Monthly Archives: November 2013

Are You Taking Full Advantage of Texting?

The majority of Dealerships that I have visited, who’s BDCs and/or Sales Departments legally use text messaging to engage with their potential customers and customers, experience huge returns when it comes to building one-on-one relationships quickly.  The value in text messaging may not be apparent immediately however the more quickly you respond to a customer, the better your chances of getting the customer to make an appointment with you.  If they receive a text from you before they get the email from your competitor you’ve already won half the battle to make the first appointment.  Texting can deliver more opportunities for you to sell when used properly.

Now it’s not a magic bullet or anything, it’s a means of communication similar to the phone or email, but these are all just tools to convey value and build relationships with the sole purpose of making appointments and getting rear ends in seats on your lot. A text message may not build a relationship but it can certainly break the ice and begin a dialog between you and the customer. It won’t give the customer great insight into your value or that of your stores but it can get your message to the customer quickly and give you a chance to prove your value.

A couple great benefits of Texting your customers include:

a)     The customer almost always reads your message

b)     Customers who respond to texts will respond to your text much more quickly than they would an email or phone message

It simply takes the millennial consumer far less time and effort to respond to a text than to place a phone call or compose and email.  Today’s millennials are accustomed to conducting most of their mobile communications via text.  It comes naturally to them and it’s far less invasive than a phone call.

It is key to ensure that you are using text in a legal way when contacting customers and replying to leads.  Take some time to educate yourself and your store if you are in management on the legal practices and up to date policies for contacting people via text as the laws are being updated constantly.  If you use a CRM tool they will hopefully have done all of this research for you and incorporated the mandatory opt in/out features within the texting module of the tool for you. The customer then has the option to opt out of or be removed from your texting list whenever they like.

Get creative with texting and incorporating it into your process. Perhaps giving a text reply option, to your website leads, as a “Fastest Response” option could expand your reach to web shoppers.  Alternatively, you can make certain to give every customer you come into contact with the option of opting in to your texting program for service or sale updates.  The goal is not to abuse texting with Marketing which will encourage opt outs, but to utilize it as a medium to replace email and phone calls when interacting with customers who prefer to communicate via text.

Are you using Texting at your store? If not, is there a reason why you haven’t incorporated it into your process along with phone calls and emails?

Celebrating 10 years of iMagicLab

Today iMagicLab celebrates Ten Years of serving our Amazing Dealer Partners.
Thank you for coming with us on a fantastic journey and allowing us to help you drive your business to Excellence!

5 Reasons why you may be Losing Sales to your Competitors

With the Holiday season upon us a quick review of your store’s practices should help to prepare you and your team for the rush of customers in the coming months. Here are a few things to consider while you get your team in gear.

1. First Impression:

How long does it take for the customer to be greeted? When I am shopping, even if I do not need assistance right away, it’s nice to be greeted and asked if I need help. We have to make sure we leave a lasting impression (a good one obviously) as this may be the only chance to sell this customer. Customers are more likely to buy from your store if they feel welcomed and adequately assisted by your staff. You want a delicate balance between 6 guys jumping them as they step foot out of their car onto the lot and letting the customers wander aimlessly around your lot checking window stickers and kicking tires on their own.

2. Follow Up:

After I choose a vehicle and I have my conversation with the sales rep I would expect some sort of follow up. An experience I had at a dealership when car shopping was a great example of poor follow up. The vehicle I wanted was not on the lot so I had to order it. It took about 3 months for the car to come in which was fine but I didn’t hear from my sales rep at all during that period. To top it off I knew the car was on the lot and I called the dealership before the rep called me. Needless to say I will not buy a car from them again. This is where a good follow up plan with CRM is strongly suggested along with proper training and guidance to ensure that each rep is utilizing the tool to it’s full potential.

3. Online Shopping:

The majority of people do some sort of research online prior to going to the dealership or even calling in. Making your site user friendly is more inviting and helps encourage internet shoppers to stay on your site longer and request information. When the customer requests information you want to reach out to them as soon as possible. Having a CRM should give you the ability to inform the rep when the lead arrives so they can respond quickly. The chances are high, that if they were looking at your site, they were shopping another dealer as well. Strike while the iron is hot and be the first to have quality follow up with each opportunity.

For more on follow ups for Internet Leads see “Youtube Videos alone will not sell you cars” for an excellent template for internet lead follow ups with Elise Kephart

4. After the Sale:

Fantastic job, you just sold a car, now what do you do? Everyone knows someone else. Whether it be family, friends and/or co-workers. Just because they bought one car from you does not mean they will send you referrals or even buy from you again. What are you doing to keep their business and gain their trust so they send you other people they know? Tying in my personal experience a dealership: I have yet to receive any sort of follow up from that same dealership that I mentioned earlier. If the start of the transaction goes badly, at the very least make sure to schedule a great follow up with your customer.

5. Service:

Is poor service in the service department costing you business? Believe it or not the service department can cost you sales business. Aside from how things go in the showroom you also want to take care of them in the service dept. The goal is to create a customer for life. This means quality from each department before during and after the sale. If a customer brings a car that was not purchased at your store in for a regular service you have the potential of flipping that customer to purchase their next vehicle from your store instead. Take advantage of that and ensure that your service team is on board and providing excellent customer service to each and every person.

What are some processes and departments that you are taking a closer look at this Holiday season? What would you like to improve on from the 2012 season?

E-Learning vs The Classroom

There’s an old saying, “You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t force it to drink” that applies well when training salesman to use CRM software. CRM software training requires a delicate balance. On the one hand, I try to convey that I’m not performing sales training. Rather I’m training around the benefits of using technology to stay more organized and create a consistent process that will drive more traffic to the store; which will translate into more opportunities to sell. On the other hand, there’s not a lot of apparent value to the learner during software training (e.g. Go here and press this button to do this) so it’s good to offer best practice methodologies and real world scenarios to show how efficient use of the CRM translates into more money. The classroom experience might be outdated, but it also allows for more engagement in the class, which translates into participation, which creates buy-in that will lead to more people using the software – the more people that use the software, the more people learn, the more people learn how to use it, the quicker the benefits of the CRM become apparent. As more companies switch to an E-learning platform however, the classroom experience might be a thing of the past. Let’s take a look at some of the pros and cons of E-learning vs. the classroom.

Classroom Pros:

1) More visually engaging

2) Hands on learning with immediate questions/answers

3) Context based learning and value reinforcement

Classroom Cons:

1) Not flexible

2) Not reviewable

3) For some, very little information is retained in the classroom setting

E-Learning Pros:

1) Convenient and flexible

2) Saves money

3) Ability to repeat curriculum or access resources

E-Learning Cons:

1) Requires more discipline

2) Not as interactive

3) Possible miss-communication or lack of context

Adults tend to learn in value based metrics – what is valuable is accepted and pursued, what is not typically considered valuable is ignored and rejected. The goal of a trainer is to reinforce the context to allow the end user to be more receptive to what is being taught. Learning anything takes time and repetition, but if someone is not interested or does not see the value, how can one expect to learn anything without dedicating the time? E-learning is useful for those already interested in pursuing the information that’s there, but is generally not as good at generating the motive or drive to pursue learning. From your experience, which learning style do you prefer? Would you rather learn online or in the classroom?