02 May Consumer Automotive: The Importance of Sales in Consumer Engagement7 min read
“The customer is always right” is a phrase that is thrown around loosely in today’s day and age. Realistically, it’s pretty vague to assume the customer is always right, because a lot of the time they’re straight-up wrong. It’s more accurate to say that the customer is priority number one and the underlying boss, because without the customer there would be no market, no transaction, no revenue, and no business at all. This is especially true when it comes to engagement in consumer automotive.
CONSUMER AUTOMOTIVE: THE IMPORTANCE OF SALES IN CONSUMER ENGAGEMENT
In my role as a Sales Development Rep, I’m responsible for the front end of the selling cycle. I strike up conversations with prospective clients in hopes of sparking their interest enough for them to set aside time on their calendar so I can learn more about their role with the dealership, and see if PERQ fits into their ongoing marketing strategy.
In case you were wondering, yes, that was a small snippet of my sales pitch! If I’m lucky, I get to run through the pitch five or six times a day.
Sales is a Lot Like Baseball: Create Engagement
I’ve realized that sales is a lot like baseball. In baseball if you fail 7 out of 10 times, you’re a Hall of Famer. This is similar to sales, where you experience a lot of rejection with the hopes of finding success a fraction of the time, and being ecstatic about it.
The key to winning this game, is putting yourself in your target’s shoes, being the ball, and being the prospect. You must think as they do and craft a strategy around their unique consumer profile, leading up to the bread and butter of all business, engagement.
Engaging a customer is more than just grabbing their attention. The challenging part is retaining that attention and keeping them engaged long enough to effectively deliver the message.
Today’s world is cluttered with noise everywhere we go. We have a constant connection to people all over the world, and it’s taking society to new heights.
With that direct feed to the world around us, more and more people are checking out of the present moment, and shifting their focus to the screen in their hands, taking their minds virtually anywhere they want to go.
This is becoming increasingly more common in the consumer automotive space and their shopping behaviors. From my own experience, whenever I actually walk into a store and find something I’d consider purchasing, I don’t take it to the checkout line. Instead, I pull out my phone and find the exact same item on Amazon, the only difference is the lower price.
Consumers are in the driver’s seat now and have the power to personalize their buying process, so engagement is the key to winning their business. The customer relationship begins the second they hit the landing page.
When it comes to the car buying process, consumers utilize technology to conduct research on the best deals in the area, and have immediate access to your deals AND the other seven dealerships down the street. (One of our team members, Russ Chandler, has talked about this idea, and why it’s so important to be transparent in consumer automotive with customers before.)
With all that information, consumers get to hand-pick their vehicles of interest and what dealerships to visit, which typically end up being the ones who earned it by effectively engaging their visitors.
Consumer Engagement Begins with a Personalized Online Experience
On the flip side, the dealership’s customer-for-life “customer loyalty” they strive for is slowly fading away because the consumer now has the upper hand. Being a smart shopper takes priority over being loyal to a specific store. Dealerships need to evolve with the consumer to earn their business.
That starts with engaging them at their first point of contact, the website. By personalizing the customer experience on the website, dealerships are more likely to leave a lasting impression on their visitors before they jump over to the next site.
Learning more about the customer and their intent will extend the duration of their visit on the website, and lay a strong foundation for the newly formed relationship. The longer they’re on the site, the more information gets captured, building a consumer profile that holds every lead’s unique buying behaviors.
With all that information, dealers are able to speak directly to the customer, meeting their needs before they have a chance to jump onto the next website. In my role, I’ve quickly learned that timing is everything. Sending the right message at the right time can go a long way, and even make or break a promising deal in the consumer automotive space.
The same can be said for an effective consumer automotive website, and that’s why it’s my job to help dealers understand the importance of continued engagement with their consumers. Helping dealers understand the different touchpoints that hold a consumer’s attention is a critical part of my job. Getting dealers to think like their consumers and put themselves in their shoes is an essential part of starting the conversation around how important it is to optimize websites with different marketing technologies.
Bringing it back to the baseball metaphor, I like to think of myself as a hitting coach- continually working with dealers to fine tune their swing so they can boost their batting average and knock it out of the park when it comes to continually engaging their consumers!
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