No Fear of the Future
Evolution is a natural element in sales because change is inevitable. Customers are changing. The marketplace is changing. The products are changing. And yet, in the automotive field, the idea of change is often resisted far more than in other sales arenas.
Dealers who want their business to not only remain profitable for the present but to grow in the future need to be on the lookout constantly for new tools to help them serve customers better and maintain the bottom line.
Effective Customer Contact
One area that has seen the biggest transformation in recent years is automotive sales marketing. Not so long ago, broadcasting blanket marketing messages, launching random email blasts and blindly sending out mailers in the hopes they’ll connect with an in-market buyer was all that was possible. Today, consumers ignore messages that aren’t relevant to their current situation. Fortunately, there are tools available to dealerships today to help them cut through the noise and reach consumers at the right place and right time.
Tools such as AI-driven marketing automation and predictive analytics help marketers zero in on the desires and shopping history of individual consumers in order to present information and offers that are relevant to their needs. This is done through the use of the volumes of data generated by a consumer’s shopping patterns, both online and off. There’s so much data generated, in fact, that it would be impossible for a human to comb through it all to find information that matters to individual prospects. That’s where the tools driven by artificial intelligence come in. Far from removing the human from the sales equation, having this kind of insight into the needs of individuals allows salespeople to better serve them and the dealership.
The “Average” Sales Path
Part of the difficulty of blindly marketing to a mass of consumers is that each consumer’s lifecycle is unique. When you take into account all the factors that figure into a large purchase decision — family, finances, vehicle preferences, personalities and more — it becomes clear that messages targeted to an individual would carry far more weight than a generic “come to our dealership” commercial.
With AI-driven marketing tools, dealerships can provide the information consumers want — sometimes before they’re even aware they want it — and be part of a back-and-forth conversation, rather than presenting an easily dismissed all-purpose sales pitch.
As long as you’re providing a consistent and relevant message, becoming that tap on the shoulder to let them know you’re always there, you stay top of mind when it’s time to make that next purchase decision.
Between This Sale and the Next
While the sales department can sell one vehicle, it’s often the service and marketing departments that keep the customer engaged and bring them back in for a long-term retail relationship. It’s important that the marketing message change after vehicle delivery so that the dealership becomes a partner with the customer in keeping the vehicle safe and reliable.
Automation is key to maintaining the relationship that was built in the sales phase. If left to busy salespeople, regular communication can be put off and forgotten in favor of making new sales and gaining new customers. And, as salespeople leave the dealership for one reason or another, customers become “orphans,” with no one remembering that client’s history with the company.
AI-powered tools can step in and help a staff maintain the connection between the dealership and the consumer. No matter what changes, you have consistent branding that’s going to speak to that customer. It’s that soft, dependable touch that lets them know you’re there to serve them when they need it.
What’s Old is New Again
With the evolution of “smart” marketing tools available to the modern dealership proceeding at a rapid rate, it’s necessary for dealers to keep track of the innovations and be aware of new technology. However, the future may have a resemblance to the past.
AI is going to continue to expand; that’s pretty obvious. Traditional marketing is making something of a comeback, but it is becoming more refined, pairing AI with direct mail, for example, where you’re not just blasting it out and hoping someone brings back a flyer. It’s putting a relevant message on a vehicle that the person may have been shopping for, putting that in their mailbox and pairing that with a potential offer.
Consumers are changing; dealerships have the ability to change with them and serve them better than ever before. Rather than fearing the future, the most successful dealerships are embracing it.
Now that you know you need automation, we’ll cover next how to use it to give that personal touch for a seamless customer experience.
Register now for our upcoming webinar December 13 at 2pm EST “Success Through Innovation: Tips for Your Dealership” with James Kurtenbach, Marketing Director at Schomp Automotive Group, and Jill Howard, Director of Client Services at A2Z Sync.