Live Stream Your Lot:
As dealers face decreased foot traffic to the showroom floor, dealers are forced to think creatively about new ways to communicate with customers who are at home and cautious about venturing out. Luckily for most businesses, social media platforms and engagements have ultimately altered the online experience and disrupted marketing strategies significantly making it easier to market and sell online. Additionally, smart phones with high end cameras have removed what was once a barrier to posting quality and engaging content. Statistics show that video delivers the highest conversion rates compared to nearly all other content. After all, video is far more entertaining and eliminates the need to read through tedious amounts of text. One glance at your friends, families, and any one of driving age will substantiate it: just take a look at their Facebook story, Instagram story, YouTube playlist or one of their many latest TikToks. While television commercials once reigned supreme, today social media is a significant amount of engaged marketing. Consider live-streaming your lot. You get high quality video streamed directly to consumers on a platform they are already engaged on, it’s easy to digest in short 2-3 minute segments, and it’s easy for them to access with no additional downloads and you get the added bonus of making sure you walk your lot each day.
Here are some tips for how to successfully live stream your lot:
Don’t forget to practice and have fun! Your customers will appreciate you engaging with the community and will look forward to your daily updates!
Unprecedented times have left many customers confused and unsure of what the rules are for their area. While a lot of information is available online, work with your call tracking team to establish a hotline for remote sales. Give your customers a direct line to reach someone about remote sales. This eliminates frustration and confusion, and brings you one step closer to their purchase with as little effort on their part as possible.
Eliminate all friction with an easy-to-use hotline that directly connects them with someone who can immediately help them make their remote vehicle purchase. Even if your dealership is still accepting showroom appointments, consider establishing this hotline to help guide customers to their next vehicle.
Ensure that your hotline is always answered (see our tips for “Establishing a Phone Captain”), and that your employees can quickly and easily address customers questions and concerns about vehicles, a remote buying process, etc.
Managing a team virtually can be a challenge for any business and particularly difficult for a business that relies so heavily on face-to-face interactions. Don’t miss out on your daily activities and keep your team engaged, motivated, and focused. Working from home can be difficult and distracting for many, so having a common touch point each day can be helpful and even critical for many people.
Host a virtual 'Save-a-Deal' daily recap with your team. Capitalize on your call metrics and review each team member's sales opportunities. Take advantage of a morning and end-of-day touch point to share stories of wins and learnings among team members, and talk about a plan for the day.
Having a team and personal strategy will bring focus and purpose to each day. Talk through hurdles with customers, missed opportunity alerts, and how to save the deal! Working remotely does not have to mean missing opportunities.
Capturing inbound calls and ensuring that no customer is missed is more important than ever. Consider assigning a phone captain each day, enabling this person to champion the calls coming into the dealership. He/She can ensure each call is addressed, every customer is captured, and schedule callbacks and appointments. Having someone on-hand at the dealership to ensure that any vehicle verifications are easily made, virtual test-drives, and tours are handled, etc. Your phone captain can also be a key point of contact for your internal sales team, who may be fielding and returning calls from home, when they need someone to take pictures or videos of vehicles on the lot.
While the use of such video tools seems like a no-brainer, make the effort to go over the minute details of the vehicle; wear patterns on the seats, any small dents or dings. Dealer staff have an opportunity to build credibility by showing the good as well as a few imperfections, if there are any. Checking wear on the tires, opening the hood and the trunk, as well as opening doors to check for squeaks, are examples of the little touches buyers enjoy. In the video, mention any inspections that were done on the vehicle if it’s used/ pre-owned.
Car buyers have ready-access in what to do to buy a new or used car online, and dealer staff can tailor their approaches to customers by asking, “is there anything else you’d like to see?” Dealerships might need to work out technology fixes as FaceTime only works with Apple phones and Android to Android will work but not with FaceTime. This may require some training of sales teams.
Documenting your processes when a call comes in is essential under normal business conditions...but even more critical under the new virtual sales team model. Mapping out what is done to callers asking for inventory status, incentives, and how to get them transferred to the correct party is part of the process. This requires a new look at a not-so-standard operating procedure.
If you have a BDC, what new considerations are involved in booking virtual appointments? If a state allows visits to a showroom, what should be communicated to allow peace-of-mind as the customer plans their visit?
What time allotment will you set as a minimum before a return call is made? The data from our dealers support that 75% of calls are still coming in, how many calls fail to connect with agents are you targeting to be below.
Prior to the pandemic, connection rates were at a typical 64%, meaning that for every 100 callers to the dealership, only 64 connected with the intended agent. This rate has gone up as some dealerships adjust to lower call volumes, yet the rates of missing calls are going up.
Often times, there is a slow, strangling death that occurs within a business's interactive voice recognition (IVR) system that drives consumers crazy and ultimately drives them away. If you have ever been in a phone tree from hell, you know what we’re talking about. An audit of the IVR system done by your call tracking solution can help connect more calls connect to the intended agent.
Part of planning to serve the customers with new restrictions and considerations is the re-assessing of your service procedures during the stay-at-home orders. Obvious methods of driving out to the client's home and picking up the vehicle are the first that come to mind, but what sort of communication practices about how cars are being wiped down after service and before transferring back over to the customer are being implemented now? One method is that the dealership sends out a link to a video to show customers the procedure the car will undergo before a vehicle is returned to the owner/ customer.
Another consideration is handling the cases of emergency service conversion. If the customer doesn’t have money to invest in repairs, what is the procedure for having someone help them right away and conduct test drives and more? A solution is the dealership offers up virtual test-drives to its prospective buyers with two sales people taking a car for the test-drive.
Another method is the dealership explains the features of the vehicle while driving and the other shoots the video on the cell phone. If your dealership has both types of phones handy, a FaceTime session or an Android video session can occur during the test-drive to give the customer needing the vehicle a chance to ask questions.
What is your team learning? While many salespeople have been furloughed, the ones that do remain may need further training, not just in the features and benefits of the new vehicles in inventory, but also in phone-handling skills. There are many excellent training providers that serve the market, each of them have a virtual learning component and most of them are offering some type of discount to support the dealership community.
Some topics that jump to mind are:
Remember, we are here to help! Stay safe and let us know if we can be of any further help.