This very millisecond, somewhere on the interwebs, a customer is about to press “Click Here for a Quote.” This customer is moments away from reaching dealers’ CRMs. They bite their nails, pondering the ramifications of giving out their personal information for the promise of super-awesome dealer quotes. The risk seems worth it, so they proceed… but then change their phone number slightly because that way maybe they’ll only receive quotes via email. Hopes are high. They refresh their inbox. Dealers are responding. Let’s follow along the most likely path taken by this internet shopper.
Dealer Response Round 1: Auto-Responders
Nearly every dealer sends this shopper an auto-response message. It’s nothing special. Some responses offer questions: Do you have a trade? Are you buying or leasing? What colors do you like? But our shopper had requested answers, so she waits. Disgruntled Internet Managers peer into the customer’s contact info. They call the number provided and yes, it’s disconnected. Just another price shopper. A stroke. Assumptions crop up, like “They’re just going to use my quote to get the car someplace else.” Salesmen click the drop-down menu in their CRM to send a somewhat customized response.
Dealer Response Round 2: More Substance
Here’s where the shopper thinks, “Finally, I’m getting prices.” But really, what they find are three types of general responses from dealers.
- Dealer Response Type 1: Just come on in and we’ll work it out.
- Dealer Response Type 2: I’ll match or beat your lowest quote.
- Dealer Response Type 3: Here’s all the information you requested.
Our customer likes Dealer Response Type 3 – the one with all the information. But she also can’t ignore the other two response types. She, like anyone else, wants the best deal. The offers from types 1 and 2 appeal to her simple desire to get the best deal, so she proceeds with curiosity and caution.
What happens now?
The shopper probes Dealer Response Types 1 and 2 for details, but finds them fighting tooth and nail NOT to be victimized by their own tactics – to NOT provide information up front. Some even tell our shopper they won’t provide her information because she may use it against them to buy someplace else.
Some shoppers might buy into this, but I venture most still aren’t onboard with simply showing up to find out more. So what does our shopper do instead?
She fires off an email to Dealer Response Type 3 – “Can you do any better?”
And in a world where many dealers provide Dealer Response Type 3, just one dealer will find an email that reads, “I’ve got xyz price. Can you do this deal? Because I’d rather buy from you.”
Why is this dealer the last man standing?
Stay tuned – in Part 2, I’ll tell you how to make sure you’re always that last man standing.