Stop Buying More Leads…Start Texting
by Stan Sher
How many of you slowed down your advertising in recent times? I know that a few dealers went from spending $80-90k a month in advertising down to $50k and still continue to sell cars and break records. Other dealers are operating with a smaller sales staff and missing out on big opportunities to sell cars. Now, I do not need to discuss Covid-19 but we all know that it changed our business and our world. What has not stopped is people shopping for and researching about vehicles.
When we at Dealer Retention Services go through our dealership’s CRM systems we find a common pattern. Leads are being touched one to three times before they get abandoned. In my old days working more leads than I can handle I did the same thing and we called it “cherry picking”. Naturally when we work leads we will focus on the lowest hanging fruit and what responds to us. We as human beings do not physically have the time to work more than our fair share.
So how do we save our closing ratios from dropping? What can we do to turn lost opportunity into gross profit (more car deals)?
The old discussion of a 90-120 buying cycle still continues. It is amazing what can happen in 3-4 months. Someone that had a 530 credit score might be a 670 now. Someone that was upside down on the trade might have gotten rid of the vehicle. Whatever story or issue customers had might have been fixed or changed putting them in a position to get a new vehicle. Typically with so many leads and calls coming in we forget to go back and data mine.
Who has time to go back and call 3,000 leads from 3 months ago that probably have no interest anymore (our own assumption)?
Enter Text Message Marketing:
While this is meant to be informative and not a promotional sales pitch I want to outline some results of what a strategically structured text message campaign can do for a dealership.
We ran a text campaign for a single point Honda dealership on a Saturday to 3908 leads that were untouched or abandoned within 120 days. We generated a 7% response rate (274 people engaging and talking to us). A little over half of these people were no longer in the market (so we deactivated and marked them lost in the CRM to clean up data). We still had about 130 people to talk to in real time. We set 31 appointments.
We went back to the same exact list 2 weeks later after updating shows, sold and people not interested. We ran another campaign and again engaged over 100 people also resulting in cleaning up our leads and setting another 12 appointments.
Let’s look at fixed operations…
Let’s say you are a Toyota dealership that offers the first oil change free. There are 1,300 customers that purchased or leased a vehicle from your dealership. You can run a text campaign to remind them of their oil change so they do not lose it.
The point here is that it is an absolutely incredible how a properly structured text message can engage, re-engage and produce traffic way more effectively than making 100 calls per day. Add this process along with the phone call process and experience the difference. The BDC department needs to be strategic if they want to move the needle. We all have slow days. Imagine we can we take a slow Wednesday and create massive action through texting. Talk about increasing production, sales and gross profits.
But Stan…how can I text 4,000 people at once effectively? That is another discussion that I will gladly help you with. Contact me and I will share the secret sauce.