The automotive industry is facing uncertain times. With early projections predicting that only 16.8 million new cars will be sold in the coming year, 2018 is shaping up to be the second straight year of declining auto sales. While the decrease is nowhere near as severe as it was during the Great Recession, when sales went from 16 million to just over 10 million in two years, it does speak to a changing market.
In order to thrive during this period of subdued activity in the market, it is more important than ever for dealerships to actively cultivate new leads and attract new customers. With a growing number of shoppers turning to the Internet to research what cars they should buy and where they should buy them, live chat is one of the most important tools a dealership can leverage to engage with potential customers.
Live chat providers like Florida’s Gubagoo turn dealership websites into virtual showrooms, giving visitors the opportunity to chat or text with remote sales people 24/7. Because they have access to a dealership’s inventory, sales representatives can field queries about available models, prices, deals, and financing, and can even set up test drives. Not only does this allow dealerships to generate and pursue sales around the clock, it also increases the likelihood that casual browsers will turn into serious sales prospects.
In addition to turning dealership websites into more proactive lead-generating platforms, one of the most important benefits of automotive chat technology is that it greatly expands a dealership’s sales team. Dealership staff can monitor and jump into chat conversations if they see an opportunity to close a deal, which means they spend less time pursuing unpromising leads and more time doing closing deals.
A lot of research has been done into how best to close a sales deal, and most experts agree that keeping a potential customer in the conversation and creating a sense of urgency around the sale is vital to success. Not only does live chat help cultivate leads, but its unique ability to move from fielding general queries to having a serious conversation about a sale makes it an invaluable tool for getting to that all-important yes. If a sales representative can get a potential customer to submit an application for a credit check or book a test drive, there is a much greater chance that lead will turn into an actual sale.
Over the past thirty years, the whole retail industry has had to adapt to the way the Internet is re-shaping shopping habits. Just like having a website is no longer optional, in the competitive world of automotive sales, having some kind of chat software will likely soon become a necessary part of doing business. Those dealerships that can take advantage of this new technology earlier on will be far better positioned when it becomes standard across the industry.
With sales numbers for 2018 already starting to come in, industry watchers are reaffirming their gloomy prognostications about this year’s sales outlook. But this doesn’t mean individual dealerships should give up on pursuing higher numbers than last year. By leveraging the best tools available to reach new customers, dealerships can make themselves stand out from the crowd and turn more leads into sales than ever before.