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8 Steps to Convert Dealership Website Chats to Leads

At ActivEngage we handle well over 100,000 chat conversations per month for automotive dealerships across the nation. Using this wealth of knowledge from our interactions with automotive shoppers, we have created an 8 step live chat conversation process for you to use and explore for your own dealership's needs. Nothing here is set in stone. It has become a fluid process for us and should be for you as well.

1. The Pre-Meet & Greet- is the critical first step in understanding your shoppers' needs. To determine what to say, examine a few critical items. First, what is the shopper's referring URL and what keywords did they use to get to your website, or, did they enter the web address directly? Second, is this a first time visitor or a repeat visitor and what has their click funnel been during each visit? Finally, has the visitor previously chatted with your dealership? If yes, you should review the chat.

2. The Meet & Greet- Your opening greeting sets the pace for the entire chat conversation. Despite the fact that you know a good deal about your shopper from your pre-investigation now is NOT the time to use it. You want to create a more open and inviting invitation to assist the shopper with their automotive purchase. We try to use a more customer centric opening such as "Welcome to ABC Toyota. I don't mean to interrupt your shopping experience on our site but I can assist you if you would like any specific questions answered." This type of opening gives you plenty of leeway to lead the conversation in any direction.

3. Control the Chat from the Start- Using a question based system to control the chat helps lead the shopper through a process, instead of letting the conversation unravel. Control is key for a successful online chat conversation since you don't have body language to interpret.

4. Product Introductions- Guiding your shopper to a specific vehicle, either new or pre-owned is an important piece of building rapport and creating a dynamic chat conversation. Leveraging pictures with vivid descriptions is great. At ActivEngage we also use video test drives that have a powerful effect on the shopping experience. Nothing is more engaging that chatting with a shopper while they are watching a one minute energy filled product demonstration of the vehicle they want.

5. Trade in Discovery- As you build rapport with your shopper, the next step is to continue the process by asking about the trade in. This is a great time to get to know your shopper a little better. We ask for this information a little later then in a normal dealership sales process because of our desire to build rapport upfront and create a dynamic chat conversation. Pushing for too much information up front causes shoppers to disengage from the conversation.

6. Financial Terms- You have landed your shopper on a vehicle, discussed their trade in, and now it is time to move your shoppers to a more detailed conversation. At this time, we try to discuss shopper expectations of the deal and also to understand what specific payments and down payments the shopper seeks during their automotive purchase. This part of the conversation is the fulcrum. If you are too vague, the shopper will disengage, but if you give up too much data you, have just given your shopper a ticket to shop other dealership deals. We monitor this part of the process very closely and really customize the conversation based on how the previous steps have developed.

7. Confirmation of Information- Taking the time to go back and verify the shopper's information and make sure this is the exact vehicle they want is an important point. Over 60% of shoppers never purchase the exact vehicle they submitted as a lead to the dealership. The entire premise of leveraging chat is to slow your shoppers down by giving them an extraordinary online shopping experience on your dealerships website and to move the conversation to the phone or in person.

8. The Appointment- Setting appointments during chats are met with mixed results. Not every shopper will want to set an appointment and some will say yes so you stop bothering them, with no intention of ever showing up for the appointment. We try to only set appointments if that is what the shoppers wants and suggests. Think of it as reverse psychology and try to draw the shopper to you instead of forcing it on them.

Remember the most important part of using chat as a communication tool for your dealership website is just that. Communicate and create a dynamic conversation which empowers your shopper to purchase from you. Trying to just get an appointment is not the answer; instead work to address your shoppers' needs and concerns while controlling the flow and movement of the conversation to an outcome. Your dealership's first impression is at stake with every chat conversation.

Todd Smith
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Tags: active, activengage, automotive, chat, dealer, dealership, engage, internet, live, marketing, More…software


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