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Email Templates can be Personal AND Automated

Internet sales are easy!

There, I said it (or rather, wrote it.) Let me be clear: internet sales are about as black and white as anything we do in the car business – they really are. The problem is we tend to overcomplicate things we don’t understand; and traditional automotive sales managers have (for the most part) not tried very hard to understand internet sales.

In this 7-part series, my hope is to detail in plain language how you and your managers can stop over-thinking much of what goes into making a sale to an internet prospect; and how to use these seven simple strategies to start setting more appointments that show and buy today:

Simple Strategy #6: Email Templates can be Personal AND Automated

The Problem: The owner comes back from his 20 group and announces “Our emails don’t look personal enough!” This, because some consultant trying to get hired by the dealers in the 20 group told all the owners and general managers that they needed to personalize their emails. Of course, the consultant didn’t offer any statistics or facts about your automated process emails; he just said something like “Consumers don’t want canned responses… yada, yada, yada.”

The Reality: No one is reading your emails anyway. (Okay, maybe a couple of the process emails you send in the first few days have a decent open rate, but if you think even the most perfectly personalized missive is getting more than cursory attention, you don’t understand the online car shopper.)

Of course, there’s no doubt that a personal email is better than a templated one. That said, there’s no ROI in personalizing 99% of your process emails and there is nothing you can write tomorrow that cannot be written today, made into a template and used for the next five years.

Often, internet managers will create process templates, but not set them to send automatically. They do this in order to allow their teams a quick review of the template so that they can personalize it before hitting “send.”

This is a bad idea for three important reasons:

  • Salespeople and BDC Agents are not always good about reviewing a templated email before they send it. If these emails have blanks that need to be completed before sending – and those blanks are not completed – your “personalized” email looks less personal to the consumer than a “canned” response.
  • By allowing your team to review an approved email template before sending, you’re opening the door to freelancing that quite often takes the message in a completely different direction than the one you intended when you wrote the original template.
  • Hitting send on an email is not an activity equal to picking up the phone and calling a prospect. When you fail to automate process emails, your team hits “send” a lot. So much so that if they have 100 activities assigned today and 70 of those are “send email” while the other 30 are “call prospect,” you can rest assured they will stop after the 70 sent emails; feeling as if they’ve actually accomplished something.

The Solution:  The simplest solution is to make your process emails both personal and automated right from the start; and this can be accomplished in just four simple steps:

  1. Review your current automated templates;
  2. Rewrite them as if you’re addressing a specific prospect with a goal of driving a reconnection;
  3. Make that a template; and
  4. Add it to your automated process.

In other words: Stop overthinking this stuff! It’s not science or surgery; it’s an email being sent on the 37th day of ZERO communication to a prospect that stopped reading your emails 32 days ago.

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This is part 1 of 7 Simple Strategies for Closing More Internet Deals Today!
by Steve Stauning.

Don’t miss out on the complete series:

Part 1Simple Strategy #1: Pay for the Performance You Want

Part 2Simple Strategy #2: Internet & BDC Teams Must be Managed Like Call Centers

Part 3: Simple Strategy #3: Stricter Rules Drive Higher Sales

Part 4: Simple Strategy #4: Treat EVERY Lead and Call Like an Order

Part 5Simple Strategy #5: Yes, You Should Always Use an Auto Response

Part 6: You’re reading it

Part 7Simple Strategy #7: The First Call Should Be the ONLY Call


Steve is the author of Assumptive Selling: The Complete Guide to Selling More Vehicles for More Money to Today’s Connected Customers;" as well ...