by Tony della Busa, CEO, Truckmore
As a progressive dealer, ask yourself what your biggest accomplishments have been over the past few years. Have your dealership sales and service strategies given you a competitive advantage? What is your competitive advantage compared to other dealerships? Ask yourself how technology plays a role in facilitating what you do well, and how you can leverage those advantages even further.
In this article, Truckmore interviews a variety of dealership customers and shares their dealership sales and service strategies, insights and proven best practices on how they use mobile technology to foster what they do well, and how they leverage those advantages to be more competitive, win new business, and strengthen service retention.
Digital Retailing Drives Sales
Amazon is disrupting all facets of retail. Trucking is no different. Dealerships can capitalize on this online trend and meet consumer expectations by transitioning to an online retail experience that allows potential buyers to view inventory online and complete the majority of the sale from the comfort of their mobile device.
Mike Linder, Marketing Director, Ohio Truck Group maintains, “Our mobile dealer app has boosted our online inventory views by over 200,000 over the past twelve months which has helped us to exceed our monthly sales targets and drive more sales growth. Over 75% of buyers that visit our lots already have the app downloaded. Our dealership sales and service strategies include using a variety of captivating push notifications. Each time I launch a push notification promoting a new listing, our sales call volumes increase three fold.”
Your Mobile Customers Want to be Connected to You
First, understanding the unique nature of consumer’s mobile behavior is essential to achieving a competitive advantage. Whether they’re a customer or potential buyer, consumers rely on and interact with their smartphones much more devotedly and frequently than they do with any other tools today.
As Kelsey Bilyk, Marketing Director at Lacombe Group puts it, “The behavior of a mobile app user vs. a non-user is key to our ROI. Non-mobile users will simply go to our website to access relevant dealer information. While they prefer a passive experience through their laptops, the challenge for our dealership is that we lose that one-to-one connection once they leave our website. We can miss opportunities without really knowing they were even there until we review our website analytics later on (by then it’s too late). Mobile app users, on the other hand, are much more interactive through their smartphones. Buying a vehicle from us will typically be the first or second largest investment our customers will make in their lifetime. That said, customers want to be connected to our dealership; they prefer the convenience of scheduling a service from our mobile app; they appreciate the peace of mind that they get with one-touch call roadside assistance; they are keen to receive updates on our mobile offers, community events and special promotions. Our mobile app users engage with our business more frequently; and they are more likely to be advocates and share with their friends, family, and colleagues. This unique connection, usage and social sharing behavior is essential to growing our business and keeping our customers loyal to us.”
Service Means Providing Exceptional Value
For modern, forward-thinking dealerships, courtesy, honesty, friendliness, professionalism, punctuality and reliability are a few of the qualities that define exceptional value. Extending this value along with the vehicles’ service history into the digital realm delivers incremental value to customers and keeps them coming back.
Richard Davies, Vice President of Midland Group goes on to say, “Delivering a VIP experience is our unrelenting commitment to our customers. Our dealership sales and service strategies include using mobile technology to help serve our customers better. We’re delivering engaging experiences by enabling our customers to directly schedule a service from their smartphone, as well as, improving our customers’ ownership experience by giving them access to their service history..”
Customer Analytics Help Buyers Buy
Dealerships can use analytics to measure performance and make decisions that will help maximize sales and profit margins. Analytics uses information about your customers to proactively engage them at the right time and give them what they need even before they come looking for it. With the right customer data insights, dealerships can gain a competitive advantage and deliver highly personalized experiences to maximize the potential of every opportunity.
Michael Mills, General Manager, Champion says, “Our dealership sales and service strategies include using mobile analytics to give us a better understanding of our customers’ mobile behavior. We have more insight into who is downloading our app, how often they use it, how many mobile offers and loyalty rewards are being redeemed, how many referrals are being shared, which prospects are visiting our competitors, just to name a few. What’s more, our marketing team is more effective in sending targeted mobile notifications and offers that are relevant to our customers’ buying cycle. For example, we can search for customers that have a high probability that they are in the market for a new vehicle and proactively invite them to RSVP to a special event. This level of personalization helps us sell more cars and improve loyalty to our dealership.”
Grow with the Influence of Online Reputation
You have happy customers and you are now getting more referrals and repeat business. The next step is to spread the word of your positive brand reputation through online reviews. According to Cars.com, 80% of shoppers will use review sites when selecting a dealership. Unfortunately, reaching out to customers and asking for reviews on popular review websites is not generally practiced by all dealerships. This gives an edge to those dealerships that are paying attention to their reputation online as part of their dealership sales and service strategies.
Tim Roberts, Principal, Mid County says, “Our online reputation is one of the strongest marketing tactics to build a pipeline for leads. A great reputation sends a powerful message that our dealership has the confidence and trust of our customers. While we use a variety of mechanisms to request a review, our mobile dealer app is very effective to our growth strategy. It enables us to send targeted notifications to our customers’ smartphones requesting them to leave an online review. In addition to sending a compelling alert to their smartphone, we’re able to prompt them with a call-to-action which automatically directs them to the appropriate review site where they are more likely to leave a review.”
Leverage Geofencing to Be More Competitive
According to Google, 71% of a shopper’s interactions take place on a mobile device, making geo-fencing one of the most highly effective lead generation strategies in the automotive industry. Geo-fencing enables dealerships to set up a virtual perimeter around their dealership location as well as competitor lots. When customers and potential buyers pass through the perimeter, they trigger a timely and personalized message alert to their smartphone enticing them with an effective call-to-action to visit your dealership, provide them with better options, and win the sale.
Andrew Auger, Marketing Manager at North Bay says, “We use a variety of dealership sales and service strategies to engage customers and prospects. We use geo-fencing to increase our visibility. We geo-fence our competitors’ dealerships and send timely and personalized incentives to active buyers who are currently shopping on their lots. We can promote new inventory, captivating offers, and special events such as a Black Friday Sale. We also geo-fence our own dealership to improve service retention with existing customers as they drive by. In addition, we use geo-fence to target major events with large groups of people who may be potential buyers, such as a local parade, local fair, and annual truck show. It helps us drive additional foot traffic to our showrooms in an efficient and cost-effective manner. This in conjunction with our detailed analytics, we know exactly when a potential buyer visits our competitors and have the opportunity to reach out to them in a timely manner before they purchase from another dealership. Sending the right message at the right time helps us to convert more potential buyers to customers and keep them loyal to our dealership.”
About Truckmore – Dealership Sales and Service Strategies
Truckmore helps truck groups and dealerships to sell and service more trucks. With the power of mobile apps and geofencing solutions, Truckmore enables dealerships to generate more leads, sell more trucks, increase monthly service appointments, and drive storewide profitability. www.truckmore.com