Texting & SMS for Auto Sales Marketing
Everybody has a smartphone. It seems that they’re all on their phones all the time. Oddly, you don’t see people talking on them. You see them tapping out messages.
Texting is how the majority of all communication is happening. “US smartphone users send and receive five times more texts than they make and receive calls.”1
Consumers don’t pick up the phone to ask questions anymore. The first thing they do is search the internet. When they don’t find what they need, or if they want more information, they look for a way to get it without having to talk to someone.
The Car Salesman’s Rep
Let’s face it, car salespeople are famous for being high pressure and provide very little information. If you call a dealership for information, you’ll often get someone who’s not terribly forthcoming with information. Either they don’t know it or they are pushing for you to get down there so they can shove keys in your hand.
They also have a reputation for being poorly trained at using the telephone to sell. Most are used to face-to-face interaction and don’t really work well with a phone on their ear, at least not from someone just looking for information.
Customers considering buying a car might just need a simple question answered, like “Are you open?” or “Is the Fiat in your ad still on the lot?” Most expect that when they call a car dealership, however, they’ll get a ten-minute interrogation into their needs and wants with a strong push to “talk to me when you get here.”
The Power of Texting
Auto dealers are still just discovering the power of texting. There has been a very slow move toward allowing customers to text dealerships, probably because it feels like you can’t then sell to them.
Since your customers are sending and receiving five times more texts than phone calls, why wouldn’t you make texting part of your marketing?
Including texting on your marketing materials will quickly increase contacts from customers. “Call or text 888-829-1110,” will get you lots and lots of texts to ask questions. The customer doesn’t feel like they can be pressured that way, but they get the answers they need.
Your sales team can answer many more questions via text than they can phone calls. It takes a few seconds to answer a text, but a single phone call to answer a single question will often take three or four minutes.
Managing Text Messaging
There are a huge number of text messaging management systems available. Most will allow you to send out text marketing messages on a schedule.
Importantly, they will also show you messages that are coming to your textphone number. You can use a computer to answer questions.
Both Android and iOS have message-to-web applications built-in. These will allow you to display the messages to and from a phone number on a computer. You can set up the manager’s phone, or a company cell phone on the manager’s computer, or for someone else who is in front of their computer all day. They can answer questions, send photos, and do anything else you can do with texting, all from their PC.
Another way to manage text messaging is to have a company phone that is passed around to an assigned person on every shift. There should be someone who is responsible for answering texts. That person keeps the shift on them for the day.
It’s not a great idea to allow your staff to use their personal cell phones to handle company texts. There is no way for you to track what has been sent and what has been responded to. Also, you’re not later able to use those numbers to market to.
Text Messaging is a Powerful Tool
With just a little effort and a change in your ads, you can add text messaging to your toolkit. Your customers will love it, since they’re texting already. Your staff will get more customers and more sales because they are now responsive without being pushy.
Best of all, it’s cheap to do. There are viable solutions that cost no more than a single cell phone line each month. Even a text message marketing platform is about $30 a month for unlimited use.
Turn this “new” way of communicating into your secret weapon.