Dialing for Dollars: You are making your customers cringe when you call them

In the evolving landscape of automotive sales, text messaging in car sales is emerging as a pivotal strategy for enhancing customer engagement and responsiveness. This article explores the transformative shift from traditional phone calls to a text-first communication approach, exemplified by the innovative practices of Carlson Chevrolet’s recent strategy might just hold the key to a silent revolution in customer engagement.

Carlson Chevrolet’s initial text message to new leads is a prime example of their customer-centric approach. They’ve crafted a message that embodies their text-first strategy, emphasizing a relaxed, no-pressure communication style. By inviting customers to engage via text, they acknowledge the modern consumer’s preference for digital interaction. This innovative greeting sets the tone for a comfortable dialogue, encouraging customers to ask questions at their convenience and paving the way for a more amicable sales process.

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Carlson Chevrolet’s recent shift in lead engagement strategy reveals a significant insight into consumer behavior in the automotive industry. By analyzing the data, it becomes evident that customers are more receptive to text messages than to phone calls when first contacting a dealership. This text-first approach resulted in an astounding 88% engagement rate from new CarGuru leads, as shown in the attached performance report.

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Carlson Chevrolet is flipping the script by putting the phone down and texting first. This strategic move comes from a revealing insight: customers are dodging calls but will text back. A study from their dealership showed an astounding 88% engagement rate on CarGurus leads via text messages before calling. In contrast, calling first led to a 20% drop in engagement. This stark difference is a clear indicator that decision-makers might need to rethink their strategy. In an era where consumers are bombarded with calls, a text message feels like a whisper amidst the noise—a whisper that leads to more cars sold.

The auto industry is witnessing a paradigm shift in consumer behavior, mirroring the success of digital retail giants like Carvana, which offer a no-pressure, point-and-click car buying experience. Traditional dealerships are recognizing that the aggressive sales tactics of the past may be alienating the modern consumer, who often prefers to gather information passively and at their own pace. This is brought clear in the fact that dealers are having a hard time getting customers to answer their phone calls. Often only 1-2 out of 10 calls to new leads gets answered. How low will this need to drop before we get the clue that customers don’t want to talk on the phone, when submitting leads online?

Recent insights suggest that contacting a lead with a phone call within the first five minutes can cause a significant drop in engagement rates, by up to 20%. This decrease is likely due to the customer’s apprehension of being subjected to follow-up calls, deterring them from engaging further. In contrast, a text-first approach allows customers to remain passive in the buying process, without the immediate pressure of a sales call. By adapting to this new consumer preference, dealerships could potentially avoid losing out on car deals and foster a more customer-centric sales environment.

The strategic shift at Carlson Chevrolet illustrates the profound impact that responsive adaptation to consumer preferences can have on sales performance. In October, without increasing their advertising spend or altering their lead sources, the dealership implemented a text-first strategy. This pivot from the industry-standard phone call approach resonated with their customers’ desire for a less invasive, more controlled interaction, resulting in a remarkable sales increase from an average of 70 cars to over 90 cars per month. This substantial growth underscores the potential for dealerships to harness the power of digital communication preferences to drive sales and suggests a broader application for such strategies.

TECOBI stands at the forefront of the automotive industry as the first Text Centric lead management system, tailored specifically for the modern consumer. Recognizing the shift in customer communication preferences, TECOBI’s innovative platform focuses on engaging customers through text messaging, aligning with their desire for convenience and immediacy. This pioneering approach allows dealerships to connect with their audience effectively, fostering interactions that customers find comfortable and non-intrusive, thereby revolutionizing the way car buying experiences begin and deals are closed.

Is it digital retail that customers want, or just an easier car buying experience where they don’t feel pressured into buying or talking to a salesperson on the phone?

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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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