As restrictions begin to ease and customers begin to return to visiting brick and mortar locations, we cannot forget the lessons we learned during COVID-19.

It is important to remember that we are not going back to the same situation as we were 6 months ago. With restrictions on a customer’s ability to come into a dealership or retail store, online communication is far more important today.

Many sales teams had to adapt their communication strategies to handle most or all of the sales process online.  Many dealership leaders I spoke with figured out a way to handle this dynamic and customers seemed pleased.

The danger now is thinking this type of interaction was temporary instead of learning and adapting to strategies moving forward.

So how do we continue to treat online visitors as qualified shoppers? Through my various discussions with sales managers, I’ve come up with a few solutions to seamlessly transition to the new way of selling.

  1. If someone was on the dealership lot, what are they doing there? Answers would be shopping for a vehicle, gathering information about a car, or servicing their car. Why else would they be there?
  2. If this same person was on your website, looking at inventory or service pages are they any different than the person on the lot? Are they any less interested in a car? Why else would they be on your website if they are not interested in what you are offering? They should be treated as a qualified shopper.
  3. One topic I keep talking about is the dwindling necessity of forms on a website. Shouldn’t we just be available to chat with them right when they have a question? Dealers and businesses who have pivoted to this strategy have seen a huge uptick in sales opportunities and customer satisfaction.
  4. Stop interacting with them differently. Be prompt, make sure your message is clear and inviting. Make sure you have the right information on your website. The person on the lot can get any question answered by your team, can they do the same by visiting your website? If not, work with your marketing partner to fix it.
  5. Answering their questions will make them more likely to visit versus hiding answers, only to be shared if they come to your store. I know some think telling customers everything potentially will send them to your competition, but in reality, it brings them to you. In many cases your competition is holding back information until they show up on their lot. Don’t hold information based on fear.

Online customers are interested shoppers. Interested shoppers are qualified shoppers. You need to entice them and provide them with the correct information so they become engaged shoppers. What behavior does someone on the lot show for you to think they are qualified? Do they look at multiple cars? Apply the same line of thinking to online shoppers. Do they look up information online similar to what they ask for on the lot, such as finance options, trade in options, hours you are open if they need to come back, and pricing?

When they call, are you helping them move one step closer to coming in by your interaction? In order to truly adapt to servicing the needs of online shoppers, you need to ask yourself these questions to give them feedback right away and save them time any way you can.

The sooner employees begin realizing online activity is now similar to in-store activity, the more leads will increase.

I hope you found value. If you did, please share. If I can help in any way, please let me know. I am always available for a call.

Don’t miss out on the Digital Marketing Strategies Conference which is now Virtual. This July 13-15th. For tickets and information got to http://digitalmarketingstrategies.org/

If you need help implementing a strong Digital Retailing process for your dealership, then please click here for more information on our 60 Day DR Consulting Program. Brian and I personally work with your store to help you create a brand message, marketing assets, streamline your website and create more engaging customer sales processes.

Glenn Pasch

Glenn Pasch is a Partner and CEO of PCG Digital. Glenn continues to author articles for multiple industry publications, blogs and forums as well as continuing his writing online at www.glennpasch.com.

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