Whatever the channel, the main objective remains the same: converting leads into customers.
Even these days, I often see the automotive industry managing its Web sales the old-fashioned way, using traditional methods. It’s no coincidence that they complain that they aren’t getting the expected results from their Web initiatives which are extremely expensive.
The time has come to adapt our sales techniques to the new market realities. In this article, I will review some of the methods that can be used to increase the level of customer support that you provide to your Internet visitors.
If you are looking for specific advice to help increase the number of incoming requests generated by your digital marketing campaigns, I invite you to read my previous articles or my blog.
Evolution of the Customer
The Web offers numerous advantages for buyers including speed, user-friendliness and efficiency. Often times, Web leads are already well informed by the time they end up on your website. Chances are you’re not the only business contacted by this customer, they’ve probably used “cut and paste” to fill in your website form as well as those of your main competitors.
Your only option left is to offer a comparable or superior user experience to those shopping the Internet in search of their dream car. I won’t go into the details, but to start with, you need a fast, safe, mobile-friendly website that makes it easy to contact you.
The process of shopping and completing an online information request has become so user-friendly that Internet users are more likely to fill it in than they would if they visited your showroom. Whatever the time of day, they expect to be contacted immediately, not 24 or 48 hours later. Give them the option of being contacted whenever and however they wish; this option is especially important for the 18 to 30-year-old demographic. Several studies have shown that leads increasingly lose interest with each passing hour. However, many sales teams keep regular hours from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. As basic as this may seem, you should have a customer service team able to respond to requests 24/7. These team members should be able to access e-mail, calls, online requests and social media. You’d be surprised how many businesses haven’t yet understood this.
The Importance of Digital Synergy
It’s important to sort Web leads to determine the priority of each request. I’m often surprised to see how little information is requested from leads. After conducting several Web marketing campaigns in the Quebec market, we noticed that most businesses don’t collect enough relevant information regarding their potential customers. An incoming lead with a comprehensive request form will have a greater chance of converting than that of a lead that only checked off an “information request” box while leaving an e-mail address on your website. On the other hand, businesses that gather more information outperform the others as their customer service is better equipped.
Don’t be intimidated by technology – it will help you bridge the gap between the virtual and material worlds. Often times, people are surprised how dealership website’s traffic sources and navigation history can be easily shared with the sales team. And this is just the tip of the iceberg these days. This task can even be simplified further by using a CRM (Customer Relationship Management) platform. You’ll have the capability to implement a superior customer service approach backed by solid processes.
My sales experience has taught me that, above all, what works best is a personalized contact with the potential customer. If the virtual side, which I touched on earlier, has the ability to facilitate the first interactions between your business and a future customer, the downside is that it makes the customer experience less natural. An individual who filled in an online form has no guarantee that you’ll call them back as they lose control of the situation the moment they hit “Send” on the form. This is an unfortunate reality which explains why you must act quickly before they look elsewhere. The best way to instill confidence in the customer is to call them, this way, they will be able to provide details as to their needs and expectations, while feeling listened to and appreciated. This communication method also provides the chance to display interest in their project and create a bond which will play in your favour during the sales process.
Once the call has been made, it’s important to think about the follow-up. Give the person a week and contact them again. We’re all flooded with work and a little reminder that you exist and are at your customer’s disposal can help accelerate projects. You’d be surprised at the efficiency of a regular follow-up process: it makes individuals feel important and prompts them to move forward with you. I invite you to go back and read the “Micro-Moments” article to gain more insight as to where the customer is in their buying process.
On your marks, get ready and go prospect, time is wasting!