If any of you out there have weak stomachs, you may want to skip this article. We’ll be talking about the importance of writing professional, convincing e-mails that direct your buyers rather than react to them. Don’t say I didn’t warn you when you find out your sales staff have been sending out gems like this:
“HI MR JOHNSON ITS STEVE WHEN CAN YOU COME IN TO ARE STORE. WE HAVE GREAT DEAL$$$ ON THE TRAILBLAZER THIS MONTH THANKS.”
Mmm, sounds great. Where do I sign?
Good e-mail work is just as vital as good phone work in today’s dealerships; it’s a severe mistake to let your staff run their mouths across a documented medium that represents your dealership. Is it harder to control a customer over e-mail than over the phone? Oh, you bet. It is infinitely more difficult to utilize word tracks and overcome objections when the prospect has time to actually consider your statements and cross-reference information. And as stated before, the frightening thing about e-mail communication is that the prospect has your entire exchange documented verbatim, and there’s no getting around that.
However, there is certainly a methodology behind writing convincing e-mails, and because the information is documented and delivered in a manner the consumer is comfortable with (news flash, they’re not comfortable talking to a salesperson on the phone), a good conversation over e-mail can be just as valuable, if not more so, than the usual phone shtick. As a bonus, your less-experienced employees should take to e-mail skills training faster than phone training, because the written medium allows them to prepare the right answer beforehand, and gather proper information rather than stumbling on the phone about what’s on the lot and what the best price is.
For beginners, you have to master the basics that have been discussed time and time again:
[list:1c2n3id7]• Check your spelling, punctuation and grammar.
• Know your spam rules (our buddy Steve at the top has obviously never been taught that all caps and abusive dollar signs will get thrown into spam folders all day long).
• Get the information right! Spell the prospect’s name correctly, and don’t rely on auto fill fields for the vehicle data.
The next step is to get your e-mail noticed, and that’s all about putting yourself in the prospect’s shoes:
• Your subject line has to be killer. Your store’s name should be there so the prospect can separate you from the pack, and the few words you say should be incentive for the prospect to read further. Everyone knows you have “great deals”… forget about that. You want to thrill someone with half a dozen dealer e-mails staring them in the face? Get creative.
• Many dealers share the same auto response schedule: one minute, three-day, five-day, ten-day, and so forth. If a third-party lead gets delivered to an average of two and a half dealers at the same exact time, why would you want your e-mails to show up in the prospect’s inbox on the same day/time as your competitors? Mix the schedule up to get noticed.
• We’re back on the spam rules again… mystery shop yourself with Yahoo, MSN and AOL accounts. Do the research to keep yourself out of the spam folder; that’s job number one.[/list:u:1c2n3id7]
Get all of this right, and your e-mail will get to a set of eyeballs. Now you just have to worry about what to say:
[list:1c2n3id7]• Never stop pushing your dealership’s value. It distinguishes you from the competition, and helps hold gross. If your staff can’t reel off five exclusive value points to your store, sit down and brainstorm with them until they become your biggest promoters.
• If your prospect came off a third-party lead, supplement your pricing and statements with third-party web site information. A lead from your own dealership site might be someone who lives local and hasn’t scoured the net for data, but a third-party lead is coming from someone who knows all about Edmunds, KBB, and the rest of the juggernauts. You know they trust third parties because that’s how they found you in the first place.
• You don’t need to answer the prospects’ questions in the manner they’d like them answered, but you do need to address the issues presented in a way that alleviates their concerns. If customers need to ask a question twice to get it answered, you’re already in the hole.[/list:u:1c2n3id7]
There’s plenty more where that came from, but the key to it all is envisioning the consumer’s situation. You have to understand how the process looks on their end first, and that will put you in a position to find loopholes, stand out from the other stores, and establish trust.
Mitch Turck is an Internet marketing consultant on behalf of WebNet Services, Inc.