I was setting up a large, centralized BDC a few weeks ago when one of the agents pushed back while I was detailing the proper use of emails and voicemails.
“People don’t email anymore, and they definitely don’t listen to their voicemails, because millennials dread talking on the phone!” she exclaimed. “Shouldn’t we focus on texting, and not worry about outdated communications?”
To be clear, we were discussing ways to reconnect with an Internet prospect after a form lead submission. Texting, coincidentally, was the very next slide in the training deck. The lesson that followed for this brand-new BDC agent and her coworkers is an important one for everyone in your dealership to learn, especially for those who speak in absolutes and/or believe everybody else is just like them.
Don’t Get Hung Up on Popularity
Texting has been a viable reconnection tool for Internet sales teams for more than a decade. In fact, texting usage overtook voice usage on mobile devices in 2007. This means we’ve long passed the decision stage of “should we text our prospects?” The answer is a resounding “yes” for those who’ve opted-in to receive your SMS messages.
If you’re hoping to communicate with today’s Ups, texting is the most important and effective way to do this. But – and this is the lesson – it’s not the only way. Moreover, anyone who abandons other forms of communication because they’re not as popular as texting is, to put it nicely, a tad shortsighted.
All communication channels are valid because all communication channels are in play. That is, while there are certainly people who prefer texting to email, there are still plenty of prospects who would prefer to work with your team via email. Similarly, just because you don’t listen to your voicemails doesn’t mean that no one else listens to theirs.
From direct mail to phone to email to chat and text, most dealers enjoy a good return on investment (ROI) with every channel. Great salespeople and managers know there is no one way to communicate with every Up, and trying to fit everyone into your favorite way of communicating leads to subpar results.
“Save the hate mail. I’m all for allowing consumers to communicate the way they want.”
Phones Are Still King, However
While many consumers prefer texting because it’s efficient and limits the use of unnecessary greetings, and still others prefer email because it allows them to remain anonymous, your team should be focused on driving its Internet prospects to the phone.
That’s correct. Your processes should all be designed to drive prospects to the phone. Once on the phone, your goal is to set an appointment that shows. Once they show, well, you get how that whole sales thing works, right?
Save the hate mail. I’m all for allowing consumers to communicate the way they want. This doesn’t mean, however, that your team shouldn’t ask for the phone call. The phone offers advantages to you, the seller, that texting and email simply cannot match.
Again, don’t get hung up on popularity, or how you like to communicate, and especially don’t get hung up on how you think the prospect wants to communicate. You should be asking them to reconnect with you via phone, while also providing options for text and email.
Why the phone? It’s simple. When we get a prospect on the phone, we can hear their voice. This allows us to decode meaning and more easily uncover and overcome real objections. People are more honest on the phone than when they are hiding behind a screen. The phone, you see, gives context to what we say and what the prospect says. Context, by the way, that you simply cannot get in text or email.
Finally, the phone is more intimate, which gives us a chance to start building a relationship.
Focus On The Goal
If your goal is to sell more cars to those who submit sales leads to your dealership, resist the pressure to focus solely on the most popular communication medium, or even the one your prospect wants to use. Ensure your team leverages all communication channels and encourage them to take charge when communicating with today’s Ups. This might even mean asking the prospect to move the conversation to the dreaded, outdated phone.