There’s no longer a question of whether the automotive industry has undergone a dramatic change. The market already has significantly shifted toward a digital model, with more changes anticipated for 2017 and beyond.
Some dealerships are testing some radical ideas, like giving consumers an Apple-like experience in which they can come in and purchase a car in less than an hour — from start to finish. No haggling about base price or extras necessary. While it’s unlikely that the car buying experience will completely overtake current models any time soon, it is evident that change is necessary to adapt to an increasingly digital car buying experience.
Here are several critical ways you can equip your car dealership for success in the future.
Be sensitive to car buyers’ desire for answers.
“Provide an in-depth experience by asking a few more questions about the car condition.”
You want auto leads. Of course, you do. But don’t go after leads at any cost. Or with the least amount of effort. Focus on nurturing meaningful, honest relationships with the visitors to your site by engaging them with an experience that helps them determine their own priorities for a new or used vehicle.
If they want to trade in a vehicle, don’t simply provide the basic value of the vehicle, regardless of condition. Provide an in-depth experience by asking a few more questions about the car condition.
Make the Experience Interactive.
Static lead forms which basically ask for a name, email address, phone number and location in exchange for the most basic of information can be a turn-off. It could be of value to you, but little value to your prospective car buyers. Don’t make consumers feel reluctant to hand over personal information.
“Don’t make consumers feel reluctant to hand over personal information.”
They may be bracing themselves for calls from your sales reps, especially if they’re not ready to have that conversation. Find out where buyers are in the process by asking, “How soon do you want to buy?” What type of vehicle are you interested in?” “What’s important to you?” Use interactive lead forms that make the experience engaging — more of a two-way conversation instead of a one-side blast. They will allow you to gather the type of consumer data that helps you follow up with more meaningful and customized content.
Ask for their Preference in Communicating.
Give prospects a choice. Do they want a call? Or do they prefer follow-up messages by email? By putting the ball in their court, you’re giving them control over the process.
Develop Smart Communications.
“Resist the urge to bombard auto leads with follow-up messages that aren’t tailored to their needs or desires.”
With a wealth of consumer data that provides more insights on where buyers are in their journey, you can tailor content that fits each segment. Resist the urge to bombard auto leads with follow-up messages that aren’t tailored to their needs or desires.
But, by all means, follow up quickly with auto leads who indicate they are “ready to buy now” or “ready to buy in 30 days.”
According to Google, online searches via smartphones and other mobile devices surpassed those on laptops or desktops. You must adapt by providing an experience that’s optimal for car buyers searching via these devices.