New Vision Sales Automobile Dealer Sales Training – Article Series
Responding to All Things Internet
The Internet can be your best friend or your worst enemy. To
effectively communicate and maintain strong relationships with
Internet customers, responses to inquiries must be immediate and
consistent and you must interact with customers on the latest
Web 2.0 Internet avenues.
When handling e-mail inquiries, the dealership’s initial e-mail
response should be made within five minutes. The e-mail needs to
include a call to action, reason(s) the customer should buy from
you, acknowledgment of the customer’s question, and
question(s)for the customer to generate activity and continue
dialogue. I suggest resisting the urge to use e-mail templates
as responses. I also suggest only using auto-responders after
hours. Also, all auto-responses must include a reasonable
expectation for live follow-up.
Customers who engage in the live chat portion of your Web site
expect an immediate answer. Dealers should strive to have their
average chat response time under 10 seconds. While it may seem
obvious, before responding, read what the customer said so you
can answer appropriately as opposed to using a canned response.
If a customer starts a chat with, “Hi. I’m looking at anew
Sequoia,” you don’t want to respond with, “Hi. This is Glynn
from ABC Motors. How may I assist you today?”
Instead, you want to develop a chat by saying something like,
“Ooh, nice choice! Hi, my name is Glynn, and yours is?”
Acknowledge what the customer said and share information with
them, so they will be more likely to share information with you.
It’s the law of reciprocation and you can use it to get valuable
When the Internet drives phone calls to your dealership, I
suggest and teach the “Four I’s”—Introduction, Interview,
Initiate and Insinuate. While it’s a much more in-depth process,
I’ll summarize the main points. In the introduction, it’s
important to make a good first impression and establish rapport.
During the interview, use the law of reciprocation to get the
customer’s contact information. In the “initiate” stage, begin
to close on the appointment by setting a time.
The “insinuate” stage includes confirmation of the appointment
and making sure the customer writes down all the important
information about their appointment.
If you’re going to get serious and invest in social networking,
you must have somebody committed to keep it up. With sites like
Facebook, MySpace, and especially Twitter, you’ve got to be
online almost nonstop (at least once an hour) to make updates,
“tweet” and respond to “friends,” “fans” and “followers.” When
it comes to sharing information on social media, dealers should
share all the sizzle they can—lifetime warranties, tires for
life, up to $7,500 cash back, links to take advantage of
“today’s special,” etc. Equally important to note is if your
employees use social media for your dealership, it should be
only as a representative of your dealership. Don’t allow
employees to post their position at your company on their
personal pages because any page with your dealership’s name on
it becomes a representative of your business. There can be some
pretty funky stuff on peoples’ personal pages that you don’t
want associated with your business.
Customer Review Sites
If you’re seeing negative customer reviews on other sites, I
absolutely suggest trying to contact these customers to fix the
problem and, hopefully, get the negative review taken down if
possible. When responding to a negative review, don’t over-
apologize on behalf of the dealership or anybody in particular.
Rather, become the person’s friend and create a solution.
However, I believe preventative medicine is the best, so I
suggest calling customers immediately after appointments, both
sold and unsold, to make sure their experience was a positive
one. You can usually put out the fire before a customer goes
online to post a negative review. In some cases, the customer
may just need a little validation about their purchase to help
avert any negative feelings they may have toward the dealership.
The Internet is a powerful tool. Used wisely, it will allow you
to significantly enhance your dealership’s image. Increased
business should follow. However, don’t think like a hammer so
that everything you see looks like a nail. The Internet should
remain a part of your overall marketing strategy. An important
part, yes, but only a part.
New Vision Sales Inc.
1670 Hwy 160 West Suite 206
Fort Mill, South Carolina 29708
Toll Free: 866-532-2827