Best Practices

1 Reason Why Your Email Collection is OVERRATED

Who cares how many email addresses your dealership collects

Once you have them, what are you going to do with them?

Collecting Email Addresses

When I was on the floor; I got every customers email address. I was determined to follow up via phone and email, if for some reason I was unable to close the sale.

It’s what I did. It was part of MY process.

If I couldn’t close the customer on the first visit or failed at capturing a solid appointment over the phone, you can bet I was going to take a photo of the vehicle they were interested in (with my Sony Mavica Floppy disc camera) and send them a photo(s) with an email brochure until they were sold or kindly asked me to stop.

If a sales representative is determined to follow up with a customer with a personal email, they’ll ask for it (if they’re really good, he/she will even acquire their mailing address and send them a personal card in the mail).

Now we have the technology to not only send a photo but a quick vehicle video walk-around right from our phone.

That being said, when was the last time you saw someone from your sales staff taking photos or a video of a vehicle with their iphone, then sending to a potential customer?

If a sales professional is determined to follow up with a customer via email, they’ll acquire a customers email address. It will be part of their process.

Too often, having a mandatory email capture rate lands you a CRM full of bogus email addresses. Hopeful in keeping the management mouths shut.

If you don’t have a consistent email marketing campaign in place for prospect and retention, then why does it matter if you acquire a customers email address?

Because the manufacture said so…

True – but let’s agree, retention after the sale is something most sales staff place little importance on.

Education. Take the time to educate your staff on the direct benefits in gaining a customers email address. Get their buy-in by showing and educating them on the importance of how it helps them sell more cars, and schedule more service.

Are your sales and service staff copied on each email campaign? If not..why? Get it done! Today.

Including and copying your staff on your email campaigns will eventually help them understand the importance of capturing the email address. Especially when they tie it back to a direct opportunity to a sale.

We train our sales staff to sell on benefits not features.

Shouldn’t we do the same?

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    Brian Pasch
  • September 5, 2011
Jeff, great reminder on process and I would add that anyone who comes into the dealership for sales or service should be encouraged to opt-in to the dealerships text-marketing campaigns.

Service is the easiest because the service advisor can just say that they will text the customer when the car is ready.  Must people would prefer a text notification over an email or call.

Service Advisors ask the customers on drop-off to take out their phone and send a text message to the service campaign (i.e. "brickellservice" to 75274).

Showroom ups that don't close can also be encouraged to opt-in on a number of simple incentives.  

Since text message delivery is so much higher than email, dealers can have a more effective retention campaign as long as they don't abuse the channel.

I'll have some stats to share in the future...
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    JQ
  • September 5, 2011
Jeff, you must have collected a TON of email addresses!  (My understanding is
that you couldn't close a deal to save your life...) :)  Little Labor Day Humor
-- good article!

Curious though... I can see, as a consumer, how I'd be willing to converse with my salesperson via text or email during my transaction.  However, the first email "blast" from the dealership, and I (personally) am going to opt-out.   One-to-one emails, texts -- even tweets -- I can see: relevant communication on the clients' terms.  

But as someone who sends out 30,000 or so emails a month, I have to ask the question: is email "marketing" dead?
J
Using a preferred method of the customer, be it email, phone, face to face, tweet or text should always be encouraged. Any mode, a two way communication must be made otherwise there is no conversation.  All engagement is bi-directional.
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    Jeff Kershner
  • September 5, 2011
Thanks for the encouraging words John. I know I can always count on you. !! :)

Email marketing is NOT dead but if dealers want to believe that - go for it. Email marketing still proves to be one of the most effective channels of marketing. If this were not the case, then every major retailer out there must be wrong and wasting a lot of of time and money in their email marketing efforts.

John, you're right - after I 've made my purchase from your dealership - I'd rather not continue to receive sales related email campaigns. However, sign me up for one to one email/text service messages and service email marketing campaigns. Ill take those service coupons straight to my inbox.

Running a display advertising re-marketing campaign? Then why would you not be leveraging a solid email marketing program?

No - email marketing is NOT dead and Text campaign marketing will not replace it either.

Stats show that with the rise of social engagement that email usage us up.
K
Okay, the guy I just bought my car from must have read your article.  I went to his dealership and was just looking.  But a few days later, I got a text with a pic of the exact same car I had eye-balled.  I ignored this text but later received a phone call from him asking if I got the text.  In a way, it was a little bit bothersome.  But, he got the sale.... so I guess it worked!
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    Jeff Kershner
  • September 7, 2011
Thanks for sharing Krisit.

What made it so bothersome? I'm curious..

Like you said, it must had not been too bad since you purchased.

If you follow-up with potential customer in a consistent AND professional way, you'll obtain more opportunities and sales had you not.
I often hear "I hate sales people". My response, "no you hate unprofessional sales people". There's a huge difference.



Jeff Kershner
Founder | DealerRefresh

[email protected]
http://www.dealerrefresh.com
240 217 1740
I
Great discussion. So many dealerships have the opportunity to target market, virtually for free, and don't take advantage of the opportunity. Too often we see the one blasted email going out to the database. Why not send an individualized broadcast for a specific model, for example to a smaller audience who actually may engage (say, the last 120 days of leads for that model) rather than throwing the email out to 30k people and hope for the best? If you did that for every model how many more consumers would engage your dealership?
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    Jeff Kershner
  • September 7, 2011
Only being the devils advocate here. Not saying I totally disagree with you. But how many people actually buy their intended vehicle? They came in/lead on a Camry but leave in a used Honda Accord. They lead in on a used Mini S but leave in a new C-Class. These are 2 examples from yesterday alone as I overheard conversations on the floor.

Jeff Kershner
Founder | DealerRefresh

[email protected]
http://www.dealerrefresh.com
240 217 1740
A
There are ways to do email blasts and there are ways that email blasts are typically done.  Either the capabilities are not there for a dealer to get extremely targeted with things or they're just trying to satisfy a big number to the boss.  

Advertising is shifting from blasting the world to targeting relevancy.  I have a lot of optimistic hope for this transition happening in automotive over the next few years.

P.S.  Jeff - remind me to tell you a story about this that might shock you.
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    Jeff Kershner
  • September 8, 2011
I'll be sure to have you remind me.

I would say many many retailers will be shifting their email marketing.
To target or not to target? Or how targeted do we need to get. I guess that would be a better question.
I segment my customers:
Active prospects
Previous bought prospects (that potentially could be in the market) In-active prospects that fit a certain criteria

Results are industry average to better. Depending on the quality ans age of the data.
I've segmented down by vehicle of interest and vehicle previous bought to get more targeted. I've done this time and time again.
Guess what doesn't happen:
The open rate doesn't improve
The opt out rate doesn't drop
The CTR is not effected

...


Jeff Kershner
Founder | DealerRefresh

[email protected]
http://www.dealerrefresh.com
240 217 1740
J