No one was prepared when Covid-19 hit. It wasn’t just that business dipped as people steered clear of open spaces. In less time than it took to make the decision, dealership traffic disappeared. Roads even grew so quiet that wildlife began to return.
The demand we saw going into March fizzled so much we had no prospects. And then, our people were forced to batten down the hatches themselves, unable to enter the dealership for any reason.
The comparison to the twilight zone was uncanny. Dealership after dealership grew quiet; no guests in the lobby, no sound of impact wrenches, nothing.
But, here’s the thing. There’s no question that people grew gun-shy. Who would be surprised? No one was working and there’s no crystal ball that could predict when it’ll end. Though our collective fear and depression drove us into hiding, there was still an underlying hope.
And that hope is being fed by a desire for a new norm. Many of those who were thinking of vacationing still have money in the bank. They’re getting an itch to try something new.
ARE YOU READY TO REACH OUT TO THOSE LEADS?
Sure, our dealerships are starting to reopen, but that doesn’t mean our teams are ready to return. Nor, does it mean, we’re nimble enough to get right back to it as though nothing happened. We can’t pretend that it’s over. But that shouldn’t stop us from doing the most important thing we should always be doing.
We should always be communicating. Even when the doors are closed. Why? Because someone else will if we don’t.
Brandon Smith of Steele Chevrolet believes in putting his best foot forward. The way to do that is to have their website always updated with relevant information that prospects want like market-based pricing on used inventory.
He goes on to say that the best way to get info to customers is to use the way they want. It may mean changing the way we communicate, but if the client wants to use text or social media, then we need to adapt and respond.
The president of the Kot Auto Group, John Kot has his organization doubling down on digital marketing to get their branding and offers out there. But more importantly, his teams are database mining. They already have a goldmine of prospects they’ve been serving throughout the years. It’s time they capitalize on those current customers.
HOW DO THEY DO IT?
Newsletters and constant communications.
You would think it would be more complicated in today’s climate, especially during a pandemic when the general feeling is that everyone is hiding. But it isn’t. The goal is simple. Tell people what you have for deals and offers.
Your clients are stuck at home looking to normalize their life and get out. By offering them a positive message, you’re giving them a lifeline.
Dan Liska, the director of sales at Mobials, mirrors that sentiment by saying we need to connect earlier. Generally speaking, dealerships aren’t doing anything wrong, but the outdated mentality that you only want people in the showroom that are already qualified is short-sighted.
Waiting for the pre-qualified expensive trade-ins costing you deals in 2020. With the average prospect only walking into one dealership these days, they’ve already shown their purchase intent by showing up.
Dan explains that “The cheese is moved with customers doing 90 percent online.” They want to establish trust, trade value, and what they can get for credit.
You do that by communicating.
As a parting tip, Brandon Smith offered one suggestion that packs a lot of content in a small package. The best way his dealership has found to communicate with their prospects is through video. With video, you can impart any information you want. You can show the features and benefits of the vehicles, how the operations work in your dealership, and even give a prospect a snippet of your team to establish that all-important trust.
What has your dealership done to keep communicating with your prospects? The sooner you get those lines open, the sooner normal will return to the dealership as well as your revenue streams.