Don’t wait for customers to engage with your online store.
Use your database to its full advantage.
While showrooms have reopened, some customers may prefer to continue shopping from the safety of home. Send an email blast to remind them about your online capabilities, including digital dealmaking, remote test drives, home vehicle delivery, and service pickup or delivery. You can also specify what practices you’ve put in place to protect their safety.
Additionally, we encourage you to go through your database and personally touch base with all active prospects that have shown interest in a vehicle in the past three to four weeks. Even those who have gone cold and become unresponsive may re-engage, knowing that you offer both in-store and at-home buying experiences.
Increase engagement with your third-party leads.
Make sure you’re putting your best foot forward with inquiries coming from third-party lead providers. Turn off auto-responders and, instead, reply with personalized messages that include videos and links to pre-configured deal sheets based on the vehicle of interest.
People submitting leads through third parties right now are much more serious buyers. Try to find out what’s driving their purchase during the pandemic. It could be that they need a reliable vehicle to provide essential services like healthcare, manufacturing or grocery distribution. Or it could be that they’ve experienced financial hardship and need to downsize or get rid of their vehicle completely. Regardless of the reason, be empathetic. If you can help them find a vehicle that meets their needs, the more likely they will be to purchase from you.
Make business personal.
During challenging times, businesses that show empathy and provide customers with solutions to their unique needs stand to benefit from brand loyalty long after this pandemic has passed. Start by turning off CRM auto-responders and connect with customers personally. Learn about their current situation and guide them through how you can be of help to them.
Focus on equity mining, lease returns and financial issues.
With the volume of proactive purchases declining, it’s a good time to do some equity mining and really think through which of your current customers might be more likely to buy.
Contact customers with enough equity to upgrade their vehicles at the same payment level. You can also proactively reach out to customers who will be coming off lease in the next few months. You can highlight the fact that they can take advantage of special incentives that many OEMs are offering.
Identify customers with high monthly payments, or who you think might be overleveraged. Given that the current crisis has impacted so many people financially, now is a good time to check in and see if they need to downsize or sell their car.
Leverage OEM programs to the fullest.
Check if there are OEM programs available to help customers, who are suffering financial hardships because of the pandemic, to make payments on their current car or buy a new one. For example, both Ford and GM have released payment relief and deferral plans to help buyers and current owners delay or reorganize payments, if needed.
Let customers know about any OEM programs that could help them at this time by integrating it within your marketing message on your site, in email and social media, and in paid advertising.