Is the internet killing our visits to the showroom?
Has the industry changed so much are Saturdays busy or not?
ASA went to a dealership today and to say it was busy would be an understatement!
We spoke to the Managers and asked is it always like this? ‘’No, sometimes it’s busy and sometimes it’s not’’ they replied. We probed further ‘’we know its bank holiday weekend is this the problem?’’ Sales Manager said ‘’No, Saturdays are just so unpredictable these days’’
ASA think he is right, unpredictable, looking at footfall results and appointment ratio’s this dealership is excellent in conversion, the difficulty tends to be getting the customers to come in and talk to the sales executives.
- What can we do to get more customers in?
- Do we need to incentivise our own customers to actually come and see us?
- With limited viewings to the dealerships at the reported 1.3 dealership visits is the internet killing our visits?
Websites full of content about the vehicles we sell, stock images over 9 per car, 3 minute video’s showing even more details of the used car stock. Sales teams need to be more inventive in ensuring the customers visit. ASA are not confident our customers will buy directly off the web from use of video’s and pictures, although we have not ruled this out in the future.
Manufacturer websites have a heavy influence on new car purchases with 85% of car buyers visiting before heading to the showroom.
Independent research from customer experience benchmarking firm, also found that 80% of customers use the internet to compare cars from different manufacturers. Most significantly, 20% go online again just before making their final decision.
Ways to ensure customer keep appointments
The tips that I would like to share with you are simple and cost nothing to implement.
Psychology of Persuasion, Robert Cialdini explains that once someone has given their commitment they are less likely to back out.
It is important that we ask for actual commitment from the customer to say or do something rather than making suggestions, because passive behaviour is less likely to deliver the outcome we are after. Commitment from customers can be obtained in many ways, including some of the following:
- Engaging the customer so they verbally say ‘Yes’
- Taking payment up front
The more commitment you get, the more likely the customer is to attend, so I invite you to develop systems in the dealership that routinely ensure your customers’ commitment is obtained.
Text and E-Mail Reminders
Most modern dealers are computerised and have the automatic facility to send text messages and e-mail reminders. Firstly, a little exercise: read a short sentence and I invite you to observe what you notice.
‘Do not think of a blue hippopotamus.’ What did you notice? Even though I told you not to, you briefly created an image of a blue hippopotamus in your mind’s eye.
How does this relate to text and e-mail reminders? I have seen several examples recently where the texts read: ‘Do not forget your appointment…’ ‘Please don’t miss your appointment’ ‘If you want to reschedule your appointment…’
Unwittingly what the text is doing is directing your customers’ attention to do exactly the opposite of what you want them to do.
Instead your messages should read: ‘Remember your appointment’ ‘Looking forward to you keeping your appointment…’
Moving forward, what will it mean to your practice now you have improved the wording on your texts and e-mails?
Make your dealership a fun place to be
Have you ever gone out for a fantastic dinner, but been served by miserable waiting staff? Do you go back? I suspect not.
And yet I am sure you have also been to other restaurants where the food is mediocre, but the staff delightful and the atmosphere so inviting that you go back time and time again? True?
It is the same for your customers. No matter how excellent your sales skills are, if the customer service is poor the customers will not come in. ASA visited a dealer that created an environment in the dealership where customers would just pop in even if they did not have an appointment because they liked being there.