Does Weather Impact Dealerships the Same as in the Past?
In the past dealerships had a monopoly on information. If a shopper wanted to know pretty much anything, they had to physically go to the professional source to get information about the product, service, or solution. Typically, that meant engaging with sales. In fact, each time someone wanted information they became a sales lead/opportunity. Usually, this happened to the chagrin of the prospect (since they were just shopping).
Information on Demand
Now nearly everyone has a portable source of diverse and substantial information available completely “on-demand”. It’s called a smartphone. So, no longer does the dealership control information, process, conversation, or timing of a shopping interaction. Shoppers do not have to expose themselves to a sales pitch to get some information. This is a complete shift in the power dynamic of the sales process.
Even the meaning of a trusted source has changed as that has been replaced by an online trusted source(s). It’s incredibly easy to get multiple views, opinions, reviews, ideas, and facts. No longer does it take a day to visit a physical location to extract desired information from a salesperson who is often seeking a sale over building rapport.
Impact on Dealerships
So, what does this mean and how does it tie into the weather? What’s the connection between these two things? Well, the weather no longer impedes the shopping process since information can be acquired online. Therefore the dealership’s ability to engage with shoppers is not dependent on weather conditions.
What happens when the weather is beautiful versus when the weather is horrible? Are people more likely to be on the Internet when the weather is good or bad? Are they more likely to be home browsing the web when the weather is nice or ugly? I think the answer to these rhetorical questions should be obvious.
Engagement & Conversion | Conversion & Engagement
By conversion, I mean obtaining a shopper’s contact information (i.e. name and email). This is very powerful because it allows for digital ongoing communication (engagement) to take place. After all, how can you contact them without their contact information?
With shoppers doing online research, the dealership objective must be both engagement and conversion. The interesting thing is that engagement and conversion go hand-in-hand. Engagement begets more conversion and conversion begets more engagement. This is why both must be constantly built and optimized. Both activities are critically important components of modern marketing.
Again, how does this relate to the weather?
It is key to take advantage of the weather and see it as an opportunity for pre-sale/marketing. No longer is engagement dependent upon good weather visits to your dealership. This is a critical point to remember and cannot be overstated enough.
If you think about shopping like relationship building it can be very helpful. We must be in harmony and match our prospects. If you push ahead too quickly to sales when someone is merely gathering the information you can come off as annoying and overly aggressive.
However, if you do the opposite and are non-responsive to online shoppers, by assuming they are all just a bunch of tire-kickers, then you can lose opportunities. You will appear to provide poor service and support. You will appear to also not care about customers. This may not be the case at all but impressions are powerful.
You certainly have seen these scenarios. This explains the idea of where a sensitive salesperson comes from. But, is it really about sensitivity or just understanding a buying process? I think it’s the latter and by understanding this your dealership will become masters of relationship sales.
In the past, bad weather was a harbinger of poor dealership sales. Obviously, if visiting the dealership is the only way to move a sale forward that’s true. However, we know that a great deal of sales has nothing to do with closing a deal. With the Internet, a tremendous amount of what was previously considered sales can be done virtually. As shoppers seek education, you can convert them into a marketing lead and then engage them with valuable content. By doing so you are building a relationship that facilitates sales.
In short, poor weather may not be the impediment to the sale as it used to be. In fact, it may be used to your advantage.