Costa says most online vehicle descriptions (new and used) on dealership websites are not detailed enough for the average online customer who is there to do as much research as possible.
He also sees follow-up as an issue, in both response time and the quality of responses.
“You have to be able to respond quickly,” said Costa. “We call it rapid response. Under 20 minutes is our minimum.”
Five or 10 minutes is even better.
“The trick is to catch someone while they are still online.”
And he cautions never to forget that online tools — email, Facebook, Instagram. etc. — are exactly that. They’re tools to communicate with customers, which could lead to a potential sale.
When it comes to digital responses, Costa said, the end game is always to engage the customer.
“If they didn’t respond to your message, you didn’t make it appealing enough.” His preferred method of communication is video messaging. For this he uses the YouTube Capture App, which allows uploading a video and sending a link to it to a specific person. Only that specific person can see it. The messages are simple; they just show Costa speaking at his desk.
Other best practices used in Bustard’s Internet Department:
• Set daily goals for social-media posts and other digital communications.
• Facebook “likes” are secondary. The more important metric is how many engaged customers are created.
• Become the “social celebrity” in the trading area, recognized from videos and posts.
• There is a perception that online sales produce less gross, but Costa says that dealers can “hold strong on price” as long as the information being relayed builds a story that creates value for the vehicle and the dealership.
• Reach out to the competition a few times a year, digitally, and see how they respond.
• According to Costa, the biggest issue is having the right team in place. Everyone needs buy-in — particularly the sales manager — and to have specific roles they are good at and enjoy.