IBM = It’s Better Manually 

Here is an idea for my friends in the car business or anyone in the sales field capturing new leads online. Digital sales tools may be a great addition to your selling tool kit, but don’t overlook the value of the human touch.

A car dealer friend of mine secretly shops his own dealership to monitor the quality and professionalism of his sales team. The other day, he decided to secretly shop his dealership online.

The average car buyer used to visit 5-7 dealerships in person when buy a car or truck. Today, a buyer may visit only one or two before making a decision.

Research indicates that when a person enters the market to buy a new vehicle, one of the first things they do is turn to someone they trust, someone they believe knows about cars and trucks. They want to get an unbiased opinion about which truck or car fits their particular driving needs. This phase of the path to purchase comes long before consideration of price.

In the search for an unbiased opinion, the buyer may go to websites like Consumer Reports, Kelly Blue Book or Car and Driver. During this online search, the car buyer could be captured as a new lead by a dealership.

Typically, there is some initial digital response, an automated text or email, thanking the prospective new customer for their interest in a vehicle. The text or email contains contact information or a promise to follow up in person.

This is the critical moment for the buyer, they want more information and they want it now! The responsive nature of the Internet has conditioned consumers to expect an instantaneous response. If you hesitate at this critical moment, the sale may be lost forever.

Readers of my blog may recall my own personal experience using an online automotive search tool. One dealer sent me a series of automated texts and emails. The second dealer promptly called me within minutes of my request for more information. I bought from the second car dealer within hours of my initial contact.

Here is the idea my car dealer friend learned about when he mystery shopped his own dealership on the Internet. Within moments of submitting his request for more information, the sales rep who got the lead, went directly to the car in question, whipped out his smart phone and proceeded to record a short video about the car.

The sales rep started the brief video with a personal greeting to the prospect, introduced himself, then filmed the car, inside and out, describing the features and benefits of owning this car. He then sent the video and an email directly to the “prospect”, which in reality, was his boss.

Needless to say, the car dealer was very impressed with the initiative his sales rep demonstrated to try and make a sale to an Internet lead.

Regardless of what sales field you are in, don’t rely solely on the Internet to do the work for you. It’s just a tool that needs some human interaction to make it truly effective. Keep in mind that your competitors have the same Internet tools as you do. It’s what you, yourself, put in to the mix that makes you the winner.

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