So if someone texts a unique number to the Ford shortcode, they will receive all the information about the specific car they are looking at. Not just the model but that specific car (which is determined by the keyword used). If the person likes the car after reviewing the details, they can request the dealership contact them.
2. Include SMS messaging as an enquiry method on your website.
I spent some time looking around at websites of UK car dealerships. Quite frequently I found the option to share a listing via SMS. That means I could enter the mobile number of a friend and the website would send them a link to the car information on the website. This works just like sending a link via email or posting on social media – only it goes directly to the mobile number you provide.
That’s great for sharing a listing with someone, but what about the option to talk to a salesperson about the car via SMS? I didn’t find a single site that offered that option (but my research was far from exhaustive). I could send an email enquiry, or I could call, but I couldn’t send an SMS message to the dealership. This is a huge missed opportunity.
Some people just don’t like to talk on the phone. Email is slow and impersonal. And some people are just kind of shy and don’t want to go directly to a sales person, but are happy to communicate via text (much less intimidating).
SMS enquiries can be handled much like phone calls or emails too. If it’s after hours, simply send an auto-reply to let the would-be customer know you’ll get in touch when you reopen.
At this point you’re probably wondering how getting all these SMS messages is going to help you manage your enquiries in busy and slow times.
First, using SMS guarantees you’ll be getting the enquiries in a timely fashion. That means you can respond to them quickly, before the customer decides to buy at another dealership. That’s critical for increasing sales in both circumstances.
Second, I’m not talking about using your sales people’s personal phones. That would be total chaos and not helpful at all. But if you use a web-based SMS solution that allows the office staff – or sales – to review, sort, and assign the messages as they come in, you’ll have everything centralised and controlled.
If that’s too much to believe out of hand, read this case study about a dealership that increased leads by 15% when they added in SMS messaging. They connected with customers they would otherwise have missed by using SMS. They also transformed how they worked and became more efficient and streamlined their processes.
When combined with the processes and the marketing you already have in place, this can streamline the path to purchase for both you and the customer. You’ll be able to react fast to enquiries whether you’re super busy or super slow. That level of service could earn you a customer for life.