In this week's Episode of Make Money Mondays Dealer Synergy's President, Sean V. Bradley gives advise on using text and chat templates to communicate with your prospects. If there are phone and voicemail templates, why do we not have templates for texting or chat? There are different variations and levels to create and using templates. Sean explains that you should build a library of chat messages that you can choose from. Texting and Chat are just as important because if gives you a chance to escalate to a higher form of communication.
Make Money Mondays with Sean V. Bradley - Text & Chat Templates
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Posted by JD Rucker on September 30, 2014 at 2:33am
There's a disturbing trend I'm seeing in the automotive industry when I visit websites. Perhaps it's been like this for a while and I simply took my eye off the chat ball. When I see chat windows that instantly prompt for the customer's contact information, it makes me cry a little inside.
This isn't what chat is supposed to be about. I'd love to have that debate with anyone. Chat is an alternative means of instant information. In other words, it's more akin to phone calls than to anything else. If you believe in having a barrier of entry for your customers to chat, then you should have your receptionist answer the phone with, "Thank you for calling XYZ Motors. Can I have your name, phone number, and email address, please? No? Okay, thank you for calling."
I totally understand how this came about. Chat companies were pressured to generate leads and that became the only goal. If you, as a car dealer, believe this, then I would contend that you've either been misled or you've lost touch with what chat should really do. There are two parts: lead generation AND customer service. Some people call the dealership to find out when the parts department closes. You don't need their contact information in order to tell them a time over the phone just as you should not require their contact information to give them the time over chat.
Whether you believe it or not, here's a fact that common sense should tell you: you're making some of your website visitors unhappy by creating a barrier to inquiry. Some people (more than we all want to admit) will never give their contact information before coming in. Unless your leads have a 100% appointment ratio, a 100% show ratio, and your lead volume is at 90% of your total traffic to the dealership itself, this fact should be clear. Despite what the up-log says, your customers are not driving by randomly. They went online. They've probably been to your website.
With that understanding, why would a dealership want to put a bad taste in their customers' mouths before they even decide to come by the dealership?
Serve your customers the information they want online without prejudice. Don't force them to fill out a lead form first. A skilled operator should be trained to work with people during chat, determine if they're a valid prospect, and gather the information the dealership wants DURING the chat process, not before. Will volume decrease? Maybe. Maybe not. I am no expert but I would imagine that the people who come into chat that wouldn't have entered because of the lead information wall will be more likely to leave their information as their questions are being answered.
You don't just want leads. You want good leads. You want great leads. Chat should be the best of both worlds, combining the dialogue potential of the phone with the information gathering of a lead form. If you make them fill out the form ahead of time, you're pushing away many who want to have a dialogue first. This is a big mistake.
Some would say, "If they're serious, they'll fill out the form, first." BS. There are plenty of serious buyers who want information but who have had bad experiences when they fill out lead forms. There's a reason lead form submissions are on the decline. People have been burnt in the past. Get them into a conversation first, then pursue the lead when appropriate. That's the right way to handle it.
To paraphrase Ronald Reagan, "Mr. Chat Provider - tear down this wall."
Palm Harbor, Fla. - ChatLead.com, Inc. / CarChat24, a leader in 24/7 Staffed Auto Dealer Chat Support, and Dealer Chat Software as a Service, announced today the appointment of Jason Good as Vice President of Marketing and Strategic Alliances. Good joins the team in a leadership role and will focus on the continued growth and positioning of CarChat24 in North America and emerging markets. Good will be located in the Palm Harbor, Florida head office; reporting to Shereef Moawad, President and CEO of ChatLead.com,Inc / CarChat24.
Good brings nearly 20 years of sales management leadership experience (12 in retail auto sales) to CarChat24 and most recently was the General Sales Manager of a 1,200 new car annual volume Mercedes-Benz store for the past 6 years. According to CarChat24’s CEO, Shereef Moawad, “Jason Good’s experience in the automotive sales business will be a real asset to CarChat24.” Additionally Shereef commented “We look forward to continued strong growth under Jason’s leadership and expansion of both our domestic and international footprint.”
When asked about his decision to join CarChat24 Good said “CarChat24 is a progressive, fast-paced and entrepreneurial company. I'm elated to be joining this growth company.” And with respect to the marketplace, “2014 is going to be an exciting year for Auto Dealer Chat with adoption expected to more than double 2013. This year, Car Dealers will embrace new and innovative chat technologies and staffed/managed automotive specific chat support service alternatives as a way to drive growth and profitability. Whether its desktop dealer chat software, mobile dealer chat solutions, or Staffed/Managed 24/7 dealer chat support solutions, CarChat24 is well-positioned to serve its customers and partners in North America."
About CarChat24.com (http://carchat24.com) CarChat24 provides 24/7 hosted Live Chat Support & Dealer Chat Software for new and used car dealership websites. CarChat24 helps dealers sell more vehicles by converting a higher percentage of their website visitors into quality leads. Since June of 2006, CarChat24 has been helping car dealers improve their sales and customer service on the Internet. Our mission is to empower car dealers with cutting edge live chat technology, and provide the professional staff and superior processes needed to obtain the best possible results. We are committed to helping our clients get the best return on investment from their websites. We strive to make our support service the very best and are always looking for innovative ways to give our dealers the edge over their competition. Follow CarChat24 on www.twitter.com/CarChat24 and fan CarChat24 on Facebook.com/CarChat24
Often I find myself having a recurring conversation with my dealers. The topic? Website Chat. Chat is essential to a dealership if they want to capitalize on all potential leads. Many argue, “It’s a waste of money…it’s a waste of time… and it requires too much attention.” This is where I beg to differ. The average chat provider charges about $250 a month. Even if your dealership only sells three cars in a month directly from chat leads, wouldn’t you say that it’s worth it? As far as managing the chat leads, it’s really not that tasking. Most chat providers allow you to have the leads sent directly to your Droid or iPhone. Let’s be honest, if you work in an automotive dealership, you’re most likely glued to your phone anyway.
Still not sold? Consider the traditional car shopping experience. A consumer visits your brick and mortar store and is immediately greeted by a salesperson to determine their needs and answer any questions they may have- right? So how would you expect a consumer to react if they came to your dealership and there was no one around to assist them? In today’s world, the shopping experience begins online. Your website is a virtual showroom, and live chat serves as your sales person.
With all of the money spent trying to get consumers to your website, what are you doing to engage the prospect once they’ve arrived? Usually they have come looking for information, so give it to them! Over time, shoppers have become increasingly needy and seek instant gratification. Even I want to be able to keep my shopping time to a minimum. I could be shopping for product at 7PM and by 7:15pm, I’m out walking my dog. Although responding to chat leads may take a few minutes, it’s certainly a worthwhile use of time if your goal is to move inventory and appease shoppers.
I recently came across a case study from the folks at BoldChat, and in it, they discussed the impact and implementation that their Live Chat program has had on NorthFace's business.
Before we dive into the key points in the case study, here's a question you need to ask yourself:
Does your dealership website incorporate some variation of a LiveChat program?
If your top priority is customer service, it should. Here are a few benefits that were pointed out in the Case Study:
You will see an increase in customer engagement
If a customer is not sure what type of car they're looking for, chances are that they'll much prefer a live chat to a phone call. They might not want to get on the phone until they're absolutely sure what they want.
This also falls under the category of ZMOT (Zero Moment of Truth). Customers are going online first before hitting the store/dealership. You must be there during the Zero Moment of Truth and Livechat can give you that advantage.
After implementing Live Chat for their website, NorthFace saw a rise in chats/month from 4,000 to 17,000
It will benefit your customer service team!
Participating in live chat with customers will require your CSR's to become experts and more well versed in the product (i.e. vehicles) you're selling
Before implementing chat, you'll want to vett your CSRs to ensure they're product evangelists.
So, does your website have some sort of Live Chat program? Why or Why not?
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.
This was a case study I recently posted on my blog: Automotive Marketing . We ran this study on Dealer Refresh for 2 months. Below you will see the results before adding Car Chat 24 and after. Anyone on Automotiveinternetsales.com that would be interested in a 30 day free trial, feel free to reach out.
Here is what Maria had to say after her 2 month trial:
You can see that Toyota of Irving after adding Car Chat 24 was able to increase their conversion by 60-70% and their website sales by over 40%.
Here is what Maria Jones had to say about her experience:
“As you can see the addition of a chat service (Car Chat 24) has yielded great results. At Toyota of Irving we are converting more visitors into valid leads and increasing guest satisfaction. It is truly amazing that we are capturing visitors as they are live on our site 24 hours a day! Some of them even get a response from us while they are still on-line after the chat. I will say however, this study focused on sales leads but I can’t tell you how many service leads came over as well and I know that we enjoyed some pretty good tickets from those leads as well! I hope that this data is helpful to you”.
I thought it would be important to display the data before adding chat and after.
Conversion Rate: The percentage of absolute unique visitors who submit a form on your website.
Numbers Before Chat:
Unique Visitors: 4370
Web Leads: 94
Unique Visitors: 7409
Web Leads: 219
Numbers After Chat:
Final numbers for June 2010from Toyota of Irving:
Total Unique Visitors: 3728
Total Website Leads without Chat Leads: 87 Lead Conversion % without Chat Leads: 2.33% Total CarChat24 Leads/Appointments/Queries: 62 Total Conversion % with Chat Leads: 3.99% Total Lead Conversion % increase: 71.24% Total Website Sales without Chat Leads: 22 Total Chat Lead Sales: 9 Total Sales: 31 Website Sales % increase: 41%
July 2010 Case Study Results (Final) Total Unique Visitors: 4487 Total Website Leads without Chat Leads: 154 Lead Conversion % without Chat Leads: 3.43% Total CarChat24 Leads/Appointments/Queries: 92 Total Conversion % with Chat Leads: 5.48% Total Lead Conversion % increase: 59.76% Total Website Sales without Chat Leads: 32 Total Chat Lead Sales: 14 Total Sales: 47 Website Sales % increase: 43.75%