By Ron Morrison, CEO, Pureinfluencer
Think that having a website with a digital retailing tool means that your dealership does “digital selling?” Think again.
First of all, there’s a vast difference between the two concepts. They’re not the same thing, but they do complement each other. Utilizing digital selling techniques will make your digital retailing platform more effective and more profitable, yes. But Digital Selling also makes your sales teams more effective and more profitable.
Let’s overview digital retailing before we get into why you need digital selling today. Digital retailing is a solution that, in theory, drives more online transactions to start the purchase or lease of a vehicle. The goal is to take the shopper from browsing, to trade appraisal, to financing, and even contracting all from the comfort of their home. Many of the digital retailing platforms are certainly helping stores across the country get closer to that reality.
Notice, however, the absence of a key component of your dealership: your sales staff! Namely, sales managers and salespeople, which I’m sure you know are your dealerships’ biggest differentiator. Digital retailing by design requires little to no human interaction during the process and therefore, the more pervasive digital retailing becomes at your dealership, the fewer salespeople are required. Digital retailing happens AFTER a shopper has decided on a specific vehicle, not before.
That’s exactly where digital selling comes in.
Let’s consider a question from a real-world reality – one that quite possibly might be all too familiar at your dealership (hopefully not).
Here it is: You’re the GM at your dealership. You’re looking out of your office window and you see a shopper walking around a vehicle on the lot. Checking it out, peering in the windows, studying the window sticker. You also see that there’s no salesperson with that shopper, no salesperson even out on the lot near the shopper. WHAT WOULD YOU DO?
You’d call down to the desk and have a sales manager get a member of the sales team out there to help that shopper. Of course, you’d do that! You know how vital, how important “upping” that shopper is when they’re actively interested in a unit in your inventory. It’s a no-brainer.
Now, consider this: that scenario most likely has happened one or two times on your virtual lot – your website. Those precious VDP views that you spend a ton of time and money getting people to visit. Shoppers are there, checking out vehicles while you’re reading this blog.
No salesperson offered to help them. No one knew about the opportunity. You only know about it – maybe – later in analytics as a “visit.” With digital selling, you as a GM can help the sales team close the gap in lost opportunities, create new opportunities and engage in real conversations with customers.
Sure, you have a chat widget that the shopper can use if they have questions. But let me ask: have you ever engaged with your chat widget? Does that chat widget sound like the professional, knowledgeable, and MOTIVATED salespeople that are in your showroom? If you’re like most DPs or GMs, I’m sure you’d say “not so much.”
But with digital selling, you can use technology to alert your salespeople when highly engaged shoppers are on your website – and then proactively engage with them. Specifically, shoppers that are shopping with your competitors.
Let’s visit another scenario, this time with a dealership that uses digital selling.
A shopper is on your website, on a VDP looking at a 2019 Chevy Tahoe. Let’s say that this shopper is on their mobile phone and they’re located in your competitor’s zip code. It’s the 3rd time in as many days that they’re on this particular VDP. Six of your salespeople get an automatic notification on their mobile phone that says something like: “I need someone to talk with this shopper about our 2019 Chevy Tahoe.”
With one click on the salespersons’ smartphone, your shopper is chatting or talking LIVE with that shopper. Even giving them a live video walkaround of the 2019 Chevy Tahoe that the shopper is looking at online.
Talk about frictionless customer experience! The shopper is now getting their questions answered by a trained professional who knows the product, knows your inventory mix, and has all of the immediate and accurate answers to the shopper’s questions. The salesperson and the shopper can build a strong rapport early, and the salesperson can get that customer to make an appointment and buy that Tahoe!
Your shopper just had the best, highly personalized, live experience on your website, compared to the other dealership websites they visited. And if that’s not enough – you know that online lead metric that your OEM measures you by? LRT… or Lead Response Time. With digital selling, you’re engaging, having conversations, and making appointments with shoppers, long before they even submit a lead! Lead Response Time = less than zero!
Digital selling is rapidly becoming the new norm. It puts your most experienced, talented, and motivated resources – your sales team – in quick, rapport-building conversations with shoppers on your website.
It won’t be long until a dealership having a website without “digital selling” technology, will be like a dealership with open showroom doors but no sales staff to help the shoppers on the floor. That’s why digital selling complements and makes digital retailing even better for your dealership!
Happy Digital Selling!
About the Author
Ron Morrison is the CEO of Pureinfluencer, a conversion software company that delivers a minimum 30% lift in first-party website leads for auto dealers. For over 24 years, he has delivered sales results, recurring revenue, and long-term productive business relationships.