How you handle your internet leads determine so much about your culture, your dealership, and your customer experience. Do you differentiate yourselves from the competition that surrounds you?
If you want to be successful in this business, you need to have a plan in place concerning how you handle your internet leads, the speed in which you reach out to customers, and how you bring them into the dealership. Especially in a time where we have transitioned quickly to online models that we previously were just looking at or evaluating.
So much research speaks to best practices in the dealership, how to best handle leads, processes, and how customers are shopping in the moment. Who has time to wade through all of it? I jumped in to see what data supports the transition to mobile, customer shopping habits, and what all of these means to the automotive industry.
Are you ready to embrace online selling methods?
So here are some facts that stood out to me:
- 80% of users used a mobile device to search the internet in 2019 (quora)
- In 2019, 53% of all ad budgets were allocated to mobile first campaigns (stastica)
- 40% of users will go to the competitor after a bad mobile experience (Outerbox)
- 96% of Americans own a smartphone (Pew Research Center)
- 70 percent of mobile searches lead to action within one hour. (It takes a full month for the same percentage of desktop users to catch up.) (Source: MobileMarketer.com)
- 9 out of 10 mobile searches lead to action. More than 50 percent lead to sales. (Source: SearchEngineLand)
And this data will change quickly. As new technologies emerge and disruptions are added, data grows, morphs, and develops into new, slightly different data. It is almost impossible to have “current” information because current is constantly evolving. If 2020 has taught us anything, it is that we must constantly keep up and stay innovative.
Think about how that affects the way we reach out, market, and talk to customers. It is an ever changing game and we need to either know the most recent rules or start creating some new ones.
A few points to take away from all this data:
Is your website responsive?
One major takeaway is that customers are searching your dealership and looking for information on multiple platforms. Is your website set up for a multi-device experience? If 80% of customers are doing research on their smartphone, and 70% lead to some form of action within an hour, you need to make sure you are meeting customers where they are. It is not enough to have a functional website, but you need a responsive one. One that provides the information they want without having to minimize to see the text or do the scroll of death to try and find the right margin. Your website should be completely functional on any platform with any device the customer chooses to utilize.
Are you prepared for change?
We are creatures of habit in an industry that does not embrace change as quickly as others. The problem with that is our customers ARE changing, and we need to keep up in a manner they find inviting. That means we have to have multiple modes of contact, advertising, and selling. Customers expect to have choices now, and we are more than capable of providing them. Texting, Chat, and Video are the expected forms of communication for the customer, and they expect that communication FAST. One statistic I read today stated that texts get read in under 3 minutes. Do you have the staffing to get this done?
Let me give you some peace of mind.
There are some things--some tried and true methods--that are still effective. You can add any new approach needed, but these are three static forms of contact that must happen.
- You must engage with your customer quickly
- You must get them on the phone as soon as possible
- You must set an appointment
You are already doing this, right?
You have one solid piece in place, as long as you are doing this well. With all of this innovation and change, take comfort that there are methods you already embrace. The interesting and exciting part is figuring how to weave the old with the new. How to incorporate online selling with your current process. How to make your Digital Retailing tool work best for you and your dealership. Should you incorporate a service that immediately links you to a customer via phone when they fill out a lead?
You should not abandon prior methods, but you can enhance them and make them even more effective. So do what you are doing, but add what you can one step at a time. Master that, and then see if it works.
Because, at the end of the day, it does not matter if it is cool or cutting edge. What matters is if it helps you reach more customers and sell more cars.