Jennifer Suzuki

Digital Showroom Chats – DR Business Models

Chat is by far one of the most powerful tools on your site to engage and convert car buyers. Your sales team beats their head against the wall following up with crap internet leads and here you go! Finally, a live buyer who didn’t require 8 phone calls to finally make contact with. Your DR software will make chats even more powerful and I’ll share some ins and outs!

Your digital retailing opportunities will just continue to increase as it grows in dealer emphasis and car buyer interest. There are many ways these opportunities pop off! You will need a business model for each avenue such as chats. I noticed in dealerships that it boils down to your lead handling process and pricing philosophy. I will approach both aspects and offer different approaches you can take. When you have a known model for chats, then your team can work together to deliver timely and informational chats with buyers and these are two main goals to increasing conversions.

Let’s tackle your chat business model 😜

We have seen many variations but the one we see work best is human driven during business hours. Many dealerships have gone to an automated AI driven model and this sets you back on chat conversions for one main reason. Buyers want answers right now. As soon as they either do not get what they want or feel its automated, they are gone, forever. I watched this play go down over and over and it’s a deal killer, a barrier to selling cars.

The dealers we noticed succeeding the most off chat did these things: First, had a group text to BDC team or even all Managers and even both BDC and Managers at same time. What’s important to point out is that they are hyper focused on responding in seconds not minutes. The stores that had managers responding did the best at converting into sales. Having a BDC as a backup really is quite effective too since managers can all be group texted at the same time.

AI driven chat is ineffective for buyers who are ready to move forward of have deal pertinent questions right now. It’s frustrating for a buyer and why do you want to put buyers on ice for information when it’s basically available right now if they came into the showroom?

Let’s look at the second part to effective chats 🧐

It boils down to your willingness to serve up prices, payments, rates, terms trade values and all that. Basically, all DNA of a car deal. There are really a couple of approaches to consider. 

One approach to car deal DNA is just give it to the buyer at “hello.” The benefits of doing this include how the buyer perceives you. They will initially be caught off guard as other dealerships they pinged are not so willing to give it up at hello. You can easily be seen as a trusted and transparent source enabling buyer interest in buying from you! We experienced highly successful dealers using text and email to send buyer into the DR platform during the chat. Like texting them a link to the car deal.

The second approach is to play odds. You are willing to give it up but you don’t make it first response protocol. You play odds by feeling the buyer out through conversation and if and when they ask for a number, you seek to overcome and move forward or give it up.

Now of course there’s a third option which is so outdated I will speak to it only once….and that strategy is to only give them a price if they come into the showroom. 

So, we have two different strategies to work with. Whichever way you decide if best for your dealership, you still have to arm your frontline with a pricing strategy that gives the buyer exactly what they want and in the fastest way. There isn’t a whole lot of time left that buyers will tolerate withholding information for any period of time and that could literally be a threshold of 5-minutes on a call with you or 30-seconds on a chat. So, consider what’s at risk!

You have a buyer on your site right now who initiates communication via chat! Best lead all day IMO! But they will drop off at any second! This buyer is clearly on your site and your site has DR tools! In fact, you can help navigate the tools with them.

When you do this, your buyer will get exactly what they want and they will do one of two things:

  1. Tell you your price, payment or rate is too high (we expected that one!) or,
  2. Carry on with your process to set a meet up!

You really want to prevent the buyer from bouncing so by engaging them in convo that is most wanted, you are sure to get some buyer interest in you. What do you prefer in the showroom – I’m guessing a buyer who shows interest by asking questions about the price you gave them, or the payment and even the rate or It’s the same stich here?

You know you have interest and a legit lead when they ask questions

Dealers who do give prices on chats have told us that they get right down to business and this saves everyone time. It also displays a simple, easy, transparent and fast way of doing business – what your ads may be suggesting. When I asked Dealers doing this, I said aren’t you afraid they give them a number, they are never satisfied and they will bounce and not come back? Repeatedly, I have been told that they do come back because they simply do not get the same treatment of timeliness and transparency from other dealerships. They also have increased market share and conquests to their brand. Furthermore, they even clout being able to put a deal together in 5-minutes! So, there’s that – something to digest and think over with your team.

When you tackle these two aspects to your chat business model, you will be able to adapt quickly to a buyer’s requests and lead them into the best direction to gain a meet up! So first, determine how quickly you can respond to chats – they are buyers ready to engage right now! Then, determine your strategy to deliver deal pertinent information to chat buyers.

Now, you can covert faster and sell more cars!

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