6 Tips & Techniques To Succeed in Car Sales in the Digital Age

August 13th, 2018

The process of selling cars used to be a well-oiled machine, a codified artform – you put your ads in radio and print, you put up a big sign outside your lot, and you chatted face-to-face with the customers who strolled up to your dealership. Charisma, a friendly demeanor, and an environment that felt safe and welcoming was all anyone needed to make a sale. But things have changed. We've gone from analog to digital, and social interaction is dwindling due to the power of quick correspondence. The price point (and every other detail) of every comparable car within 1,500 miles is at the customer’s fingertips, so a low price can’t even guarantee a sale.
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Plus, who wants to engage in a race to the bottom when it comes to price? Nobody, not even customers, are helped by that. Like all industries in these transitional times, car sales in the 21st century requires an agile, plugged-in mind to see the opportunities hidden in these challenges. Consider this list your free, quick, and lightweight seminar on car selling techniques training in the new era.  

1 - Get His or Her Name and Remember It

Don’t stress so much about making sure customers remember your name – instead, focus your attention on them and their name. Learn it and use it in a natural way like you would with a fried of yours in casual conversation. No one in the digital age wants to feel like random prospect #6. There’s a reason people post pictures of every meal they eat on social media. We all want to be a brand, a personality, and a platform.  But all of that is, on a deeper level, a manifestation of our deep, human need for significance and connection. Knowing your prospects and customers by name and using it in emails, phone calls, video messages, and in person makes them feel like they matter. Most of all, it shows them you’re interested in a relationship with them. So, toss away the formal “Dear Mr. Gonzalez” in your email and start with “Hey John” instead. When you’re on the phone, use their name like you would a friend, but not too casual. Everyone loves the sound of their own name, and it engages trust and puts a pleasant memory of you in their mind. One of the best ways to make yourself unforgettable is to deliver some of your communication face-to-face using video. Whether you’re just answering a question through email, or following up on an in-person meeting, sending a quick video can make all the difference in the world in how much you actually connect with that person. You'll also save time by just speaking your message instead of trying multiple times to craft the perfect email copy. Studies show that over half of the people that receive a typed out email misinterpret the message. On top of that, the same study shows we overestimate our ability to properly convey emotion and tone in the emails we write and send. You'll also eliminate the back and forth that happens when they don't understand the message the first time. Have you ever felt like you could have avoided going back and forth for a few days over email if you could have just delivered the message face-to-face? It happens to everyone, and causes a ton of time to be wasted. Video eliminates all that confusion. And if you're sending videos, you'll always stand out from the rest of the competition that, 99% of the time, are just sending typed-out text emails that blend in with the rest of the inbox noise. And the more they see your face, the more they know, like and trust you. In the end, they're buying from you, not your dealership. And you need to stand out from the other salespeople who are also pursuing them, right? Now up until this point, video has not been a one-to-one communication medium because of the time, expense, and the know-how needed to use it in such a way. There hasn't been a way to record and send a video quickly and seamlessly without a significant investment of money, resources, and equipment. That's where BombBomb comes in and eliminates all of that headache and expense. With BombBomb, you can record a video right from any device, and send it through email, text message, or social media all within a few clicks or touches. It gives you the ability to get face-to-face at scale and be there in person to deliver your message no matter the distance between you. And you can do it without the trouble of uploading, editing, hosting, attaching, or embedding anything. Just record, send, and connect on a human level with the people that matter most to your business. Then get live alerts as people interact, so you can follow up with the right people at the right time.  

2 - Study, Study, Study

Because everyone is walking around with a phone in their pocket that pulls magical answers from space, customers are more educated and equipped than ever before. As sales professionals, we all know this is classic “iceberg” fallacy – when you know a little, you think you know a lot, and when you know a lot you realize how little you really know. A customer sees the tip of their knowledge iceberg and thinks they have the whole picture. But still...
  • They have access to the same stock you do on any car they're interested in across the whole country.
  • They have access to the same Carfax and other reports you do right from their phone.
  • They probably have also already initiated at least one or a few conversations with other dealerships and sales professionals through email or some other digital communication medium before talking to you.
The edge the car dealer and sales professional used to have (information asymmetry) is gone. And you have to adapt and find a way to stand out despite this new level playing field and a much better equipped customer. It’s going to be on you and your employees or colleagues to be on top of your game in a way you’ve never had to be before. Sure, knowledge was always power, but now they have the same access to that knowledge that you have, or at least it seems that way to them. You’re going to need to answer every question that they throw at you at near-Google speeds. Don’t contradict your customers – no one likes to be corrected – but instead, you’ll want to gently steer them toward the truth. If your customer read on an auto blog that tires filled with helium are actually safer for the polar bears, you’re going to have to explain to them why that doesn’t work without coming off dismissive. One of the biggest reasons that sales professionals repel prospects rather than draw them in is a lack of understanding and confidence in product and industry knowledge. If you know the technical details, you can receive their question or comment and respond to it instead of reacting to it. You can draw them in instead of pushing them away. And, you can educate them on what they really need without fumbling for answers. You have to know what you're talking about, and you also have to know what questions and comments are coming your way from the prospect, or you'll end up with egg on your face and no sale. So study up, and prepare yourself. You'll be thankful you did.  

3 - Consider a New "Play" on the Old Email Newsletter

Circulars are as old as the hills – or at least as old as the printing press – and the modern newsletter is pretty much the same thing. Sure, they’re more convenient to both send and receive, and sure the pictures are in color and link right to your services, but newsletters aren't exciting to your prospects and customers. They view them as more noise in an already noisy inbox they don't have time to sift through to begin with. What do you do with most newsletters you receive?  Trash them, right? Me too! But all hope isn't lost. The digital revolution sword cuts both ways – you now have tools at your disposal that would have been considered science fiction just a few short years ago. Have you considered sending a video newsletter to your mailing list? Well... we have the data to back up that you should! We did a survey of our customers and found that 81% of repondents got more replies and respones to the emails they sent with video in them; one in six of them doubled or more than doubled their reply rate. 87% got more clicks through their emails; more than one in four doubled or more than doubled their click rate. Video is the only form of digital communication that can help you really connect on a human level like no other. And now, you can quickly, easily, and scalably send video newsletters in a couple clicks with none of the headache. Think about this...you’re at your best when you're face-to-face ... right there in person, right? Well now you can be there in person delivering your message to your entire email list. If you’re a likable sales consultant with a winning smile and a warm demeanor that truly helps who you serve - and I know you are - you’re losing almost all of that mojo in a plain typed-out text newsletter. Your tone won't come through the way you want. Your message won't be received the way you meant to communicate it. Your personality won't shine through like it could. And you have a very small chance, if any, of making a human connection with any of those people. In a typical newsletter, everything rides on your ability to craft the right email copy, and that's really difficult to do. We just weren't built to communicate that way. There’s even a study that backs this up. The study showed that not only do we misinterpret the tone of more than half of the emails we read, but we also misjudge our own ability to convey tone in the emails we craft ourselves. This applies to newsletters as well. Video in your newsletter eliminates all of this confusion and misinterpretation and puts you back in your communication in the most impactful way possible - face-to-face.   Think about if you could record a video quickly and at scale and send it as a newsletter to your entire email list within a minute or two of having an idea. video reply, lead inquiry, prospect inquiry, sales inquiry, sales tip, video for sales, BombBomb Imagine you could just pull out your phone, hit record, say your message, and hit send without ever typing one word? And...It's just as easy to send to 1,000 people or 1 person with BombBomb. Let me ask you this... Have you ever gotten an email with a video in it? Like this one below? If you have, I bet you clicked it didn’t you? A video is far more likely to be opened and engaged-with than a pile of markety-salesy email copy. And if you’re the kind of sales professional who thrives face-to-face, you get yet another opportunity to really connect with your potential prospects or customers. Try doing that with a plain old black and white newsletter. BombBomb provides video email services right from the tools you already use – Gmail, Outlook, SalesForce, Android, Iphone and Ipad, the whole shebang. Plus, BombBomb lets you track every email or newsletter and video you send to keep an eye on when they open your email and watch your video. You can even save entire emails, video and all as a snippet or canned response to be used over and over again.

4 - Who’s in Charge of Your Online Marketing?

Many dealers spread the digital duties out across the line, trying not to bog anyone down too much; however, these days digital marketing can be a full-time job, if you let it. And you should. Now, hiring a new employee can be expensive, but consider a social media intern as your head of digital marketing. Or, if there’s a tech-savvy current employee with light duties, consider promoting her or him to the digital guru. The key is, online marketing for any business requires a coherent strategy – if you’re going for “cheeky and funny,” all of your messaging needs to align with that. Whether you’re serious and professional, or informal and light, you need to keep that consistent to build your brand. A head of digital marketing at your dealership can maintain a relationship with your potential client base. You’d be surprised what a few funny tweets that go viral can do for your brand. Something like 93% of businesses actively use social media these days, so don’t let the cars in your lot pay the price for a lack of internet presence. Instead, put the digital world in the hands of a capable person you trust and let them have a little fun. You’d be surprised by the dividends.  

5 - Patience is a Virtue

Of course, patience has always been an important factor in the sales process. Customers can smell desperation. They don’t like to be pushed either. Many people feel intimidated, claustrophobic, and maybe even scared when they enter into a dealership where they know someone is going to try and sell them something. And yet, they want to buy!  They just don't want to be sold. A customer who walks out of your dealership hasn’t necessarily reached the end of their path with your business. When someone comes to see a car in person, that could be the most recent of a myriad of steps in a long chain of interactions that make up their purchasing process. These days, people do most of their working and communication through email. And approximately 50% (Litmus) of emails are opened on mobile platforms. Photo credit: Litmus In short...people are living and breathing by the inbox everywhere they are. What does this mean for you? It means you need to make sure anyone who comes through your dealership gives you their email address if you can at all help it. The fortune is in the follow up and that follow up take place through email. It's the one platform everyone uses and most of us use it every single day. With quality, value-based follow up, you’d be surprised how many responses you’ll get. Negitiation also happens over email now, as I'm sure you've noticed. This is another reason why you need to incorporate video into your email and sales process.  Face-to-face wins in a world of inbox noise and broken communication.  The more you can cut out the misinterpretation and build relationship with every email, the more likely you are to get the deal. So be patient. Customers are more cautious, more obsessed with research, and more prone to take their time with big purchases. Stay friendly, stay cool, and stay patient.  

6 - Do You Know What Your Customer Wants?

Many customers have a car in mind - one they’ve seen and methodically researched. Unfortunately, that can give them a sort of tunnel vision that can be difficult to get past. However, if you ask your customer what kind of features and feelings they’re going for, you can tailor your sales pitch to them. If they want one model of car that looks good and goes really fast, you can offer them similar options and thus provide a wider selection. Open questions are key, here. Don’t ask “so you like fast cars?” A yes or no question can be brushed off without trouble. Instead, try, “if money weren’t a factor, what would be your absolute dream car?” Then, you can gauge how they respond. Do they mention a Lambo? They want something sleek and cool and impressive, and you can guide them that way. A vintage Aston Martin? They want to feel suave and worldly. The Batmobile? They want something in black. Open questions also promote conversation, scaring away some of that initial awkward spectre that frequently haunts conversations with car salesmen. They also allow the prospect to open up on a personal level and share something about themselves to you which creates connection and trust. The most important thing to remember - Human connection is your differentiator. In this wild west environment of self-promotion, unparalleled communication technology, unbridled access to knowledge, and everyone fighting for the same car buyer with the same toolbox, you are your single best sales asset. People are inundated with information and ads and opportunities. Your potential customers are trained to completely ignore rote advertisements and newsletters of old so remember one thing as you use the tips and techniques above. People still want to buy from someone they know, like, and trust. They still want to have someone there to answer their questions and help them sort out their hesitations and insecurities with the product and the process before making a purchase. They want to buy more than ever before, but they don’t want to be sold. It’s all about relationship. And the relationship is the basis for referrals, postive reviews, and more relationships. It’s up to you to build that trust and a relationship where they feel comfortable buying with you as their guide. Remember that need for genuine human connection in everything you do. All your communications. And all your interactions. Good luck, and happy hunting.  

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Aaron Colby | About The Author