A few weeks ago, a good chunk of the PERQ team went to Las Vegas for the DrivingSales Executive Summit; a yearly conference that heavily focuses on innovations and cutting-edge technology aimed at improving elements of the automotive industry. There was so much to see, and there were so many amazing companies and people there to learn from.
While there, I went to a number of breakout sessions. All of them were wonderful, but 3 sessions in particular really “spoke to me” — especially as a marketer:
- The Down & Dirty of Digital Retail, Presented by Aaron Schinke & Eric Giroux (@ & @)
- Let’s Get Personal: Anticipate Your Shopper’s Needs & Close More Deals, Presented by Sven Wood of Edmunds.com & Jeanne Brewer (@AcuraofGlendale)
- Presented by Elise Kephart (@TheYoutubeDiva)
Following these sessions, I found myself wanting to learn more from them — so as the crowds dissipated, I went up to these awesome experts and picked their brain for their car sales tips and techniques. Here’s some of the advice I got from each session:
The Down & Dirty of Digital Retail
Aaron Schinke & Eric Giroux from Dealer Socket
Key Takeaway: When it comes to shopping for cars online, consumers want as much information as humanly possible. There’s literally no such thing as “too much information.” In this session, Aaron & Eric explain why transparency on your website is so important to your dealership’s consumers. They also explain how technological integrations can help provide this type of information to consumers.
Question: What would be your advice for integrating these types of resources onto your dealership’s website?
“I think before you take that step, the first thing you need to do is go through all of your inventory; and are you merchandising your vehicles — each one with original photos, original video, original descriptions — and until you’re doing that, I don’t think you’re ready to try to ask somebody to buy the car online. So I would make sure everything about your vehicle merchandising is custom, thoughtful, purposeful, meaningful and presented in a way that makes sense to the average consumer. Once you’re doing that, then you can start thinking about working with a technology provider to allow you to purchase cars online.”
Let’s Get Personal: Anticipate Your Shopper’s Needs & Close More Deals
Sven Wood of Edmunds.com & Jeanne Brewer, General Manager of Acura Glendale
Key Takeaway: When you personalize almost every aspect of your marketing efforts on your website, you create more opportunities for your dealership to forge stronger relationships with your consumers and sell more cars. Consumers respond to dealers who put in a valiant effort to reach out and help them on a one-on-one basis because each individual consumer has their own set of highly personalized needs. In this session, Sven of Edmunds.com and Jeanne explained how they worked together to develop a successful strategy that would allow car buyers at Acura of Glendale feel like they were being catered to individually based on specific demographic information and shopping data.
Question: What was your process for finding this information on your current consumer base?
“Most cities are going to have that demographic information, so it’s simple to go on to your city website and you’d be able to get that information rather simply. Most places (websites) will have updated every 5 years or 10 years, so sometimes it isn’t the most current, but sometimes you can kinda tell also what kind of clients are walking into your dealership. You just need to pay attention. Although everything is definitely backed with research, after you collect all this data, you have to react to it. You make your best plans based on that research and then take it from there. Sometimes you hit and you hit a home run and sometimes you strike out, so you gotta start all over again. It’s a constant process of continuing to improve.”
The Top Five Ways to Win with Your Follow Up
Key Takeaway: Following up with automotive leads can be hard — really hard. With all the competition out there, getting a car buyer’s attention requires additional effort. It requires lots of expression, personalization, persistence and, of course, brevity. In this session, Elise Kephart provides dealers with tips on how to use a mix of technology and traditional methods to improve their follow-up efforts in order to get more folks into the dealership.
Question: What sorts of word choices, templates or processes have worked in the past for you in regards to following up with dealer prospects?
“The process really works by, let’s say, you’re working in a dealership and you’re working that internet opportunity cradle to the grave (it also works from a B2B perspective). The whole goal, again, is whenever I talk about the video email, I usually like to shoot that out as a first impression, right after the phone call, and then everything past that. The process that I teach dealers is that every few hours, you’re making a phone call attempt — and with that phone call attempt, there are continuous short emails, very similar to those “sent from my iPhone,” “sent from my Samsung.” They’re typically 2-3 sentences long, and they’re all trying to get engagement from the customer.
I’m not really a fan of templates, but what I’ve actually built a structured based the different types of internet customers: maybe they went on your website; maybe they were on Kelly Blue Book, and want information on how much their vehicle is worth; maybe they were on TrueCars specifically; maybe they were applying for a financing loan. After that initial video email, every few hours, you’re making these phone calls and you’ll be dropping these plain text emails. They’re all just different ways of getting the customer on the phone. For example, by day 2, email 2, I usually I go strong — because I’d rather know that I tried and failed then discovered that the car buyer I’ve been in discussions with has already purchased a car. There’s no such thing as too much follow-up.”
Many thanks to everyone who took the time to speak with me. Your innovations are what make the automotive industry thrive!