The Forgettable Use of ILM
ILM or Internet lead management is a term that describes getting your leads online and dealing with many of them online. While the process of selling cars ultimately leads to in-person interactions most of the time, the people you meet who will ultimately buy your cars will almost always have an online interaction with your business prior to physically coming in. Nowadays, it is simply too easy and commonplace to check out a dealership prior to going in for most customers to avoid doing this.
Obviously, you have a website that you keep updated on a reasonably frequent basis. Additionally, you have most likely started to use social media to keep your customers updated on what is going on with your dealership. You may have even gotten to the point where you have a regular blog where posts describe the various pain points that your customers have along with solutions to those problems. These can all fall under the heading of lead management on the Internet, but they are not the entire plan at all. Managing your used car leads can be an intensive and very challenging process that encompasses a detailed marketing plan.
What many people forget, both in dealerships and in other types of businesses, is that you need to plan thoroughly to engage the leads you encounter online. If you forget to engage your potential customers, there is a far smaller likelihood that they will become your actual paying customers. Even worse, if you do not engage them with a cohesive plan, there is a far lower likelihood that they will return to you later on when they want to purchase their next vehicle or refer you to others. Consider that every “share” you receive on social media is essentially a batch of referrals that are simply waiting to be opened and converted.
CRM as an Easily Forgotten Part of Customer Service
Customer service management or CRM is not merely keeping tabs on how many sales you have made relative to the number of leads you have generated over a given time period. While many businesses act this way, CRM is far more than simply checking leads to see if they have recently made a purchase. CRM is all about keeping the customer engagement experience a constant one through making sure your customers never forget who you are and what you do. While there is a golden mean, it is better to be known and occasionally bothersome than to be forgotten.
Consider the advertising maxim that any given ad will likely only appeal to one percent of the people it reaches. This one percent is the people who want to buy in the near future, and these are the people you want to target. Without keeping your customers properly organized, you may be missing out on a lot of people who want to buy cars and who would be happy to do so from you. If you ignore this desire, you are ignoring the very people who make your business successful in the first place.
The sales process begins with finding used car leads, but this process goes much further than simply taking the leads you have found and calling them. You have to build a certain level of rapport and credibility within these people’s minds before you ask for the order, or else you will fall into “telemarketer”and “spammer” territory. You want your offer of purchasing a new vehicle to come when the customer trusts that you know how they are feeling and want to help them, not just because you want to make a sale.
Automotive CRM software is powerful for a lot of reasons that are easy to forget, but the most powerful aspect of this software is its ability to organize customers and potential customers into groups based on demographic data. You can find out whom you have been neglecting versus who you have been marketing to with consistency, and this can help you to target the right group instead of attempting to open up every lead with every marketing message you send out. It is possible to wear out the warmth of a lead by becoming bothersome, which people on the Internet can easily get out of through unsubscribing.
Are You Opening Leads Successfully?
Opening leads successfully begins with understanding them and their buying habits. If your email campaign’s only goal is to gain phone numbers so you can bombard potential customers with requests to come in, you may be missing the full power of what a campaign can do. The sales process is very rarely a rapid one, and often it can take months of slowly opening up a potential lead before they are ready to come in and make their purchase. Automotive CRM software and properly used ILM will help you make this courtship process into a gentle one that will entice potential customers to come in by garnering their trust.
It is a fairly casual process for someone to “like” one of your social media posts. However, what many businesses do not realize is that every like represents a potential lead you may begin to court immediately. This is the beginning of a potential customer who now knows that your dealership exists, and who has appreciated something you have put forward. Did they like a particular model of car from your inventory, or did they like a tip you provided for taking better care of their vehicle or getting more from their trade in?
Successful lead management begins with knowing what initially drew the positive attention of a given individual. This positive attention is the start of the sales process, but it can be easy to forget about these leads. Many dealerships forget about a host of potential leads, and as a result they leave a small fortune “on the table” that they could be closing.
What Leads are You Not Using?
Every lead in your email marketing list is a person you need to make contact with on a regular basis. You can track who reads your email blasts as a way to better understand what engages a particular customer type, and use this information to better engage them. Also, you can proactively reach out to those who have liked, commented on or simply read your social media posts. Every individual who has interacted with your dealership online is a potential lead, and it can be easy to forget to go after these leads simply because of inexperience in the online world.
Proper engagement of forgotten leads comes down to understanding who these people are and what entices them to buy. Forgetting this will cost you sales.