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Dear Valued Partner,

As you may know, the FCC adopted changes to the rules under the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (“TCPA” ) that are going into effect October 16, 2013 for calls made to consumers on or after that date.

As a valued Autobytel dealer, we're reaching out to you to ensure that you're aware of these new rules so you can evaluate your practices and procedures for compliance when contacting consumers by voice communication or (SMS) text message.

In general, the changes to the TCPA rules require express prior written consent for each case in which a consumer is contacted for marketing or sales purposes by voice communication using an auto dialer or an automated message—or a system that has auto dialer capabilities, regardless of whether the feature is used in making calls to consumers. We understand it's possible you make calls to consumers, or that calls to consumers are made on your behalf by a call center or agency using a phone/phone system or other device or system with auto dialer capabilities. As such, we recommend you consider contacting consumers by means other than voice communication or (SMS) text message (e.g., email) to obtain express prior written consent in the future.

Please understand that the changes to the TCPA rules affect calls that are made to consumers effective October 16, 2013, regardless of when the consumer's phone number was obtained. Therefore, we recommend that any changes you make in consumer voice communications or (SMS) text message are effective prior to that date to ensure full TCPA compliance for calls or text messages on or after October 16.

This notice is sent as a courtesy and is not intended to provide a detailed description of the new rules (for example, the rules are somewhat different when calling wireless numbers vs. land lines). We strongly recommend that you consult with your legal advisors regarding the changes to the TCPA rules and your compliance with the new rules.

Thank you for your time. We appreciate the opportunity to provide you with information about these important new developments. Should you have any further questions, please feel free to contact me directly .

Sincerely,

Tara Wagoner

Vice President, Dealer and Consumer Operations

Direct: 949-862-1350

taraw@autobytel.com

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Auto Dealers Build Trust by Personalizing Follow-Up Emails
http://www.drivingsales.com
http://www.dealersynergy.com
REPOST from DrivingSales.com Writen By Justin Braun. Auto dealers know the follow-up process is one of the most critical elements of lead conversion. This is especially true for leads generated through automotive live chat. To be successful in this business and build trust with consumers, dealers must follow-up with leads quickly and be precise and specific in their communication. For leads generated from automotive live chat, the chat transcript holds vital information about the prospect’s desires and how far along he or she is in the conversion funnel.

But, how can auto dealers be specific, personal and build trust in a timely manner?

Understandably, auto dealers hate to email out a price without first talking to someone. Dealers should simply focus on continuing to build the relationship with the prospective customer that was initiated by the live chat conversation while providing information that move the customer forward in the sales process.

In this blog, we analyze a real-life situation in which a dealer failed to follow-up appropriately with a chat lead. Then, we discuss appropriate and effective ways to follow-up with chat leads (and all Internet leads) so that they convert into sales and move forward in the sales process.

Below is an example of a failed follow-up process, straight from the chatter’s mouth…er, their fingers.

“Hello. Not too sure if you can answer my question. But how long does it usually take to get the bottom line price on a car? I originally inquired on 1.26.12 and then again yesterday. I have received the same auto reply/generic email thanking me for my interest.

Its okay. I just wanted to know if the manager would take the time to reply or if I should just forget about it and move on.”

Nothing is worse than spamming your leads with robotic, impersonal auto-replies. Something we stress to our auto dealer clients is to always be personal in your follow-up responses. As you can see from the last sentence of the chat, this ready-to-buy prospective customer has lost all trust is on the verge of giving up on the dealership.

So dealers, how would you salvage this situation and prevent it from happening in the future? Here are a few tips:

Send a personal email

A personal touch is all your prospects are looking for. It doesn’t have to be long – both you and the customer live busy lives – 3 to 5 sentences addressing the situation will salvage the sales process. Using the phrase, “My online sales assistant let me know you were interested in ______,” can be very effective. Fill in the blank and take it from there. Also, don’t forget to include a call to action. Never end an email with a statement! Conclude your email with a question to prompt a response.

Follow-up with relevant and specific information

Confirm special features/options on the vehicle ( something as simple as leather seats or advanced options like Bluetooth)
Confirm availability (and interior color and condition if it is pre/owned)
Send a pic of the actual vehicle and offer to send more
Give a bullet point of what the next steps are in the buying process
Explain advantage of buying from you
Remind the prospect of what is needed for the test drive( license, and whatever else they may want)
Provide info on what services or reconditioning on the pre-owned vehicle has been done

Read what is given to you

Read the chat transcript, form lead or any other consumer insights you have. Know what the customer wants and give it to them. It’s that easy! Remember that the chat conversation has already developed a relationship between your dealership and the prospective customer. An impersonal auto-response removes the customer entirely from the sales process and ruins your rapport.

By acting as an advocate in the follow-up process, auto dealers can provide consumers with information and then ask questions to assist them in moving forward through the sales process. Keep in mind that consumers don’t buy a car every day, week, month or year. Every “inside” tip you give prospects builds upon the trust already established by the live chat conversation.

Remember, the leads received through automotive live chat are a product of a two-way conversation. A template email saying thanks for your interest just stalls customers and erodes any trust built during a live chat conversation.

Remember, the leads received through automotive live chat are a product of a two-way conversation.

In addition to these tips, ActivEngage CEO Todd Smith offers additional advice that will not only help ensure auto dealers successfully transform chat conversations into leads, but will help them stand out in the marketplace during the critical follow-up process.

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We all know Facebook is right now for dealerships around the nation the #1 choice when trying to engage with customers off-site, next to the biweekly or monthly ownership email marketing “blast” (my God do I hate this term “blast”) and/or dealer newsletter provided by IMN, Outsell, 3Birds Marketing or OnStation.

But I could discover throughout my held trainings and seminars that we as dealers very rarely know about the motives of consumers, why they are following us or a brand – why do they like us. What make fans and followers click?

A recent conducted research of Co-Tweet and ExactTarget came closer to provide an answer. The following motives and answers will possibly help dealerships to adjust their engagement level on Social Media Networks. It will help us further in creating new approaches to “catch” potential customers’ attention.

Here the Top 10 Motivations why Consumers “Like” a Brand on Facebook and Follow

1. 40% want to receive discounts and promotions

2. 37% want to show support for the brand/company to thers

3. 36% hope (want) to get free samples, a coupon (a.k.a. freebies)

4. 34% want to stay informed about the activities of the company

5. 33% want to get updates on future products

6. 30% want to get updates and information on future sales

7. 27% like to get fun and entertainment out of it

8. 25% want to get access to exclusive content

9. 22% mentioned they were referred by someone to follow this brand/company

10. 21% want just to learn more about the company

Wow, would you have guessed it. Consumers actually like to receive update and information on future sales!

And by the way, don’t feel bad when you do not have too many interactions, shared thoughts and ideas or provided feedback from your “fans, followers and likes”.The survey found out that indeed only 13% want to interact directly with the company.

So, my suggestion would be: Take the numbers, share them with your sales and management team and start to tailor a Facebook Marketing plan around the findings.

Happy reading, planning and executing...VJ the Social Media Buzzer
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According to a newer study from L2, Generation Y or also called Millenials are the consumer Group to watch out for, when trying to convince and to engage them to interact with your brand, make or model.

As the study revealed 81% of affluent Gen-Y consumer opening and checking their status on Facebook each day. On the other site 45% are reading at least one blog or newspaper content and 41% watch television daily. Taking a closer look how the Gen-Y affluents connect with brands, the study reveals more than 80% of female Gen-Y's do that through social media, comparing it to just 63% of the male Gen-Y affluents.

Most likely the action for these Millenials to follow or like a brand will be triggered by special online offers or promotions a company is displaying. Here again: more female (38%) than male (28%) will decide to give it a try and follow. Because Facebook is just in such a dominating position, do not attempt as a business or marketer to neglect your micro-blogging endeavor. Twitter for example is still up and coming and 1 out of 4 Millenials checked their status, responses, direct messages and name mentioning in the last 24 hours.

Who are actually these "affluent" Gen-Y's? Why should we have them in our scope and building a possible Marketing strategy around them?

The average affluent Gen-Y consumer is around the 27 year old bracket. Income is approximately at the $100,000 per year range, which will definitely double by the age of early 30's. 75% of the focus group in this study mentioned their "somewhat affinity" to a brand in which 43% of them admitted of "following some good brands" and 32% of these participants even had "a brand crush", which made them follow a brand.

The most interesting part here: 12% considered themselves "brand devotees" or as I would state "HERE ARE YOUR BRAND EVANGELISTS - locate them, target them with special offers and perks, and you'll create your own self-sustaining "referral marketing department".

What else was found during L2's study?

Facebook seems to be the "Holy Grail" for these Millenials because fundamentals reveal
  • more than 50% say that their attitudes towards a brand was shaped through Facebook
  • 54% of them clicked "LIKE" on a brand fan page in previous month
  • 38% have posted a comment in the previous month
  • 30% shared the brand they followed with their network (love this WOM number)
Video content as second "holy oracle", short behind Social Networking

No doubt, watching and sharing video content is a daily task for Gen-Y's. According to the numbers
  • 56% watched a video on YouTube the previous 24 hours
  • Hulu videos or shows were downloaded and watched by 19%
  • 13% used a mobile device to watch a video
  • and 21% found a different video source other than YouTube and Hulu.
So when all these numbers reveal how "video hooked" and addicted Millenials are, why not calling out for creative video contests, featuring your brand, make or model? Just make sure that the channel is checked "non-public" at the time the creative results will be submitted. Reason is too avoid to have material suddenly posted which will compromise your product or displays content not suited for business purposes. Trust me on this - according to my German proverb: TRUST IS GOOD - CONTROL IS BETTER.

In case you have already tried to focus on certain age groups, like Gen-Y, Gen-X and Baby Boomers and may have run a campaign, what did you see and conclude out of the campaign? Please feel free to comment and share your insights.
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