In today’s world of social media and smart devices people no longer like to pick up the phone and call places to get more information about the availability of products and services they are considering. This is truer in retail automotive than any other high ticket item. Car salespeople and service writers have a reputation for being less than highly trained, knowledgeable and helpful on the phone. Today consumers want the ability to ask a quick question via text rather than go through the five-minute interrogation and endless follow-up they feel is waiting if they call. That being said, why do most dealerships still have no easy way for their customers to reach out via text message?

Integrating text into your marketing

The phone numbers you place on all of your marketing should have the ability to receive text messages as well as phone calls and you should be encouraging your audience to text you. Customers that are comfortable tend to buy more and to spend more. It only makes sense that dealerships should contribute to their customers’ level of comfort by making it easy to communicate via text message.

Anyone with much experience with direct mail should understand that some markets are more receptive and some more brutal than others. Seattle is one of the more brutal markets which notoriously has a below average direct mail response rate. A Seattle dealer Jet Chevrolet recently decided to give text messaging a try with his mail and added a call or text number to his mail pieces. This client’s average direct mail response before adding text over the past year was just under half a percent at .045%. With just some simple changes to his mailer to say Text or Call Us @ (number) his response rate more than doubled in one day!

Simple fact is, if you are not making text available in all your marketing, you are losing potential customers because they don’t want to pick up the phone and call you. They may see your advertisement and have some interest but have become so accustomed to communicating in a digital world that they don’t feel comfortable calling you. Give them the option to TEXT and you will start to see substantial increases in the number of responses your advertisements generate.

Managing text communications

Now comes the management of these Text messages. This is where a qualified and experienced texting technology partner can help. Find a tool to help you take control of your text communications within the dealership. You need more than just the ability to allow your customers to text you. You should also want to be able to monitor, control and ultimately own the correspondence your people have with your customers. If your people are using their personal cell phones with their personal texting plans, you will have little ability to monitor and no ability control or own the communications. Don’t let a disgruntled employee take your customers with them to a competing dealership or even worse a drunk employee to publicly embarrass you and your dealership.

It is important that you make text available in every place you have a phone number advertised or posted. For your free copy of a dealership’s texting check list please email:

This article was featured in the July issue of AutoSuccess Magazine

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