Fast response times drastically improve your odds of qualifying a lead and turning it into a happy buyer by as much as 164% compared with slow responses. But what is one of the most effective mediums for responding to customers quickly? Text messaging.
It’s easy to believe that almost 9 out of 10 people have their smartphones on hand at any moment. A Gallup Survey discovered that texting is the top choice for communication among customers under 50 years old, a segment that makes up half of all vehicle purchases. 82% of all text messages are read within 5 minutes, while overall, text messages have a whopping 98% open rate!
Any way you slice it, text messaging is the top choice for effective communication among millenials who are soon to become the largest car-buying demographic.
And while auto dealerships have already begun to embrace text messaging to handle customer interactions and sales leads, there’s plenty of room to grow and refine the practice.
Whether prime or non-prime leads, you can use the same text message tips and strategies to go from an inbound lead to sold and rolled...
5 reasons why text messaging is so powerful
With lead generation, converting an inquiry to a sale needs to happen quickly and carefully, all while being as unintrusive as possible. Since nearly everyone in the market for a car has a smartphone, sending messages back and forth has become the perfect choice. The advantages are numerous:
1. It allows for speedy responses
There's a lead in your inbox. With the prospect's contact details, you dial their number but nobody answers. An e-mail might fall into their spam or junk? What about a casual-yet-professionally-worded text message? They're bound to see a text message notification within minutes, and they can reply to texts on the go or wherever they happen to be.
2. It lets you work multiple leads simultaneously
Close rates improve when you’ve been working hard on incoming leads with texting. Still, we know that it’s not possible to convert every lead into a sale. Unlike traditional face-to-face selling, you can work more than one lead at a time with text messaging. That increases both the salesperson’s productivity as well as the dealership’s overall sales numbers.
3. It gives you time to find answers and solutions
It’s easy to be caught off-guard or ill-equipped to answer a customer’s question or rebut their objections when they’re seated across the desk from you. With text messaging, you have minutes to find the appropriate answer or formulate the right response.
4. The customer feels more comfortable
Out of their element and in someone else’s ‘house’, the dealership can be an anxious place for car shoppers. Selling through text messaging lets the customer stay somewhere they are comfortable and secure; where they feel more in control. You can still guide the direction of the conversation, but it will be without the guarded front that many in-person shoppers put up.
5. You can send images & file attachments
You can do so much more with text messages than you could a few years ago. Photos of vehicles, brochures, non-sensitive customer details, and more can be sent back and forth between business and customer.
How to optimize your SMS & MMS strategy
According to the Cox Automotive 2019 Car Buyer Journey Study, brick-and-mortar storefront shoppers feel that buying a car takes too long and the finance process is cumbersome. Text messaging can make those aggravations disappear, but it needs to be done right.
1. Prepare personalized templates
With all the prospects that you have on the go, text message templates are a good way to save time. Since they’re designed for mass consumption, your templates should be populated with the most effective language to build trust and communicate your solutions clearly. A timely, well-crafted template can stop a customer in their tracks and help guide the direction of the conversation.
Your template can (and should) be tweaked and personalized for the individual customer—even if it’s just their name—to avoid that spammy, “assembly line” feel.
Furthermore, text message templates can drastically cut down the time it takes to respond to a question or inquiry.
2. Use positive language
With in-person communication, your body language and facial cues convey your emotions non-verbally. Leaning forward and making eye contact give non-verbal cues that you’re listening intently and engaged while smiling and an open body position conveys positivity. You don’t have an opportunity to use those cues with text messaging, so your messages need to say the right things.
Using positive language like, “Fantastic!” and “Do you love it?” are crucial to guiding your interactions toward a sale.
3. Be the problem solver
Nearly every lead still has a hurdle to overcome before the deal is done whether it’s, “I don’t have a down payment,” or “I’m not sure I’m ready to buy today,” or even “I don’t think that car works for me.” You’ll need to find a way to overcome the objection. Always start by letting the customer know that you’re working for them.
“That’s no problem! Let’s see if I can get you approved for no money down.”
“I totally understand. Can I ask, if I can solve X for you, would you want to drive away today?”
“Mrs. Smith, I want you to be totally satisfied with the car you’re buying. I’ll find three other vehicle options that can work for your situation. Is that okay with you?”
Show the customer that no problem is too significant to overcome while you’re working for them.
4. Keep conversation flowing
Nothing kills a lead more effectively than a lack of communication. Long gaps between text message exchanges should be avoided, even when there’s nothing new to add.
“Mr. Jones, I’m just waiting for the lender to give me the terms of your approval. In the meantime, have you had a chance to review your vehicle options?”
If you commit to replying within a certain time frame – an hour, an afternoon, or a day or two – do it! Be true to your word and it will help build trust with the customer.
5. Stay familiar with the lead
When you’re coming back to a text thread, refresh yourself with the details. That’s especially true if you’re working more than one lead at a time. Since it’s all available in the previous messages, customers may be less forgiving if you get the details of their situation wrong.
Outsource your marketing efforts with Canada Drives
At Canada Drives, personalized SMS & MMS text messaging is just one of the many powerful tools we leverage to reach, engage, and convert customers. With our sales-savvy methods and digital know-how, we attract interested buyers across the country and deliver steady lead flow to hundreds of certified dealerships nationwide.
Contact us to learn how we can help you find more leads and close more sales.