No one has the luxury of just sitting back and waiting for customers to approach, not unless you’re selling the new wonder product – and even then, you still have to advertise. A key tenet of good business is customer engagement, a fact that rings doubly true for car dealerships these days. People used to spend months shopping for a car, visiting the dealership five or six times and asking questions directly to the sales person. However, this is a lot less common now, and people rely on information they gather online to make informed decisions about what – and more importantly where – they’re going to buy.

An Engaging Online Presence

All of this means that – in order maintain an advantage over the competition – it is imperative that you have an engaging, informative and consistently available online presence. You have to be able to initiate conversations, turn those conversations into a sales prospect, turn missed calls into new opportunities to reach out, and stay ahead of the curve with how people get their information. Customer engagement means understanding the customer and going to them to create a lead.

This can be done effectively with the services of a chat provider. The best chat providers know that in order to see results, you have to initiate the conversation (a whopping 74 percent of chats are initiated by the greeter, which in this case would be the dealership), and in order to do that the chat provider has to be proactive and welcoming, in much the same way you would be if that customer walked through your doors.

Gubagoo, a stellar live chat service, has what they call B.E.A.S.T, which is a sophisticated Behavioral Scoring Algorithm that identifies and profiles your web visitors based on their behavior , and then targets those users through the chat feature by sharing information, such as special offers, that they are likely to be interested in. It’s that one-two punch of initiating and understanding the customer’s needs that results higher conversion rates.

This is how you take the old principles of car salesmanship and modernize them to fit the current online demographic. Also look for a service that can dispense information in video form, because it’s been observed in studies that videos are more likely to engage potential customers .

No Closing Time For Customers

But what happens to those who are calling your store, you might ask – do you tell them to just go online when it’s not your business hours? No, of course not. You can’t move wholesale to the online realm, or you’ll alienate your customers that still prefer to call you on the phone. After all, as mentioned, customer engagement means understanding the customer, and that includes every last one of them. In the case of customers who primarily get their info over the phone, you can set up what Gubagoo calls TalkSmart, which is a feature that allows you to keep your phone lines active 24/7 by forwarding calls to automotive experts off-site that have access to your particular inventory and promotions.

The goal here is to make certain that every single potential customer feels their questions have been answered and their needs have been met. In the 21st Century, that’s how you turn sales leads into sales prospects, and eventually into lucrative sales.