It’s the most wonderful time of the year—well, almost. It’s also the beginning of the most hectic and daunting period of time: fourth quarter, when dealerships are focused on hitting the highest sales targets of the year.
The key to success during this challenging quarter? Advanced, detailed planning—using the right processes and technology.
Now is the perfect time for dealerships to begin evaluating their current sales model, setting goals for the holiday season, and considering alternative solutions, like behavior prediction.
Why consider behavior prediction solutions? Because they allow dealerships to accurately and quickly identify which customers are most likely to purchase, and the reasons why—crucial for holiday preparations.
There are three critical factors when it comes to dealership holiday preparation: leveraging behavior prediction, doing proactive marketing outreach, and focusing on closing the deal with an exceptional customer experience.
What is behavior prediction? It’s the science behind anticipating customers’ wants.
One excellent example of a company implementing this type of technology is Netflix. When consumers search for a movie or TV show to watch, a complex algorithm analyzes their actions and identifies which shows they’re most likely to watch, and when. It factors in activities that include previously viewed shows, My List (shows that have been flagged that the user wants to watch), ratings, and more.
Netflix uses these details to anticipate and promote shows before consumers even begin to look for solutions on their own. How the Grinch Stole Christmas likely won’t be served up as a potential movie to watch until the fall season has arrived, when Netflix will know it’s a customer’s favorite.
Similarly, it’s a dealership’s job to know its customers’ favorite vehicles—and when they need them.
This innovative technology can greatly benefit dealerships. It provides insight into who is ready to buy a new car and the reasons why, and enables dealers to create and deliver more focused, effective, and profitable selling efforts.
It does all this while helping sales teams engage their best prospects with personalized, microtargeted marketing offers and unique incentives and information—which brings me to my next tip.
Just as no two cars are alike, no two customers are alike. Once a dealership is armed with behavior prediction technology, it’s time to reach out using microtargeted marketing techniques.
This means all the data a dealership has—customers’ preferences regarding make, model, features, and leasing versus buying, in addition to car accident history, credit scores, banking information, and more—is used to offer a personalized deal to each customer.
This can be done in a variety of ways: print, email, etc. As the world becomes more digital, however, dealerships should too. Customers are already online researching the perfect vehicle to purchase (as their own holiday gift to themselves), so outreach should be done online too.
In fact, the top five activities conducted online by car shoppers include researching prices (71%), finding actual cars listed for sale (68%), comparing different models (64%), finding out what their current car is worth (63%), and locating a dealer or getting dealer info (46%). This is a lot of time online in the pre-purchase journey, so dealerships should be online and digital too.
With proper planning and behavior prediction technology, digital outreach surrounding the holidays can be planned far in advance.
Closing the deal with exceptional customer experience
Now that your dealership is armed with the proper data to offer hyper-focused deals to ideal customers, it’s time to look within the walls of the dealership.
Improving customer experiences at the dealership is what makes for a seamless close of sale. Remember, walking in remains the most common form of initial contact with a dealership according to more than half of car shoppers (per V12 Data), so excellent onsite customer experience is a must.
Closing the deal means the dealership should discuss the personalized offer with the customer prior to meeting in-person.
Techniques to close a deal effectively include asking the right questions to ensure the deal meets all the customer’s needs, listening closely to them, identifying any previous pain points, being transparent on financing, and more.
Although the holidays may feel far off, it’s important for dealerships to shift their focus to the holidays now, and improve their behavior prediction techniques, overall outreach and marketing, and customer experience so that their busy season will be seamless.
Andrew Rains is chief commercial officer at automotiveMastermind, the leading provider of behavior prediction technology and marketing automation technology for the automotive industry. automotiveMastermind, a business unit of IHS Markit, utilizes behavior prediction technology to significantly enhance dealer partners’ sales efforts. Through the implementation of automotiveMastermind solutions, dealerships can precisely target who is ready to buy, at exactly the right time, and create personalized marketing campaigns designed to increase consumer satisfaction. Learn more about how to get your dealership prepared for the holidays at www.automotivemastermind.com. Ask yourself, are you ready?
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