Let’s face it, everything is digital, even car shopping. It’s an experience that was traditionally all about seeing, smelling, and test-driving the car first.
But now, car dealerships are getting less action in person and more action online. How can you drive up car sales when 23% of buyers would prefer an online experience to purchase a car?
You have to be ready to meet your curious car buyers right where they are, in the comfort of their home, online.
That means it’s time to amp up your interactions with website visitors.
By being proactive and anticipating website visitor behaviour, you will bring in more leads for your car salesmen, and more sales.
Here are 7 tips to help you increase car dealership sales:
#1 Select the best lead generation tools for your dealership
#2 Follow up quickly with car buyer leads
#3 Sell through video
#4 Optimise for mobile
#5 Personalise and target messages
#6 Engage on social media
#7 Monitor real-time analytics
Tip 1: Select the best lead generation tools for your car dealership
An intimidating interest form or hidden email address on your website is not going to cut it for automotive lead generation.
Interested car buyers want to be catered to, and will jump ship to the next website before they can even find your contact form.
94% of consumers believe that easy navigation is the most important feature of a website. So, it’s a bonus when your lead gen tools make navigation effortless.
Here are 4 lead generation tools to accelerate sales in the automotive industry:
Live Chat for car salesmen
When you first think of live chat, you may think of it as purely being for customer support or answering FAQs, but that’s just a fraction of the possibilities.
Live chat has several features to help your car dealership generate more high-quality leads. By selecting targeting rules for which actions trigger your live chat, you can save your resources by focusing your live conversations on the highest value leads.
For example, you could target website visitors that have visited the same car's product page 2 or more times, with an automated live chat welcome message “Need help finding your dream car?"
Psst rules like these are easy to customise for your website, no coding necessary. Book a free demo today!
This is helpful because sometimes people want to speak with someone in real-time for quick questions and guidance about a car. Encouraging an interested buyer to engage in live chat can move them through the sales funnel quicker.
Car salespeople at K-Caara, one of the largest auto resellers in Finland, closed on over 250 car sales leads by going online with live chat.
Voice and video call chat for car dealerships
Since buying a car is a major purchasing decision, some buyers may still want to hear the salesperson’s voice or even have a live video viewing of that car they are eyeing.
With live chat features like voice or video calls, you can give your prospect a sense of familiarity and confidence for their buying experience on the spot.
An additional bonus of live chat is that you can transform a web chat into a voice or video simply within the same chat window.
Video call live chat for car dealerships brings you as close to an in-house showroom experience as possible.
With video chat, interested car buyers can have peace of mind when they:
- See the salesperson’s face and build rapport
- View the car in real-time
- Ask and test specific features of the car
Audio call is another great option with live chat because there’s no drawn-out waiting needed. This way car sales agents can capture the prospects’ interest while they are already online and engaged.
The website visitor can also initiate an instant call to the sales agent they are messaging via live chat.
Chatbot for car dealerships
Chatbots will guide your website visitors through the sales funnel without using an actual car agent’s resources.
Chatbot messages are automated with button-based options for the prospect to interact with. So, chatbots are the perfect solution for when the showroom lights are off and your salespeople aren’t around to man the live chat portal.
Automated chatbot messages can be triggered proactively and anticipate the website visitor’s needs before they take any action.
This type of automation does well with timed pop-ups. These chatbots can guide the visitor to your most popular site pages, new deals you may have, or FAQ page.
Here are a few easy automated chatbot messages for auto dealerships to have on their website:
- “Hey! What type of car are you looking for?”
- “Welcome! Are you looking to browse, sell, buy, or book a maintenance appointment?
- “Have a few questions? We’ve answered common questions here!”
These types of messages should pop up between 3-10 seconds of the visitor landing on your page.
Multi-step forms to capture car sales leads
Multi-step forms help dealerships sell more cars online by collecting the data you need without overwhelming the prospect.
The beauty of multi-step forms is that they increase engagement by guiding the visitor to click through the different questions in bite-sized chunks.
You can collect the most important information first, and then continue to collect more qualifying data.
What often happens with one long, static form, is that the visitor is deterred away just by looking at the length of this form, or because there are questions on the form they don’t know right away.
Multi-step forms are highly customisable, from formatting different shapes and sizes to timing the pop-up. Multi-step forms are a simple and interactive-friendly way to capture more leads for car dealerships online.
Tip 2: Follow up quickly with car buyer leads
Car buyers are likely to browse 4.2 different websites during the purchase process, so it’s important to capture your leads before they go cold and move on to the next website.
Car dealerships unfortunately have a reputation for slow follow-up. Slow as in a 3-5 hour response time to internet leads when it only takes 5 minutes for those leads to go cold and lose interest.
So, even though you may have lead generation tools in place to convert high-value leads, you cannot neglect to follow up with them almost instantly.
Use these ideas on how to speed up lead follow-up for car sales agents:
Send instant push notifications to mobile for contact submissions
Connect your automated chatbots to real-time live chat and video call
Integrate messaging with your social media channels
Access complete chat history on mobile
Car sales agents at Riddermark BIL, one of Sweden’s largest car dealers, sold over 30 cars via live chat per month by connecting their chatbots to live chat.
Tip 3: Sell cars through video
Interested car buyers have no trouble finding information and many car options when shopping. What car buyers do struggle with is making a connection with any given dealership just based on their car listings.
In addition to providing real-time video chat and voice call options, on-demand videos add an extra level of trust for your shop. Adding a video to your landing page can increase your conversion rate by up to 80%.
What type of video content can you use to drive car dealerships sales on your website?
- Testimonials from happy customers
- Short interview with salespeople
- Featured Car of the month virtual test drive
- How-to video on how to use car accessories
If you also publish these types of videos to your brand’s youtube channel, you are also improving your SEO.
Tip 4: Optimise your car dealership website for mobile
Optimising your website for mobile is more important today in car sales than ever before.
Customers spend more time on their phones than on any other device and are getting more comfortable with making purchases online. 85% of customers believe that a company’s website should be just as good or better when viewing on a mobile device compared to viewing it on a desktop.
With this in mind, you’ll need to make sure that your forms, live chat, and chatbots are easily accessible on mobile when visitors are browsing for their next car.
Tip 5: Personalise and target messages on your automotive website
Just like you know exactly what type of car is the best fit for someone based on what they’ve told you, your website can also deliver the best message to someone based on their website behaviour.
You can trigger personalised messages based on a website visitor’s device, traffic source, or many other variables.
If they are coming from a social media campaign, you can make sure your messaging on your chatbots reflect the conversational tone of social media.
If they are visiting from an email newsletter, you can make sure the message prompt is warmer than it would be for someone’s first time visiting the site.
Remember, personalised messages should also be casual.
ALD Automotive, a leader of vehicle leasing in Europe, increased their customer contacts by a factor of 15 with giosg live chat. They found that fast and informal communication was more beneficial than their previous static contact forms.
Tip 6: Engage with potential car buyers on social media
We know people are glued to their phones and scrolling on social media more often than not.
If you need another social media usage statistic, just know around 57% of the population is active monthly on social media channels. The automotive industry can use this to its advantage.
There are a few places car dealerships can engage with prospective customers on social media:
- Promote cars on Facebook Marketplace
- Use sponsored listings across social media
- Post to social channels about new cars, events, or automotive industry news
- Use Facebook Messenger or WhatsApp for business to communicate with your customers on a platform they use often
Tip 7: Monitor real-time analytics
You shouldn’t only adopt lead generation tools and then wait and see what happens naturally. It’s important to monitor the analytics and adjust your strategies when necessary.
Here are just a few examples of data to analyse for an online car dealership:
- Number of live chats
- Number of visits
- Traffic sources
- Average response times
- Sales reporting
Analysing these data points will give you insight into how to optimise your bots further. Whether you want to filter through more leads or improve your customer service, this data will help you also in A/B testing.
When you use lead generation tools, like chatbots or live chat, it's crucial to have access to several built-in reporting features.
Ready to put these lead generation tips into practice?
Implementing any of these 7 lead generation tips will help drive more sales to your auto dealership. Capturing leads more efficiently and more frequently increases the chances of that lead converting into a deal.
Ready to boost your lead generation process for your car dealership?