How can you maximize your internet car sales lead closing rate? In this article, I will address how to sell more cars on the internet.
I’ve been an Internet Manager at one of the largest Audi dealerships in the world for four of my six years, and I’ve sold over 2,000 cars in that time. I’ve developed a set of processes, skills, and strategies that have helped me dominate the hyper-competitive market. On top of my experience doing the job, I’ve been doing extensive research into the topic for the last eight months.
The amount of quality content written about selling cars on the internet is pretty low, with a catch. If you realize that selling cars online is a lot like selling any other physical product online, the world opens up.
I’ve been loading up on some of that content via Jeff Walker’s “Product Launch Formula.” I signed up for a copy of his book on his website, and I received it a few days ago. Jeff Walker began his career selling things online with a stock market email list for which he charged a subscription. He has since branched into helping other people sell items online with his online courses.
Since I just released my book, his content has been incredibly useful.
What does this have to do with “how to sell more cars on the internet?” Well, in my reading of his content, I came upon his list of eight “mental triggers” that can help you sell things online. The more I thought about those triggers, the more I came back to how applicable this stuff was to my fellow Internet Sales managers and BDC reps. Anyone that sells stuff online can leverage these eight triggers to achieve better conversion rates.
In this article I’ll break down all eight triggers:
- Social Proof
Not a bad list! You may already be thinking about how these eight triggers tie into your emails. If so, consider joining our Facebook group to share your thoughts!
According to Jeff Walker, reciprocity is a trigger because if you “Give great stuff and people will naturally want to give back to you.”
How does this apply to our central theme (how to sell more cars on the internet)?
When communicating with a customer on the internet, you have some ways to show how valuable you are. Let’s dive into this by contrasting a typical internet lead first response with a more polished “reciprocity triggering” internet lead first response.
Thanks for expressing interest in the Audi Q5 that we currently have here at our dealer. Let me know if you want to come by to see the car today.
How to Sell More Cars on the Internet: Reciprocity Triggering Response
Thanks for expressing interest in the Audi Q5 that we currently have here at our dealer. I want to make this easy for you, so I’ve attached a window sticker of the vehicle for to review. I’ve also gone ahead and input this car into TrueCar.com and attached the “Fair Market Pricing” report. This should make your buying decision easier!
If you are interested in coming by the dealer I have time available today. I want to make sure to give you my undivided attention, and I have some time for you at 545 pm. Would that work for you?
If you need a ride to the dealer to pick up the car I would be happy to send you an Uber.
This email highlights how the Zag can “give” things to the customer. All he is asking in return? Peter’s business.
Human society is event based. Walker says that “people love events and feeling like they are part of something larger than themselves.” He adds that “going through an event TOGETHER with other people is a core piece of ‘ritual’ … and rituals are among the most powerful experiences that humans have.”
I take this one step further. I think that customers are often looking for an excuse to do business now. Customers want quick satisfaction. Very few customers are sadistic enough to enjoy the long drawn out process of shopping for a car online. They want things fast! The issue is that this desire for “fast” can run perpendicular to their desire for a “good deal.”
In your emails, you can leverage this “event-based” trigger with… events: sales events, special events, and the like.
These events trigger customers who are looking for a reason to buy now by making them feel like the timing is “serendipitous.”
I’ve had this conversation with my girlfriend before:
GF: You know we really need a new vacuum honey… this one is getting old!
Andrei: Huh? Really? I think it works fine?
GF: It’s the carpet spinning part that isn’t working very well, plus the battery is dying. Still has a few months left in it I’m sure, but I’d rather just let me sister use it until it breaks and just get a new one.
Andrei: Alright I’ll pick one up next time at Target
GF: Actually… there having a sales event this weekend so I’ll just pick one up today…
This “excuse” to get something is what sales events trigger. Just do it now, there is a sale!
You can harness this with your emails.
How to Sell More Cars on the Internet: Event-Based Response
When responding to a sales lead or inbound call, try this:
Customer: I’m interested in getting pricing on that Gray Q7, I’m looking to buy in the next two weeks…
Internet Sales Rep: That’s perfect actually! That Gray Q7 is actually part of 72 hour sales event we are having this weekend! Not only is the car going to be priced aggressively, we also are going to have a BBQ going for all our customers!
Customer: Oh, wow. That sounds perfect…
The sale is an excuse for immediate satisfaction.
In PLF, Walker mentions how anticipation can be a huge mental buying trigger.
“Few things capture our attention and imagination more than anticipation.”
Why is Christmas such a dominant force in the world of business? The anticipation of giving and getting presents is addicting. Customers love the thrill of imagining how their loved ones will feel when they get their present. It makes gifts special.
It also makes shopping for a car special. You know who leveraged this? Tesla. They had over five hundred thousand preorders of the Model 3, more than a year before launch. The prospect of this “affordable all-electric” car convinced over half a million people to give them a thousand dollar deposit.
The marketing push worked so well that many other brands are following suit. Check out Audi’s page for their first full electric. Look familiar?
So how do you leverage the anticipation trigger?
How to Sell More Cars on the Internet: Anticipation Email
When selling cars online, there is often a pause in your communication with a customer between when you set the appointment and when you have them show up. If you have a customer scheduled to come in a week, you probably put away their file until the day before their appointment.
What if, instead, you had a set up of automated emails that send them enticing videos, pictures, and articles about the car they are coming to see?
I bet you’d see fewer appointment cancellations and more conversions.
When I write about how to sell more cars online, I’m continually thinking about social proof. Walker says in his material that “People look to other people for clues on how to act.”
Selling cars online requires you to build trust, and in today’s business, social proof is critical to converting customers. I’ve talked about Yelp in a number of my posts, and for a good reason. Yelp is, like it or not, one of the critical indicators customers use to pre-judge you.
How to Sell More Cars on the Internet: Yelp to the Rescue
The other weekend I was overbooked. I had four sets of customers come in at the same time, and even with my assistant helping, I couldn’t juggle them effectively. One customer, in particular, was waiting for 25 minutes to speak to me.
When I finally had time to grab him, I expected to be walking into a heat situation. Instead, he said:
“Oh yeah no problem man! I saw your reviews on Yelp, they said you were a busy guy. That’s how I know you’re going to get me a good deal!”
I’ll take it! The customer bought a car, and I dodged a bullet.
Plain old proof. Not social proof (reviews, recommendations, etc.), but real proof. Evidence that your product works.
Walker says that “nothing is more powerful than a demonstration”… and I’m inclined to agree!
It’s easy to have proof when you have the customer on the lot- your test drive is your proof!
How does proof help you to sell more cars online?
How to Sell More Cars on the Internet: Proof
What’s the easiest way to show a customer proof of your product if they are on the other end of an email server?
I’m not asking you to do personalized video messages for your leads. What I do think is worth doing is a Youtube video series showing off the cars you sell on the lot. These videos can be used over and over again and can demonstrate some of the new cool features that interest the customers. This way the customer will get used to hearing your voice, and they will obtain proof of the features!
Think about the resources you have available to build your network today. You have Linkedin, Facebook, Instagram, and your Blog. These are all fantastic ways to build a community of buyers who can refer you business.
How does this answer the question “how to sell more cars on the internet” you ask? Easy!
Make the customers that put in an internet lead find a mutual connection!
How to Sell More Cars on the Internet: Community
Here is an example of how I would do this:
That’s awesome that you work at Facebook! I just sold a customer a car from Facebook two days ago, he works in marketing. You should see if we have any mutual connections on Linkedin (we give referral bonuses if you do!) Here is a link to my Linkedin.
Anyways, I hope you can make it in this weekend for the Q5, I’d love to get you on the road!
Easy. The customer is free to find a connection, which Linkedin makes incredibly easy with it’s 2nd and 3rd-degree connection function.
When customers see the mutual connections, they are likely to reach out and ask their shared relationship about you. If you’ve been doing your job well, this should be a good thing! I’ve had many customers buy from me just because their friends bought from me. The sense of community is strong!
This power of community has come into play with my dedication to the 5% for charity. Since I’ve started giving, I’ve had customers come in because their friends told them about it!
Walker’s 7th trigger is interaction and conversation. This one is a natural extension of everything I’ve taught about internet sales so far on this blog and in the book. The more you communicate with the customer, the more value you can present them, the more likely they will want to buy from you. You have more opportunities to be undeniably likable if you are in conversation with the customer.
Interaction is key. You need to be sending links and having them click. Here are the levels of interaction for an internet customer (from least to most):
- Opening Email
- Clicking Link on Email
- Replying to Email
- Phone Call
As you can see, the phone call is the holy grail of communication, until they get to the dealership. Having a customer click links in the emails you send is better than just opening the emails. Replying is even better.
How to Sell More Cars on the Internet: Conversation/Interaction
Your goal is to create interaction. Check out this email example:
I’ve been thinking about the car you are looking for and I think I have a great idea!
Check out this car I found on my lot: LINK
Does that car seem interesting? I’m free to chat later today, or I can text if you prefer. I have sometime right now if you give me a ring @ PHONE NUMBER.
I talk about this extensively in the Automotive BDC Manifesto:
“Scarcity is a great tool to inspire immediacy in the mind of the customer. Try to subtly let
them know that the car they want won’t be here forever. Comfortable people don’t have a sense
- Automotive BDC Manifesto, Page 26
Walker has his twist: “Where there is less of something, people will inherently want it more.”
The idea is simple, and you can see scarcity in action all the time. People act with urgency when something is limited. Think about the chaos that ensues when popular toys are selling out. Do you remember the “Tickle Me Elmo”?
The toy was first produced in the United States in 1996 and slowly became a fad toy. Some instances of violence were reported over the limited supply amidst heavy consumer demand. People reported that the toy which retailed for $28.99 according to its MSRP, had been advertised in newspapers and on the Internet, with sellers asking up to $1,500 by the end of 1997.
$1500 for that Elmo. Wild! That’s the power of scarcity.
How to Sell More Cars on the Internet: Scarcity
Check out this bit from the BDC manifesto. It’s on page 25, where I am talking about how to handle inbound calls:
BDC Representative: Hi, Miranda at Audi Stevens Creek, how can I help you?
Customer: Hi Miranda. I saw a Ford Escape online, and I was wondering if you still have that
BDC Representative: The Green Ford Escape with 22k miles? Yes, we do! I’ve been keeping an
eye on that car. It’s had a ton of action on it since it was listed a few days ago. I know that a few
customers are thinking of coming this weekend for it. We are first-come-first-serve here, and I
can set you up to see that car at 6 pm today, would that work?
The idea is that the BDC representative is inspiring a feeling of scarcity in regards to the Green Ford Escape. If the customer wants that car, they will do what it takes to get it (never forget the “Tickle me Elmo”!)
Review: How to Sell More Cars on the Internet
In my research on mental triggers for my email marketing, I’ve come upon a treasure trove of excellent content. Jeff Walker’s “Product Launch Formula” had the eight psychological triggers listed in the same order as I do in this article.
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