Best Practices

Phone or E-mail? It’s Simple!

Here is another great article from Cliff Banks. E-Mail or Phone? Don’t Let the Customer Decide.

Not sure what it is, but Mr. Banks articles always stick out (for me atleast) and this was another one that I felt as it I should post about. I don’t even know Cliff Banks but if you happen to read this, shoot me an email or call me!

This article talks about 2 difference perspectives when using email or the phone for contacting the customer. There is no doubt in my mind, the quicker you can get the customer on the phone the better your chances are making the appointment and getting that consumer in the showroom. I know when I’m on the consumer side, once I set an appointment, my shopping process slows down. I have an appointment and I no longer need to shop as much. That’s just the mental state that my brain goes into.

YES, you will always get that customer that gets offended or just wanted to communicate via email. I think many times (and I’m guilty of this myself at times) we focus too much on the minority rather then the majority. Majority of your customers actually appreciate a phone call.

Take a moment and think about this for a second, if you put your legit phone number in a form, are you not expecting or at least inviting a phone call? If a consumer fills out a form on your website or any other 3rd party site and they include their legit phone number, they don’t mind getting a phone call.

The consumer that wants information or pricing without a phone call will just leave the phone number portion blank or fill it in with a bogus number. It’s that simple!

In all of my years in internet sales I bet I can count on 1 hand the amount of customers that were upset that I called them. And that’s such an easy objective to overcome.
Make those phone calls!

This reminds me of an older posting of mine “My Lending Tree experience”

Founder of DealerRefresh - 20+ Years of dealership Sales, Management, Training, Marketing and Leadership.
What is your take on giving pricing to an online customer?

Sometimes people send a specific VIN from my website asking for a price.

Sometimes they email me asking for the best price on a particular year & model.. Say, a new 2007 truck I have in stock.

Occasionally I'll get a request asking if we have a set structure - How much over /under invoice will I sell for.

Basically I almost never get a request asking if I have a specific car since they see it in my online inventory and we have photos of everything we sell online. They know it's here, they want a price - do we give it to them or try and get them to come in instead?

Let me know your thoughts if you have a minute.

Thank You,

Bobby Harris
I have to say I agree. CALL THEM! If you dont...someone else will...and lets not forgot that your dealership isnt the only one that got a lead or an email from this consumer. In our findings, consumers are sending as many as 8 different dealerships an email about a vehicle...on top of any leads through various 3rd party sites. If you come across that consumer who is just plain bitter about it, apologize, maybe even justify why you called...and if nothing works...then just let it go! This type of consumer, even if they do buy from you, will bury you in your surveys...never send a referral...and often make the lives of you, and everyone at the dealerships just plain miserable. We've all seen it happen when bad customers go badder!

One thing I just have to say though is...once you get them on the phone, keep them on the phone and dont just rush to selling an appointment. Over the years I have sent various test emails and phone calls to my dealerships clients. One constant is always there, almost 70-80% of them want to sell me an appointment. I'll ask specific questions about the vehicle...does it have dvd? navigation? etc?...and most of the time...noone knows! I get a promise of a phone call back...and I usually do get it...hours later...after I continued my online shopping and called another dealership where I got a sales professional on the phone that knew their products...not just an appointment setter. Over they years its my opinion that far too much emphasis has been placed on setting the appointment, I even know multiple dealers that pay for appointments that are set! Now thats fine if you are qualifying the consumer, answering their questions, and building value in YOU and your dealerships while gaining their trust...but most of the time its just, "what time do you wanna come in?" Sorry...I'll tell you that Im coming in today...but while I still have my computer in front of me and my phone by my side...Im going to keep calling and emailing until I find a real salesperson.

Eric Gidney
Next-Level Automotive
Effective Inventory Management and Marketing Strategies