Best Practices

Top Five Tips for Selling to a Chat Prospect – Contest Winners

Congratulations to the Top 5 Winners!!

Last month Contact At Once and DealerRefresh hosted a Best Practices for Dealer Chat contest asking dealers to submit their best advice and practices for gaining appointments and selling to a chat prospect. We wanted to know how successful dealers are converting their chat requests into showroom visitors and customers.

More than 40 tips and chat transcripts were posted to the forum. Click here to check them out

The top 5 winners won a $100 Starbucks Gift Card. That’s a lot of coffee!

Many of the chat tips that were submitted represent current Contact At Once! best practices including the idea of “Treating a chat request like a phone-up, and “Asking open-ended questions to uncover prospect needs” (submitted by Kane McCullin of Homes Honda of Shreveport) .

Others reminded dealers to “Just be yourself. Most of my chats, if handled properly, result in a sale” (submitted by Dave Sherman of Lavery Automotive). Beyond these best practices, five tips stood out in terms of their wisdom and practicality.

Here now are the Top Five Tips for Selling to a Chat Prospect along with the winner.

CHAT TIP #1 – Lenny Fly of Windham Select Motors
“Accept text communication – Don’t always try and push to get a consumer on the phone. Some are at work where phone calling is frowned upon.”

Why this is important: Continuing to remain competitive in an age of increasing text-based communication requires that dealers not only remain accessible, but comfortable with communicating over chat.

CHAT TIP #2 – Shamara Coates from Jim Ellis Chevrolet
“Get excited along with the client.”

Why this is important: In her submission, Shamara explained that her job as a salesperson is to help customers find what they’re looking for – and she enjoys the process. She gets excited for them the way she would if she’d found the perfect car for herself. Essential to gaining an appointment is the ability to build rapport with prospects. Contact At Once! displays the actual name and photo of the salesperson responding to the chat in the chat window to help salespeople build recognition and trust with online consumers. Adding personality and demonstrating real concern and excitement for the customer can enhance the customer’s perception of the

dealership and build a stronger rapport between the customer and the dealership salesperson.

CHAT TIP #3 – Blake Zweifel of Toyota of Waldorf
“Save time and improve outcomes by preparing for chat conversations in advance. Anticipate shopper questions and have the necessary tools and information up and ready to go.”

Why this is important: Unlike delayed-response lead form submissions, instant messaging is designed for quick response. Consumers choose chat because of its convenient nature and the promise of instant answers (amongst other reasons). Having the internet at their fingertips (including access to your competitor’s listings), an online consumer is less likely to wait very long for a response. Key in converting online prospects into showroom visitors is the saleperson’s ability to address questions which stand in the way of consumers taking the next step.

CHAT TIP #4 – Walt Kustra of Preston Auto Group
“Use a give-and-take approach: Provide some info, request some info.”

Why this is important: This tip represents a widely understood principle that applies as equally to chat conversations as it does to phone conversations. The give-and-take principle ensures that both parties are served by the conversation. After successfully building trust and rapport with a chat prospect, many will have no problem leaving their information. Remember though, that just like on the telephone, it may be all in the way you ask a question or how you frame a response.

CHAT TIP #5 – Amanda Marsal of Oxmoor Mazda World
“Incorporate a strong call to action – a compelling reason to come in now or risk losing out!”

Why this is important: While inventory, price, and trust with the salesperson are compelling reasons to act, dealers must compete with other dealerships and with the passing of time (which also kills deals). Building urgency into the conversation provides specific incentive for the buyer to deal exclusively with the salesperson and increases the likelihood that a visit will occur.

A special thanks to all the dealers who participated!

To read the specific chat transcripts relating to each of the submissions mentioned here, please review the original forum thread entitled “NEW CONTEST: Top Five Tips for Selling a Car to a Chat Prospect”. For more dealer chat insights and information, be sure to check out the Contact At Once Chat Blog.

Founder of DealerRefresh - 20+ Years of dealership Sales, Management, Training, Marketing and Leadership.