On this week’s episode of Auto Marketing Now, Brian Pasch details the benefits and convenience of communicating with your customers via text message rather than email.
Brian Pasch: Welcome to Auto Marketing Now. On today’s show we’re going to talk about stopping the insanity with our focus on email and moving to more realtime messaging with consumers. Of course, we’re going to have our popular email grab bag, so what are we waiting for? Let’s get started with today’s show.
Brian Pasch: It’s not uncommon for me to get a call and a dealer asks for an audit. We do a complete digital audit at PCG Digital and we take a look at their Google Analytics data, their campaign reports, their third party classified reports. We look what they’re doing in social media, but we also dive into the CRM and take a look at how dealers are responding to leads and the intensity and the strategy to create a two way engagement with consumers. We look at their website merchandising and while after doing this for years and years, I wanted to share with you my frustration that our industry is stuck in lead thinking that’s 20 years old and they really haven’t modernized the sales process.
Brian Pasch: If you want to see the most successful dealers in the country that are taking marketing opportunities and increasing showroom traffic, they have one thing in common. They’ve moved from a focus on email collection to text messaging or real time engagement. Before I go into today’s segment and message, would you be real for a moment? I have a very active travel schedule. Most people who are watching today’s show have a busy work life, especially here in automotive. When was the last time you didn’t respond to someone’s text message if it needed a response? For most of us, whether I’m jumping on a plane or in between filming segments here at CBT, I’m looking at my text messaging. I’m not looking at my emails. I know if I go to my emails, it’s like a rat’s nest. There’s so much distraction in there, and more importantly, I get hundreds of emails a day for different reasons and it’s a little overwhelming, but I do get back hopefully to most people who send me an email in a timely manner, but text messaging is instant.
Brian Pasch: Think about today’s consumer. They understand how to shop for any product. They have no problem finding exactly what they want. They understand there’s manufacturers websites. They understand that there’s third party classified websites and they understand that dealers have their own websites. If somebody’s interested in a new car, say a Honda Pilot, they have no problem going to Honda, estimating what the car is going to cost and the configuration that they desire. They have no problem going to CarGurus or cars.com and looking what fair market prices is. They may use TrueCar as another alternative and then when they get to the dealer’s website they’re armed with some ranges, some understanding of what they want and they start saying, “Well, what does this dealer have in stock?”
Brian Pasch: When a consumer starts to engage with a dealer, it will be hard for me to say that they are at the beginning of their shopping journey. In fact, I would say most consumers who start to ask questions of dealer are really testing the dealer out to see if this is the place they want to do business with. Dealers who are watching today’s show know if somebody shows up on your lot, it’s your sale to lose. Let me say that again. If they show up on your lot, they’ve done the research, they’re very interested in doing business with you. It’s more of a test on how you treat them, how transparent you are, how painless you make the process.
Brian Pasch: But we don’t think of that on our website because our website, well is just for leads. I want you to think about changing that strategy. You see, the most successful dealers turn their marketing dollars into website visits and engagement, and when people want to engage, they’re using texting. Meaning they are using texting as a way to jump off the email addiction and start real time conversations. Now I want to be fair, the CRM platforms, the majority of CRM platforms, that dealers use have not really embraced fully integrated texting to the scale I would like to see.
Brian Pasch: Secondly, dealers are afraid of texting because of compliance. Let me just tell you that there are solutions out there today that are CRM platforms and engagement platforms that are opt-in compliant, that give consumers exactly what they want, which is information in a timely manner in the way that they get other information. My 22 year old son Connor loves to text, hates to email. But if you were really honest when someone comes to your website and you have a button for test drive form required email, not required phone, no texting option, just give me your email. Get e-price, no phone requirement, no texting option, just email.
Brian Pasch: Everything we’re doing is forcing people to use an outdated, cumbersome communication channel, which of course you and I know from personal experience and then when we force them we continue to communicate via email where many of those conversations they would like to take and move to a messaging platform. Whether it’s Facebook Messenger, their native SMS messenger, WhatsApp, depending on which country you’re in. WhatsApp is very popular in Mexico for example, and in Europe.
Brian Pasch: What choices are you giving consumers today to engage with you? I just want to tell you that email delivery is hard. Most dealers are using shared servers, which means their server that they’re using is shared by other dealers, other companies. Those servers can get blacklisted for a day or two and then fixed. The reason why Conversica is so popular in automotive is because they have a super clean email server. They never group blast. They are always email compliant and they have no links or graphics to trigger spam filters. Their email server is like the cleanest of clean can be.
Brian Pasch: Dealers get impatient and they’ll send out a 5,000 or 10,000 email blast to their database, get them in, get them in. They don’t realize that they’ve just jeopardized all one-on-one communication with their most engaged customers. You see, we need to move from being so email focused into more texting and messaging. It’s where the world is going. I mean, if you’ve not seen the demo from LivePerson, you should see the amazing tools they have to allow Apple business chat to actually place orders with some of the major home renovation companies like a Home Depot and Lowe’s. I mean, it’s amazing through messaging now I don’t even have to go to the website. I can order lumber, wood, bird seed, have it delivered to my house in a couple of seconds through messaging.
Brian Pasch: Messaging is the best way to communicate with customers in service. Do you know a majority of the phone calls that come to the dealership are checking when’s my car ready? LivePerson has an amazing service product that we’re actually integrating into our Fixed Ops coaching strategies. When dealers ask us to renovate their whole communication strategy, it’s giving a lot of their 20% utilization out of the service drive. Meaning if they have 10 service bays, it’s like having two more, having 12. Why? We’re just cutting down the time on the lift. How were we doing it? It’s not by email, it’s not by phone calling. It’s by messaging.
Brian Pasch: If Fixed Ops has clearly demonstrated that they can have amazing multi-million-dollar, over the course of a year, lift in service because we’re using messaging, why aren’t we using it in sales? Why are we so reluctant to ask a person for their mobile number? For me the best way to communicate with me, tell me when I need to be somewhere, send me a link to a restaurant to be on time or a meeting place is to send me a text with a link. That’s the best way. I don’t lose text messages. I lose emails all the time. I don’t know where they go. They just evaporate somewhere.
Brian Pasch: So on today’s show, I really want you to focus for 2020 and beyond where you really take a hard look at your website. Are you encouraging communication through the broken process of email or are you really encouraging two way communication on your website or if you’re going to use forms for after hours, really give the option for texting. Is your CRM going to be texting centric or email centric? Is your whole philosophy about serving customers one that says let’s do it the way the consumers want or no, they have to do it my way through email?
Brian Pasch: Again, the most productive dealers, the ones that are maximizing the marketing spend and creating the best wow experience in the service driver all using messaging and really leaning in hard. Is that something you’re ready to do for the months and years ahead? I hope you will. If you need help in transforming your communication strategy, shoot me an email just firstname.lastname@example.org. Be more than happy to get you set up with the right technology and the right people to help transform your communication strategies to lift website conversion, to increase service efficiency and of course create a better customer experience but for both sales and service.
Brian Pasch: Dealers who take action will not be disappointed. Unfortunately, many of you will continue to do what you’re doing because it’s easy. Remember, innovators, leaders don’t look at what’s easy, but they look what’s best for the customer and their business. And that ends our segment on modern communication strategies using messaging.
Brian Pasch: And now for today’s email grab bag question. “Brian, I’ve been following your writings, rogue one internet marketing manager about having a separate Google My Business listing for sales, service, parts and body shop. But how does this impact our review strategy? We use Podium to drive consumers to our Google My Business listing.”
Brian Pasch: This is a great question and dealers may push back on my answer, but when you see the benefits of having standalone GMB for sales, service and parts, you’ll be laughing all the way to the bank. Your sales communications to the customers who purchased a new or used car should be directed to your sales page. All of your service customers should be directed through your Podium app or whatever reputation management product you’re using. Reputation.com or something else should be pushing the service customers to the service Google My Business page and parts customers which are not as often happening each month and most of them are wholesale, the parts managers should be sending out emails to their best customers and asking them to post reviews on the parts page for Google My Business. Three separate listings. Three separate review strategies.
Brian Pasch: So if you really want hyper local search optimization, if you want to dramatically increase your local search visibility, you’re going to need three Google My Business listings and you’re going to need a review strategy for each business. That means contacting your reputation management program provider and directing sales reviews to the sales page, service reviews to the service page, parts reviews to the parts page, and when you do that, you’ll be smiling because while the longterm benefits and the marketing opportunities that you’ll have with three X versus one X is quite amazing.
Brian Pasch: If you have a question and you want to share it with me and I use it on the show, I’ll send you a free copy of my latest book Just Faster. It’s a modern discussion on creating a modern retail selling strategy for today’s shoppers. Thank you so much for watching today’s show, for your contributions through email and the questions that you send in. I look forward to seeing you next week on Auto Marketing Now.
Speaker 1: Thanks for watching Auto Marketing Now with Brian Pasch, this has been a JBF Business Media production.