Professional Community for Car Dealers, Marketing, Advertising and Sales Leaders
I visit and review at least 100 automobile dealer’s website every day. It has become clear to me that every dealer is doing a variety of things to get customers to knock on their door, to engage with the dealer and give the dealer permission to make contact with the customer. Big red buttons that say “Apply Now!” Or pop ups offering “$100 off your purchase.” Or, the most annoying to me, the ever moving and eye following, Chat Box: “Knock, Knock, let us in please.”
Also in the mix is an offer to buy your car, or give a free appraisal, or whatever the next gimmick is in a long line of attempts to engage the customer and do it quickly. So how does yours work? How many of these do you have, or have you tried, on your site? Dealers spend a significant amount of money to get potential customers to their web site and then stumble with the engagement.
Although I do not claim to be a marketing genius, I have been a sales professional for many years -- since 1987. The profession has provided a modest income for my family, a comfortable living, and has put my children through private school and beyond. My experience and common sense have served me well and tell me that the simple answer, although not the only answer, is usually the best.
The Fuller Brush company used a very simple idea to get America to open its doors to their sales force and products; a free gift. It seems so simple and genius. In 1915 the company introduced “the door opening gift.” Their sales soared to $15 million and their sales team grew to 1,000 strong. This concept continues to be employed by many industries and companies today. Regardless if it is free cosmetics with your purchase, free shipping, or $10 off for purchasing today, it is a call to action. The customer is willing to open his door to you for that free gift.
The question is, what can you give a customer on a web page that is of value; something they need, or something they need to know; something that is important to them; something that helps them figure it out? Give them something very simple and easy to do, like opening a door. A door that says, you can buy a car from us!
I have been rebuilding my credit after a business my wife and I had for 12 years failed in the fall of 2008, forcing us to sell and eventually totally destroying my credit rating. However, we worked at it and eventually it improved. Not long ago I needed to borrow some money. I needed a major repair done to my home and I needed a loan. I was concerned about shopping for the loan, I had worked hard to get my credit rating back and did not want to damage it again. Fortunately, I stumbled across a site that leveraged the words, “Get Pre Approved with no impact on your score.” The next day I had my money and the house got repaired.
So, how does this apply to the automobile industry? The ability to prescreen or pre-qualify a customer instantly on your web site and leveraging the phrase, “No Impact on Your Score,” is simple and genius. On a review of dealers using this concept in the automotive industry, I discovered that they are now engaging as many as three times the number of customers, compared to their previous programming.
Those dealers that are willing to put it up front, and as large as life, are seeing tremendous increases in the number of customers knocking on their internet door. Some dealers are capturing 200 plus customers every month. And, one dealer I talked to had averaged a staggering 500 applications per month over the 2nd half or 2015. The phrase works very well for these dealerships.
What is the gift that these dealers are giving their customers to open the door? For those customers that truly do not know how they stack up, they give them peace of mind; the knowledge that they will qualify for that vehicle they saw on that dealer’s site. Before these customers enter the world of car buying, they know it can happen. For those customers that know their credit score, these dealers give them knowledge and comfort knowing they can trust the dealer and that the dealer has great rates. The phrase “No Impact on Your Credit Score,” opens the door to these customer’s homes for you to step inside and make their dream of owning a new car your reality as well.
This simple principle stands up to the test of time, after all that is the nature of principles. Giving a customer something for opening your door is simple, time tested and very effective. So give the visitors to your web page what they want and do it the way they want it done; without impacting their credit score. They will reward you by knocking on your dealership’s web door much more often.