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Expand your Dealer Services Beyond 9-5

January 30, 2013 - 8:20 pm

Auto dealership websites, social marketing, third party auto sales lead sources, and interactive website chat continue to revolutionize the way we sell cars – and dramatically changed the means for a dealership to sell more cars. Sure, that’s obvious, but few realize the dramatic impact on advertising dollars. The old dealership marketing model used to increase automotive sales was simple: run full page special ads in the local papers on Saturdays, throw some used car liner ads in the classifieds, and play higher energy ads on the radio than your competition. Throw in some direct mail with a cheap freebie and an occasional gorilla suit infomercial on cable channels and you could increase automotive sales prospects flowing through the front door. Those days have gone the way of buggy whips, cassette tapes, and Pluto’s planet status. Nowadays, if you don’t offer a cutting-edge technology to quickly engage your potential customers, you are potentially missing substantial sales opportunities.

During the decade that ended in 2010, dealers cut newspaper and radio ad dollars by a staggering 67% and auto dealership internet advertising has exploded by more than 500 percent (Source: NADA)! Successful managers recognize that shopping habits have adapted, as well. The majority of auto dealership internet advertising is typically structured to help drive traffic to the dealership website, but what happens once visitors land there? With the old model, you have to hope that they like a vehicle enough to actually click through and pass along their (accurate) information. From there you have to hope that either the email address and phone are actually correct. Then once your sales or business development center (BDC) staff member calls that the prospect actually takes the call.

What if you had a chance to engage the prospect from the first moment they land on your website to the last – and even when they move on to other websites? Twenty four hours a day? Every day? Can you see the potential not only for more auto sales leads, but higher quality car leads that result in a higher sales ratio? If you said ‘yes’, you’re not alone. Thousands of companies across the globe in all industries are leveraging the latest internet technology to offer their website visitors a live interactive chat option. And auto dealership websites offer perhaps the greatest opportunity to convert a browser to a buyer, because more than sixty percent of chat sessions result in a lead – and these auto sales leads tend to be MUCH higher quality than typical dealership sales leads, and especially leads from third party lead vendors.

Imagine the potential for a technology that can ensure you are open around the clock to serve your customers. And let’s not forget your fixed operations departments. Human nature teaches us that people are more apt to perform a task when it involves someone ELSE doing the legwork – you know, like typing information into a form. Text messaging and embedded chat modules in websites like Skype, Yahoo, Gmail, and Hotmail programs have created a humongous block of computer users who are very comfortable carrying on an interactive chat conversation. Even without the massive potential to sell more cars, just one chat conversation that saves a CSI survey can be priceless.

Whether it is a potential sales prospect or existing customer who has a question for the service or parts department, offering live website chat can give your company a stronger competitive advantage.

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Leveraging your business intelligence is one of the key factors for your success, and one of the most crucial aspects in doing that is managing your dealer services. Gone are the days when dealership managers used to walk to their computers in order to check their ups for the day; while there may be a significant number, that certainly has eroded over time taking into account the internet era we live in.

Consumers would rather source their information online and close the deal and only have to walk in to take over ownership, than have to walk into your dealership to start the sales process from scratch. Nevertheless, consumers prefer shopping from the comfort of their home, which is a great way to buy with confidence. This massive transition has forced dealerships to change their business practices, which creates roadblocks rather than a straight line between you and the customer. Sure your internet strategies are exceptional, and your website is ravishing in design, but have they reached their potential?

The current dealer services you offer on your website are all information based, which is great in terms of ranking, but that is not what your business dwells on, is it? In order to make your website more than just informational is to have a live approach and is what most dealerships have achieved with dealership live chat. Chatting with customers in real time and around the clock is not only a great way to secure internet sales, but also ensures your showroom is open 24/7.

Live chat is your solution to connect instantly with your customers, and help them choose wisely from your selection. Chat software has been around for the past few years, but one reason why it has not been implemented by all dealerships is because staff deployment is either scarce or is a concern in terms of training and additional costs. For this reason, dealership chat companies are the perfect fit as they fill your virtual dealership with highly qualified trained professionals, and give you an opportunity to focus on other essential tasks.

Managed chat connects your website with your staff and allows anonymous shoppers to walk around your website as if they were in your physical lot, and have any questions they may have about your cars, parts and features answered on the fly. Imagine showing your customers a video of a vehicle while explaining all the features simultaneously. Connecting and keeping track of your website isn’t an easy task especially when it comes to old showroom customers. With live chat dealer services, you are able to implement a meet and greet system, which will put you on top of their shopping list.

Dealerships or any business for that matter can only spend so much until they see results, and what you’re getting without interactive chat dealer services is simply a fraction of your potential.

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