As technology has evolved, consumer preferences have changed. Today’s consumer prefers fast and easy communication when searching for their perfect vehicle. So how does your dealership stay connected with potential buyers in this day and age? Try texting!
Text messaging, originally known as short message service (SMS), connects you with potential customers in a matter of seconds. We know that texting is high in popularity, but did you know that it’s the most prevalent form of communication for American adults under 50?1 In fact, 97% of text messages are read and of those, 90% are read within just 4-6 minutes.2 And with 81% of all American adults using text messaging,3 it’s clear texting is an essential form of outreach to prospects.
Text messaging allows you to quickly communicate with shoppers, giving them the information they need, when they need it. However, there are a few important do’s and don’ts to keep in mind when using SMS with your customers.
Do: Keep Your Messages Short
People love text messaging because you can quickly send and receive information in a matter of seconds. In fact, text messages have an open rate of 98 percent. Part of the convenience of text messaging is that you can gather information from short messages. When texting your prospective customers, be sure to keep the message between 2-3 sentences at a time.
Do: Proofread Your Texts
Even though you want to keep a casual tone while texting, you should still use full sentences that include punctuation. Be sure to check your spelling and grammar. Before sending the message, ask yourself “Does this fit the tone of our dealership?” and “Does my message come across clearly?”. If you answered yes to both questions, you’re good to go!
Do: Ask for Your Customer’s Consent and Follow FCC Guidelines
Businesses must comply with FCC Guidelines when using SMS marketing. When customers submit a lead on your website, be sure to include a check box for them to consent to receive SMS messages from your business. The FCC also requires an opt-out option for SMS messages. At the bottom of each text, you should include a short code that people can text, such as “STOP,” in order to opt-out.
Do: Respond to Messages As Soon As Possible
Your response time to a submitted lead could make or break a sale. Consider setting up an automated response system, so when customers text you about a unit on your website, they’ll immediately get a message that thanks them for submitting their information and lets them know you will reach back out with more information soon. If you are already having a conversation with your prospective customer, be sure to respond to each text message within 5 minutes. This lets the customer know you are readily available to help them find the perfect unit.
Do: Have a Dedicated Sales Rep for Text Leads
Once you have decided you want to offer texting as a communication channel, you’ll want to appoint a dedicated sales representative for your SMS leads. Since it’s crucial to reach out within the first few minutes of a lead being submitted, this sales rep will focus entirely on reaching out as those leads come in. This way, your dealership will never skip a beat when it comes to leads.
Don’t: Use Slang
While texting should have a casual tone, it’s important to keep your branding in mind. You want people to feel confident in doing business with you, so avoid using abbreviations or slang. Instead, take the time to spell out each word and make your sentences clear and concise.
Don’t: Text Confidential Information
This is a common error among texting with businesses. While it may be more convenient to reference a person’s information via text, that leaves the information unprotected and liable to be stolen. Be sure to transition details such as identification numbers, income, and payment information to a phone call with your customer. This will give the customer peace of mind and protect your business from liability.
Don’t: Text Late At Night
Texting has made communication with customers convenient for business owners and sales professionals. However, you want it to be just as convenient for your customers as it is for you. With that in mind, be sure you only text during the day and early evening. You should avoid sending text messages late at night to help maintain a professional image. You don’t want to accidentally wake your customer up with a text notification, so set a reminder for yourself to follow up with the prospect in the morning.
Don’t: Call Without Permission
Though phone calls are arguably the best way to connect with customers on a personal level, don’t assume you can call just because you’ve already been texting a prospect. Your potential buyer could be at work, in a meeting, or running errands. To avoid any faux pas, you’ll want to text to ask the prospect if you can give them a call at a specific time. Wait for their response, then you can make the call.
Conclusion: Customer service should be a priority for your business, and it’s important to meet your customers’ expectations. In your dealership, you should have multiple communication channels to help connect with your customers as quickly and efficiently as possible. Texting allows you to meet your customer where they are in a matter of seconds after they submit a lead.
Did you know that you have the ability to integrate texting into your dealer page on Boatline? Our text product can be easily added to any package and it will offer you the chance to connect with potential buyers in a whole new way. The texting box will appear on each of your listings, so if consumers have questions about a specific unit, they can ask you in real-time. Contact your Boatline representative today or reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org to learn more about how you can add this key feature to your virtual showroom!
Sources: Gallup Poll1 | Juniper Research2 | Pew Internet Project3