#internet auto sales
Effective Email Templates
One of the most common requests the Dealix Dealer Newsletter receives from dealers is for effective email templates. While telephoning your new Internet prospect as soon as you receive a lead is an essential part of your sales process, the fact is that an email may be the first communication your Internet prospect gets from you. Thus, they are incredibly important for setting the tone for the relationship, and building trust. Here are a few key principles to follow when constructing effective response emails. These templates are part of The Cobalt Group’s Breakfast of Champions Seminars that are being held in key cities across the country. Check the Internet Training and Industry Reminders section in this issue for upcoming Breakfast of Champions dates and locations.
Principle 1: In a world where most response emails look the same, construct emails that truly represent your dealership.
All dealerships believe they’re different. So why are they all sending out pretty much the same response email? If you believe you’re different, and that there’s a good reason for car buyers to shop with you rather than somewhere else, your emails should make this clear. Including branding information such as your dealership’s logo, your name, and a photo to differentiate yourself.
Principle 2: Make your auto-response email do its job.
Some dealers rely too heavily on auto-responders. Others go too far in the opposite direction and use them too little, or not at all. You’ll find the sweet spot and you’ll construct a better auto-response email if you keep in mind the auto-responder’s true purpose. It should:
? Acknowledge receipt of the customer’s inquiry
? Establish a next step, including a timeframe
? Create the sense that you are a knowledgeable and competent professional who is committed to meeting the customer’s needs
Principle 3: Format your emails for maximum readability.
By and large, customers will not read a large block of text: it presents a visual challenge they’re usually unwilling to accept. If you construct your email out of short paragraphs, no more than a sentence or two long, customers are more likely to read to the end. Even if they don’t read every paragraph completely, they will absorb more and that means not just the information you’re conveying; but the underlying sense of who you are.
Principle 4: Plant a seed.
If your email is constructed out of short paragraphs, you can devote one of these paragraphs near the end to “planting a seed.” Closing the deal may be days, weeks, or even months away, but mentioning (not pushing) a special on satellite radio and providing a link to the satellite provider, for example, may help you sell that option when the time comes. The same goes for F I products.
Principle 5: Answer the customer’s questions.
When a customer has a specific question, failing to answer that question directly is the biggest mistake you can make. This doesn’t mean that in answering a question about price, for example, you can’t say more. Use the occasion to take control. You can and should explain what features aren’t included in a vehicle at a given price; you can and should tell the customer that a nearly identical used vehicle can be had for thousands less.
What does this mean in terms of an email template? One, a template is just that: a foundation that your ISMs can build upon to create a customized and effective communication for each customer. Two, a template should be constructed so that it offers ISMs a menu of choices appropriate for the situation.
Principle 6: Earn the right to ask for an appointment.
When you’re dealing with a walk-up, you don’t ask for the sale immediately after shaking hands and introducing yourself. When you’re dealing with an Internet lead, you’re selling an appointment. Asking for that appointment without earning the right to do so is every bit as inappropriate as trying to close the sale with a floor-up as soon as they walk onto the lot. If you haven’t yet made a compelling case for why the customer should deal with you, you’re moving too fast.
Principle 7: Don’t skimp on the contact information.
Every email from an ISM should contain complete contact information, including the ISM’s and any other appropriate store personnel, as well as general location, hours and contact information for the dealership. Including this information every time conveys a sense of commitment and availability.
When you work with an in-store customer, you understand that there’s a sales process, and you know how to bring the customer into it. Dealing with an Internet customer should be no different. The immediate goal may be to bring the person in for an appointment rather than to sell the car; but there is a process, and every email should be designed to move the customer through that process to the next step.