EDITOR’S NOTE: The following article was furnished by Paige Bouma, vice president of sales for RV Trader, an online marketplace for new and used RVs. A leader in both sales and product development management, Bouma has more than 14 years of experience in RV advertising media. Her passion for the industry, combined with her years of experience, allows her to aptly bridge both digital media and sales development. Her expertise includes roles leading in customer service, digital advertising, large-scale partnerships, and dealership consultation.
During uncertain times, we must rely heavily on a digital presence to capture consumer attention and convert them to a sale. Gone are the days where a consumer began their search process the moment they walked into your dealership. Now, consumers spend hours, days, weeks, and even months researching their next purchase. More than 75% of your potential customers are conducting internet research before generating a single lead and consulting over 24 different touchpoints on their path to purchase, it is more important than ever that your dealership remains top of mind throughout this process.
We’ve created this step-by-step guide to help your dealership attract online customers, engage with them, and ultimately successfully generate revenue.
Start at the zero moment of truth. This refers to the time when a consumer first opens up their device to begin the buying process. At this point, the consumer recognizes that they have a need or demand for your unit. Be sure to be as transparent as possible and provide all of the information a customer may need. Build value by anticipating the questions consumers have before they are asked. Your ultimate goal is to provide value and cultivate relationships through the messaging you use, the information you provide, and how responsive and timely you are.
Create listings that get you P.A.I.D. Your listings should provide all the information a consumer needs to make an informed decision. Be transparent and do not leave any questions on the table – these questions could lead consumers to look elsewhere.
To do this, remember the acronym P.A.I.D.
P: Include the exact price of your listings
A: Include keywords so your listings appear when people search,
I: Provide at least 25 images and don’t forget videos,
D: Use technical descriptions that paint a vivid picture of your unit
Drive engagement digitally. While shopping online, consumers may have a hard time committing since they aren’t physically at your dealership. Take advantage of online tools to help engage with your audience to create a more interactive experience. For example, instead of just using photos, provide walkaround videos of your units. Videos are more engaging and can help build rapport and trust. Then, spread the word by not only posting these videos with your listings, but also try sharing them on social media. Interact with your audience on social sites and ask them what units they would like to see or features they would like demonstrated. Just because you are online does not mean you cannot create the same personalized, unique experience that you would deliver at your dealership.
Be available. When driving a digital sale, cater to your audience and be available via chat, text, email and phone calls. Chat and text are becoming increasingly popular and in fact, 42% of customers prefer chat compared to just 23% for email. But you must be responsive and quick to reply. If a customer chats or texts you, they’re looking for an almost instant reply. If they email you, they’re looking for a response within a few hours. Timely communication is a vital part of making a digital sale.
Manage leads with care. The process doesn’t end when the consumer submits a lead. You must handle these leads with care, especially online. Ensure that you are responding to leads in a timely manner to keep their interest. Be professional and helpful. Always put the needs of your consumer before your sale by asking questions to find out as much information as possible as to why they are interested in said unit, if they will need financing, or do they have a trade-in they would like to discuss. This allows you to adjust to their needs and offer the right solution from the beginning.
WOW your customers. Think from the customer’s standpoint. They might be hesitant to purchase a unit that they can’t physically see and touch. Help them overcome this by providing enough information, pictures, and videos that make them feel as though they’re standing on your lot. Once they are ready to buy, offer delivery options for the unit to take away the need for them to leave their house. If they are just browsing, keep their attention when they leave your website or marketplace listings by retargeting them with ads of units they’re interested in to bring them back and stay top-of-mind.
Manage all leads in one place. Document all of the information you’re able to gather in your CRM so that it can be used for future sales. Just because you’re not physically in your store doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t be utilizing the tools provided by your CRM. Understanding where leads come from will help you better adjust your marketing strategy and further grow your digital sales.
Digital selling is here to stay and it’s important your dealership adapts to this environment. Keep this guide on hand so that, no matter what happens, your dealership will be set-up for continued success.