 and onward messages, then, as this is where things seem to fall apart.

Most Day 2 and onward emails my mystery shoppers receive, if they receive any at all, contain the following lines: 

   - “Why buy from us?”  (or its alternate version “Why buy from me?”)
   - “Just wanted to drop a quick note to see if I was emailing you too often?”
   - “At ABC Motors our goal is to provide you with the best ‘hassle free’ automobile purchasing and services experience available.”
   - “I realize that life is very busy and that priorities have a way of changing in the blink of an eye….”
   - “If you have already purchased another vehicle or are no longer looking please let me know so I can remove your name from my computer system.” 
    - “Perhaps you have not had time to answer my e-mail or phone calls regarding your vehicle purchase request.  It is very important that I speak with you.“
   - “Are there any other questions or concerns that we need to talk about?”

Do the above lines look familiar?  You bet they do, because they come directly from stock email templates that ship with every brand CRM tool ever made. These letters are still being used by dealerships everywhere.  The problem is, they are crap.  And here’s why: they do little or nothing to advance the sales momentum.

A long, long time ago we were taught that all prospects come to us seeking relief from pain, and that most have three gnawing concerns causing that pain: 
1) How to acquire the vehicle they believe they want or need to buy?
2) How to dispose of the vehicle they have to trade or sell?
3) How to acquire the money needed to make this all happen? 

So does it not stand to reason that our follow-up emails should be designed to address the prospects pain and provide relief (or the promise of relief) from that pain?   We can do that (and in the process lead the prospect down the path to the close) by providing opportunities  - opportunities for the prospect to acquire information and knowledge that will allow him/her to erase each pain area one at a time.  

Instead of “Why buy from me?” how about  “Do you have a trade-in?  Want to know what it is worth today?  A free, no obligation appraisal at our store takes only minutes.” 

Or, instead of “We promise you a hassle-free shopping experience” how about “Would you like to know in advance what kind of financing you can get at ABC Motors?  Just click this link, fill-out the credit app and we’ll get right back to you with answers”   These are but two examples.

Write your follow-up emails so that they advance the sales momentum – you can do it by giving the prospect value in each email - value in the form of opportunity – opportunity to acquire the information and knowledge that will erase his pain.

Your Lurker and Black Hole e-prospects will love you for it.

Bryan Armstrong
Great advice. I dont believe in using any of the stock library templates that come with the CRM. What sounds great to you may not have anything to do with what your prospect is trying to achieve. Plus what in happens when they cross shop and that guy has the same tool? So much for your built value and why buy reasons. You didn't even care enough to write a reply. Great post!

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