One of the things dealers constantly have to battle with is the consumer trust factor. Historically, some auto dealerships have kept information away from consumers. So, as is human nature, consumers then thought these dealers had something to hide. To add to this issue of trust, in many dense markets, dealers participate in a fierce race to the bottom -- promising deep discounts on vehicles through their advertising… but then do a bait and switch. It’s not uncommon to hear a complaint from a customer that was given one price on the phone or online, just to discover a significant price change once they arrive at the store. Perhaps this was due a failure to qualify for a rebate, so was not exactly deceptive advertising. But, ultimately, it’s the consumer’s perception that matters.
The same trust factor presents itself when it comes to converting leads on dealership’s websites. Customers are afraid to fill out forms because they believe that, rather than fulfilling the promise on the form (i.e.: get a price), they will be barraged with e-mails and phone calls constantly. And, in many cases, that is exactly what happens -- the customer never gets what the form promised – a price. Many first responses from a dealership to a lead simply ask the customer when they can come in. Why would a customer want to come into your store if your first response to them was perceived as unhelpful?
To increase customer engagement and get a higher percentage to actually show at your dealership, perhaps consider delivering on the promise that the call-to-action (CTA) makes. If the CTA says fill out the form to get a price, give them a price. It’s certainly your decision as to if you want to give out pricing immediately or not. All I’m saying is that, if your dealership doesn’t want to give out pricing, change the wording on the CTA. The same concept goes for any of your conversion forms: trade value, financing, service appointments, coupons and incentives.
The first step to getting a customer into the showroom is to build rapport. If you were to greet a customer on the lot and they mentioned that they wanted to look at a certain vehicle, you would take them to that vehicle, chatting with them along the way. When a customer completes a conversion form, they are basically asking a direct question depending on the form – What is the Internet price? Can I get financed? When can I come in for a service appointment? How much is my trade-in worth? The way these questions are answered is key – these answers create the first impression in the customer’s eyes. If the dealership provides the information it promised on the conversion form, it certainly stands a better chance of being perceived as helpful. It can then begin the journey towards building trust. By not providing the information that was promised, the customer could perceive the dealership as unhelpful. It then becomes that much more difficult to engage the customer. Or, you just lose them and they go to the competition down the street.
This principle applies to any promises made on a dealership website. Deliver the information they want if you promised it on a conversion form. If you promise an experience, discount or incentive, be prepared to deliver it when they arrive. First impressions are important and, as we all know, you only get one chance to make one. Make yours count.