a blurry image of a car

Just Get ‘Em In! Increasing Sales by 30% in 1 month with Digital Retail and Text Message

Introduction: Embracing the New Era of Digital Retail

In the ever-evolving world of auto sales, one timeless phrase remains: “Just get ’em in!” Yet, today’s customers are no longer enticed by vague promises of “digital retail.” They crave transparency and respect, free from the overblown sales pitches inspired by too much high pressure sales training, coffee and pre-workout. Modern consumers demand honesty and efficiency, and it’s time we adapt.

The automotive sales landscape has drastically changed. Gone are the days when flashy gimmicks and high-pressure tactics could close deals. Today’s consumers are more informed, more connected, and more discerning.

A Man In A Suit With A Caution Tape Around His Arm

They have access to a wealth of information at their fingertips, allowing them to research vehicles, compare prices, and read reviews before ever setting foot in a dealership. As a result, the traditional sales approach that many of us have relied on for years is becoming increasingly obsolete.

Many so-called digital retail tools on the market today are little more than gimmicky lead capture mechanisms on websites. They promise a seamless, point-and-click purchasing experience but fall short because the reality is that most car-buying situations are not that straightforward. Customers often have unique needs and questions that require personalized attention, and they want more than just automated responses—they want genuine, human interaction.

Customers now expect a seamless, efficient, and transparent experience. They want to know that they are being treated with respect and that their time is valued. They are tired of the runaround, the lack of clear information, and the feeling of being manipulated. They want a straightforward process that gives them the information they need to make an informed decision without the hassle and frustration of traditional sales tactics.

In this new era, the phrase “just get ’em in” needs to be redefined. It’s not about physically getting customers into the showroom under false pretenses; it’s about creating an environment where they feel comfortable and confident in their decision to visit your dealership. This means leveraging technology and data to provide a personalized, transparent experience that meets their needs and expectations.

To thrive in this new landscape, dealerships must embrace genuine digital retail and modern communication methods like text messaging. These tools allow us to engage with customers on their terms, providing the information they need in a way that is convenient and efficient. By doing so, we can build trust, improve customer satisfaction, and ultimately drive sales.

The Power of Data in Shaping Digital Retail

I’m an old-school guy at heart, having spent years emphasizing the importance of not give too much information over the phone. I’ve managed call centers with 100 reps who mastered the art of “just getting them in.” The strategy worked well in an era where customers had limited access to information and relied heavily on dealership visits to gather details. However, it’s time to acknowledge that data, not tradition, dictates success in today’s market.

A few years ago, a challenge prompted me to dive into the data, and the results were eye-opening. I was encouraged to examine the impact of providing more information upfront versus sticking to the traditional approach. What I discovered was transformative. Each additional piece of customer information significantly increased the likelihood of showroom visits. When we had details like trade-in information, credit profiles, or vehicle preferences, customers were more likely to follow through.

Moreover, the data revealed that customers who shared documents like driver’s licenses, utility bills, and pay stubs via text message showed up at 2-3 times the rate of “cold leads” with minimal profiles. The data was very clear to me and was sold on making the change at Carlson Chevorlet.

Boosting Show Rates with Text Message Communication

In September 2023, we decided to implement these data-driven insights at Carlson Chevrolet. John Carlson and I, while rooted in old-school values, recognized the need to embrace new-school strategies to keep pace with modern consumer expectations. We focused on integrating text message communication and early information gathering into our sales process.

One significant change was incorporating soft credit pulls early in the process. Instead of our BDC avoiding questions, we started asking them. We started requesting a soft pull right off the bat. We ask if they want a trade value on their trade. This approach allowed us to identify favorable credit profiles sooner and tailor our interactions accordingly and less than favorable credit profiles and take a different approach that would be best for their situation. Every customers situation is different and they want you to take the time to understand their situation.

Here’s a story that highlights the impact of these changes:

A customer in Raleigh, 1.5 hours from our store, was interested in a Silverado. We did a soft pull and realized we had a great credit profile. We moved forward with the trade, got photos of the trade sent in, and then secured a full credit app—all over text message. We penciled the deal and sent a real number to the customer, including the interest rate and all the details.

The customer came back saying, “The dealer in Raleigh is cheaper,” but we were already at our bottom line. Our manager replied, “Sir, we did everything over text message. We were honest and upfront about everything. What you have here is a real number. Maybe call that other dealer and ask them about the interest rate or trade value. See if they will provide it.” The customer called back five minutes later and said, “Those guys are assholes,” and we delivered the Silverado to his front door.

A Sign On The Side Of A Road

This strategic shift has driven a remarkable 30% increase in sales September 2023 and a significant rise in high-credit deals. When John Carlson acquired Carlson Chevrolet in 2021`, the dealership was operating at 30% sales efficiency. Fast forward to 2024, and their year-to-date performance is now double that of the second-place Chevrolet dealership in the region. The changes we implemented at Carlson Chevrolet exemplify the power of adapting to new consumer behaviors and leveraging technology to create a more effective, customer-centric sales process.

Real Results from Digital Retail Strategies

Large metro dealerships with massive advertising budgets and vast inventories might not worry as much about customers needing detailed information upfront. They can afford to cast a wide net, relying on their sheer volume and extensive marketing efforts to attract a steady stream of customers. These dealerships often operate under the assumption that their size and visibility will naturally draw in buyers, regardless of the sales process details.

However, for a small rural dealership like Carlson Chevrolet, where resources are limited, every customer counts. We don’t have the luxury of relying on overwhelming advertising budgets or vast inventories to keep our sales figures healthy. Instead, we must focus on optimizing each customer interaction to ensure the highest possible conversion rates.

The real results we’ve seen from implementing digital retail strategies at Carlson Chevrolet underscore the importance of adapting to modern consumer expectations. While large dealerships might rely on their size and budgets, smaller dealerships like ours thrive by enhancing the customer experience through transparency, efficiency, and personalization. These changes have not only boosted our sales and show rates but have also improved the quality of our deals and overall customer satisfaction. In today’s competitive automotive market, embracing digital retail and text message communication is not just an option—it’s a necessity for sustainable success.

Embrace the Future with Text Message and Digital Retail

In today’s rapidly evolving automotive market, success hinges on the ability to adapt and innovate. Traditional sales tactics, while effective in the past, no longer resonate with the informed, connected, and discerning customers of today. They demand transparency, efficiency, and respect for their time, and they prefer interactions that fit seamlessly into their digital lives.

It’s important to acknowledge that sales figures like Grant Cardone, Andy Elliott and Joe Verde are phenomenal at what they do—they could sell ice to an Eskimo. However, if customers aren’t answering the phone, even the best sales techniques won’t work. The data is clear: customers prefer text messages that allow them to communicate on their terms and at their pace. Adapting to this preference is crucial for capturing and retaining their attention.

A Person Holding A Phone In A Car

At TECOBI, we specialize in helping dealerships of all sizes modernize their communication strategies. We provide the tools and expertise needed to navigate the complexities of today’s market, ensuring that every customer interaction is efficient, transparent, and tailored to meet their needs.

Stop relying on outdated tactics and start embracing the future of automotive sales. Implementing text message communication and digital retail strategies can transform your dealership, driving growth, and ensuring long-term success. The time to act is now—just get ’em in, but do it the right way.

Ready to revolutionize your dealership’s sales process? Let TECOBI guide you to a future where man and machine work seamlessly side by side, creating a customer experience that is second to none.

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Jason Girdner
Jason Girdner

Jason Girdner is a visionary entrepreneur and the driving force behind TECOBI, a pioneering automotive advertising technology company renowned for its innovative approach to dealership marketing and sales. With a rich background in automotive sales and a deep passion for technology, Jason co-founded TECOBI to address the evolving communication preferences in the automotive industry, particularly the shift towards text messaging as a primary communication channel.

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