Which is worse, ignorance or apathy? 

I don’t know and I don’t care. 

Sure, that’s a great punch line, but its not so funny when you realize that these are two main characteristics of the teams at odds in your dealership.  

As an automotive solutions provider, we enjoy the privilege of communicating with, and learning from car dealers every day.  We regularly hear the same story from defeated car dealers trying to implement and maintain an effective internet lead response process. Dealers would give their left arm for a rock star to handle internet leads but the Beatles have left the building, it seems.

Dealers share that they are struggling to find talented, motivated, success-hungry individuals to communicate with leads. They’ve all but thrown their hands up! Biggest objection from owners and GM’s? “I love it but I can’t get my team to use it.”

Now here comes the weirdest part – when we speak to the Internet Directors and BDC team members, we hear that they feel defeated by the lack of involvement from upper management. An entire generation of internet managers seems to subscribe to the Office Space-inspired modus operandi:  Work just hard enough to not get fired. Their most common objection to technology solutions is, “I love it, but my GM/Owner is old school and doesn’t understand.”

As a result of this disconnect between the generals and the troops on the ground, we’ve experienced the rise of the age of auto-repsonders. Back in my day, a dealer would send an auto-reply only when the store was closed. Now, its common for the first pass and a string of follow up emails to fire off independent of the dealer’s involvement.  What could be the harm?
 
I’m so glad you asked. 

The auto-replies do not contain ANY USEFUL INFORMATION for your shopper. None.  They serve the dealer by showing a rapid response time but in exchange, you’re training your customers to IGNORE your emails. No beuno. Your first response to a hot lead should include two very important pieces of information: Is the vehicle available and for how much money can they buy it.  Notice I did not say price. Price is a big abstract number that carries an assumption that there is room for negotiations. Rather, we need to show a value that’s easy to conceptualize and accept- the monthly payment. 

By serving an internet lead a quick reply with personalized payment presentations for loan and lease configurations, and BONUS, a true out-the-door price, you position your dealership as the best, most trustworthy, most open and honest option. 

Back to the issue at hand. How do we, as an industry, overcome this dilemma of ignorance (on the part of the old school thinkers in controlling positions at the stores) and apathy (the death of motivation and drive in the internet departments)? 

Easy access to information and continued education are two very good jumping off points. Some level of ongoing education should be a job requirement for dealership sales teams at every level. From the owner to the receptionist, everyone has access to online blogs and forums. Most OEM’s provide training which you can supplement with conferences, webinars, industry magazines, etc. There’s no excuse to let your automotive sales skills stagnate. Ignorance is not a good defense when there are mountains of research telling us the consumer has evolved while we’re still trying to “just get them in the door.”

Easy access to information is trickier, but not impossible. Once we’re all in agreement that auto-responders are a soggy band aid, we must then explore how to QUICKLY get a live response to internet leads which answer the two most pressing questions:  Is it available and for how much can I buy it? 

Lucky for you guys, we’ve solved it. 

With illumiQUOTE, your internet team can quickly send leads a robust, personalized, interactive payment presentation which will answer the most pressing questions AND catapult your store to the front of the line on their shopping list. It’s easy to use, so even Peter Gibbons could have no objection. And it increases the lead engagement rate, appointment set rate, and ….. IT SELLS MORE CARS. 

Check it out:  illumiQUOTE