In Social Media or Dealer Chat—Engage the Customer

Like most businesses, automobile dealerships have warmed to the concept of social media. Your dealership likely has a Facebook page, probably has a Twitter account, and some have already established a presence on Google+. While establishing these accounts is a great start, these actions do little good if you don’t actively engage with the consumer in a fashion which both builds rapport and trust.

 

A common mistake on both social media interaction and with dealer live chat is to try to sell a vehicle in the initial conversation. That may sound counter-intuitive—after all, you’re in the business to sell cars, right? But just like when a customer visits your location, there is a time and a place to close the deal. Admittedly, every situation is unique, but as a general rule, you need to build that rapport and take some time to understand the customer’s needs. Once that’s accomplished, you likely can move to a test drive, and the potential for a sale increases from there.

 

Yet we have seen more than a few eager dealers post or tweet statements like “We have over 40 new Nissans in stock—call me now!”, and then they wonder why they receive no response. There are a number of reasons why this tactic doesn’t work, but the main one is that they are posting a statement. While it may be a fact that the dealer has 40 Nissans in stock, making a statement doesn’t invite a response. The savvy dealer instead uses the information in a more engaging way, posting a question like, “Would your commute be better in a new Nissan? We have 40 in stock—what color would you like?”

 

Granted, not everyone is going to respond to that, but by asking a question you may get a response like “I wish I could afford a blue one.” Now you have an opening to speak to special deals or financing offers, or it could open a conversation about your pre-owned inventories. The key, of course is to get the conversation started.

 

Similarly in dealer chat scenarios, if a customer starts a chat conversation, it is wise to begin with some simple questions. Responding to the customer with something like “Hi, my name is Bill, what’s your name?” is a great way to begin. In the Robert Cialdini book, Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion, a key takeaway is that if you give somebody something, they are predisposed to give something back. If you give someone your name, as an example, you’re very likely to get a name back.

 

For more ideas and best practices, we encourage you to visit DealerChatTips.com, a chat educational site jointly developed by Dealer Marketing Magazine and Contact At Once!

 

Bill Sengstacken is director of marketing at dealer chat provider, Contact At Once! For more information, email bsengstacken@dealermark.com.

 

 

 

 

 

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