By Steve Roessler, Chief Evangelist Officer, DriveCentric

When you think about it, following up with all the leads in your CRM is a lot like online dating: calling strangers, trying to get them to like you, hoping to form some kind of relationship. Rejection, misaligned expectations, and missed opportunities abound. Yet, just like there are ways to set up dates with a total stranger for success, there are ways to approach internet leads to set you up to succeed! Think of me as your virtual sales wingman, guiding you through the modern world of digital retail. Today we will be discussing three strategies you can take from virtual dating and implement into your current sales processes.

Get to Know Each Other / Ask the Important Questions

You wouldn’t call your prospective date without reading their profile first, would you? We can all agree that rushing into a first date or even a phone call can be a little intimidating. Much of the time, sales professionals are encouraged by leadership to reach out by phone within the first few minutes of contact with their internet leads. But this isn’t always what the customer wants! Believe it or not, “2 out of 3 car buyers don’t know what car they want before beginning their car buying journey” (Cox, 2018). With such a high percentage of prospects being undecided, it’s critical that you get to know your customers and their needs before trying to sell them on any specific vehicle. Similar to virtual dating, it’s essential to take the time to understand the customer you are trying to sell. That extra effort will inspire confidence and trust, leading them to opt-in to future communication methods. The extra effort will not only help get your messages through but also help in building a long-term professional relationship for current and future sales opportunities.

Plan a Good Date

New digital channels and changing consumer expectations have transformed today’s automotive marketplace. Consumers have more options, do more research, and expect a seamless experience across channels before they consider stepping onto your dealer lot. Much like virtual dating, where it takes a lot more effort to get someone’s phone number; today’s virtual shoppers expect an excellent experience to take place before ever picking up the phone. The fact is that people want to feel important, or better yet, special. Writer Maya Angelou once said, “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel,” and research only confirms this! One thing I like to do with new customers is to learn one personal characteristic about each of my prospects and use it to move the conversation (and sales process) forward. Do your homework, use information from your CRM and the various social media platforms to learn more about your customers and the things that make them unique! Using this information to personalize your customers experience can influence the overall outcome of the sale.

Love Takes Time (Don’t Rush the Process)

Once you finally earn the right to meet your customer in person, it is important to remember that post-date follow-up is just as crucial as pre-date preparation. We all know how important it is to let the person know when the date or service went well! It’s a vital part of what makes businesses thrive today. This is also true in your dealership as well. Whether you spoke on the phone, had a test drive, or even sold a car, have some mechanisms in place to follow up and keep the conversation going. If it’s after the sale, you want to make sure that a customer chooses your dealership for all their maintenance and repairs– so stay in touch with service reminders and offers, relevant maintenance content, and connections like birthday and holiday cards. Don’t ghost your customers, but rather provide them with a unique relationship they feel connected enough to come back to when they are ready to look for another car or service!

Approaching your internet leads is more similar to online dating than you think!

In his session at Digital Dealer Las Vegas, Steve Roessler will share tips to transform selling strategies with lead follow-up and nurture, inspired by internet dating examples. He will share communication strategies that improve results with engagement techniques you can implement immediately! Watch this video to learn more.

Author: Christine Corkran

Digital Dealer