We’ve seen lot of complaints about car shoppers these days. They’re more fickle, picky, and demanding. They want more for less and they want it faster. We get it. The Age of the Consumer had brought sudden change to an industry that has been largely uninterrupted in terms of sales technique and dealership culture. Automotive BDC departments are struggling as old tactics become ineffective, or worse, harmful.
Now, there’s a lot of debate about what automotive BDC should do. Some people feel that is is purely a call center, while others consider it basically a third sales team – separate from floor sales or internet sales. We aren’t here to try and settle the debate. Regardless of what your automotive BDC currently does, here are five great ways to get more leads into their hands.
Lean On Your Website
Make your dealership website work hard for you by making it the best possible experience for your customers. The majority of customers never contact the dealership before they visit, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t checking you out. Over 72% of consumers will look at your dealership online prior to stepping foot in the dealership.
With 72% of customers looking at your online presence, you have a major opportunity to leverage your website into a phenomenal shopping tool. This doesn’t mean you should pile your website with lead-gen tools like pop-ups. Your website should be a tool to help shoppers buy from you, not necessarily a machine to sell cars for you. Your website needs to function as a near seamless extension of your dealership – with all the personality, trustworthiness, and professionalism that comes with that. Optimizing your website for better customer experience means better SEO, more traffic, longer time on page, more page views per visitor, and consequently, more leads.
A call to action is a powerful thing, and people can seriously underestimate the power of wording. If leads are coming in slowly online and your automotive BDC is in need of some fuel, consider optimizing your website CTAs.
A good CTA is:
- Engaging: The copy of your CTA should always be low or medium pressure copy that compels a click, rather than demands them. Your shoppers should never feel bullied.
- Short: CTA copy should be no more than five words, at a maximum. The longer your CTA copy, the less easily read and the more ignored it will get. “Shop Now” is good, and even something longer like “Shop New Vehicles Now” is still good, and actually helps with clarity. “Shop Some of Our New Vehicles But Not All of Them Because We Just Got Some New Ones and They Aren’t In The System Yet” is just too long. This might be a bit of a hyperbolic example, but the point stands.
- Energizing: Your CTA’s should begin with verbs. Action words, like we called them in elementary school. Action-words get people thinking in terms of taking that action, which leads to better CTA CTR.
- Clear: CTA copy should fit what the action actually is. That sounds like it should be obvious, but being clear with your CTAs about what is happening is a good way to ensure better CX in your CTAs.
Once you’ve gone through and seen where there is room for improvement, you can formulate new CTAs and test them against your old ones, and the most successful and effective can be implemented. Your automotive BDC will thank you for the new influx of leads, and unlike some other tricks, CTA optimization improves your website forever. You can optimize again in the future to make sure you are getting the best out of your CTAs, but you can be happy in the knowledge that the leads generated from CTA optimization will keep coming to your automotive BDC month after month.
Shoppers go online for information. They want to learn as much as possible about their next purchase before they make it. Dealers can either resist that, or they can become partners in education and provide shoppers with useful information. Creating and distributing content is a great way to funnel leads to your automotive BDC. Your content should be useful, practical, advice and information that relevant to your shoppers.
Your content can come in many forms, from blogs to social media posts to videos. Anywhere that people are looking for information to help them on their car shopping journey is a location in which you may be able to develop content and a relationship with the customer.
In your content, although sparingly and only when appropriate, you can place your phone number, contact information, or even a small “got questions” box that will allow the customer to contact you with any questions they might have. Keeping the sell-language out of your content copy helps keep the conversation low-stakes, and makes shoppers feel more comfortable. In turn, your automotive BDC staff should read your content and be ready to help shoppers who want to contact you for more information.
Fully Utilize Your CRM
In 2016, CRM management was the #2 priority for dealerships, after Improving Sales Funnel Efficiency, and yet, the same year, the biggest problem that dealerships had with their CRM was under-use. It isn’t shocking. A CRM has hundreds of uses, and it can get easy to be bogged down in the complexities. But facing those issues can mean driving solid leads to your automotive BDC. Data from your CRM can let you know a shopper’s behavior online. Without being creepy, you can use this information to help develop a better relationship with the customer. If a shopper is showing interest in deals, used cars, and inexpensive vehicles, you can reasonably assume that one of their major motivations is price. With this in mind, you can tailor your messaging when you reach out to them.
Be Green With Your Leads
Lots of leads go to waste, and that’s a real shame. Thankfully, a good automotive BDC can take these potentially wasted leads and turn them into productive sales and loyal customers. Sometimes it’s a matter of taking on neglected leads. Other departments can’t keep up or abandoned them for one reason or another – take their scraps and work hard on them a little longer – sometimes all you need to do is keep a relationship going for a little longer.
According to Automotive News, dealerships close about 5-8% of their internet leads generated from manufacturer, third parties, and their own website. By comparison, dealerships generally close around 20% of walk-in customers. That makes sense, customers online may be less ready to buy than customers who walk in to the dealership, but that doesn’t mean their information is useless. Automotive BDC calls or emails can help nurture leads that sales wouldn’t have the time for.
Other means of funneling leads to your automotive BDC include getting assists. Complete the follow up on customers that have not yet engaged beyond the first lead for the ISM’s, which helps increase the ISM’s efficiency. Assisting your ISM’s allow automotive BDC staff to help bring in better-qualified and warmed-up leads that turn into sales.
You can also let the automotive BDC take on the role of service advisors, who are often busy with customers in front of them while the phone rings. With your automotive BDC staff on the phone, scheduling appointments, upselling where appropriate, letting customers know when their car is ready, and courtesy car dispatch, you can give the calls to the people who are experts in handling customer relationships over the phone – discussing their lives, needs, and plans, hopefully some of which can involve your dealership.