As dealers, it seems we often find ourselves so busy evaluating the performance of our third-party lead providers that we neglect to really examine how we handle those leads once they’ve entered our CRM, specifically the automated email follow-up (often referred to as the “lifecycle” or “action plan”).
That’s extremely unfortunate, as a carefully crafted lifecycle/action plan with great emails will help you gain the car shopper’s trust and differentiate your dealership from the competition. The combination of the two will help persuade that car shopper to buy from you.
Too often when we secret shop a dealership’s lifecycle, we are sent emails that ask “How can I help?” rather than answer with a “Here’s how I can help!”
Follow these steps to a successful action plan:
Promote Why Buy Message
Your “Why Buy” is your dealership’s unique value proposition. What sets you apart from the competition? Invite your customer to visit your website to learn more about your Why Buy.
Leverage Customer Testimonials
A Harvard Business School study found that a one-star increase in Yelp rating can lead to a 5-9% increase in revenue (Source). Pick one of your best testimonials and put it directly into the lifecycle email. Then, invite customers to see your reputation online for themselves. Put in links to your best review sites.
Showcase Special Promotions
Later in the lifecycle, bring the customer’s attention back to your specials. Drive them to a page on your website that includes your current deals.
Present Alternative Offers
Maybe your customer submitted a lead on a new car but decided that a new car is out of their price range. Present them with a more affordable option.
By introducing management into the lifecycle, you give the customer an additional contact and reinforce your company’s Why Buy message. It also lets the customer know that they have a team of support to help them through the car-buying process.
Include Fixed Ops
Introducing fixed ops early in the sales process increases the likelihood that the customer will have their vehicle serviced at your dealership. Plus, if you can’t make a sale, it’s great to earn a service customer. We like to introduce fixed ops twice in the lifecycle – first, with an introduction to your dealership’s service rewards program, and then with a link to money-saving coupons. For more on this topic, watch this video.
Understand that regardless of how much time you’ve spent revising/reworking your lifecycle, it’s something that needs to be consistently evaluated and updated. In short, creating the “perfect” action plan is an imperfect science.
As with everything you do online, track it with Google Analytics. Make sure you use Google UTM codes to track the effectiveness of your emails so you know what works well and what needs to be tweaked.
How much life is in your Lifecycle?