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Selling cars across generations – Texting for Auto Dealers

From the Silent Generation (1924 to 1942) to the Millennials(1981 to 1996), there are a lot of people who have very different ways of communicating. 

The Silent Generation can remember party lines and payphones. The Millennials have always had cell phones and can barely remember flip phones. 

So how can you market to all of these generations with one simple communication channel? Texting or SMS.

  • 96% of Americans own a cell phone1
  • 81% of Americans own a smartphone1
  • 97% of Americans who own a cell phone text at least once a day2

Text messaging is the number one way to communicate on cell phones. 

They’re Already Here

With almost everyone who owns a cellphone using it to text, it should make sense that texting is a great way to sell cars. More than that, they’re already using their phones and tablets to research cars. “More than half (53%) of automotive internet shoppers use a mobile device in their quest for automotive information.”3

With more than half of auto shoppers already using mobile devices and all of them texting, it’s time for auto dealerships to start using text messages to sell cars.

If you’re not sure what’s going on with your customers, look in the repair waiting area, look around Wal-mart, take a walk in a park. Everyone is looking at their phones, young and old. 

How to Make Texting Work for You

There are a few steps you should take before you start using texting for your dealership.

Get a sales floor cell phone. This is the number you will publish online and in your print ads. 

Your sales team will take over your text messaging if you let them. This will present a whole bunch of problems for you. First, you won’t have access to those numbers later to market to. Second, you have no idea what was said by any salesperson to a customer. Third, if they’re busy, the text will go unanswered.

Remember: Over 95% of texts are read and most of those within five minutes. (If you don’t believe those statistics, consider your own phone use). People expect a quick response from texting. Be sure they get it.

You will want to get your messages onto a computer screen where they’re easier to manage. There are a lot of services available that will let you send and receive messages on your computer. Both Android and iOS have free applications that will do it right from your texting app. Most other applications will let you send bulk text messages to market your dealership. Again, over 95% of text messages get read. There is no other way of contacting your customers that’s more effective.

Have the computer application where someone can watch it, on the manager’s computer, or the receptionist’s, or on a shift phone that someone is assigned to carry around every shift.

Build a text marketing strategy

Using an online service to send bulk messages, create a text marketing strategy. Look to use those text messages to promote specials on the lot or to remind customers when it’s time for an oil change. 

You can increase your brand loyalty through text messages by being consistent, not texting too often, and giving good information that everyone can use. 

Be sure that any incoming texts are responded to quickly, within five minutes, and that your outgoing texts are professional and informative. Keep it short and don’t hard sell via text. Through text messages is not the time to start asking a thousand questions and doing the “Come down and we’ll show you,” tactic. Be cool and responsive. That’s what people who text are expecting and need.

Text messaging as a superpower

Text marketing has not been adopted by many dealerships, in spite of the number of people using it and how easy it is. 

If your dealership starts doing text marketing, you have a good chance of dominating your area and building a whole new group of loyal customers.