Leasing Professionals

Paul Bennett explains how smart technologies can enhance customer engagement, accelerate sales & increase retention

bennett paul

If you’re an automotive national sales company or finance executive charged with accelerating sales and retention for your firm, you’ll probably say you already have a perfectly good system in place to deliver this.

Quite possibly the backbone of your approach is supported by ‘Portfolio 3 Sixty’ or ‘Retain IT,’ both of which are Autofutura SaaS products, or indeed, maybe something similar from another vendor.

Whilst we all freely accept that systems are truly indispensable for crunching large volumes of data at speed, they are, on their own, not the remedy. Uppermost to success is the expert communication of the repurchase message.

This is of vital importance, and indeed critical to ensuring a favourable outcome. Moreover, mediocre communication is most often the Achilles Heel in commercialising the high-quality output as generated by your system, regardless of who the supplier may be.

Effective communication is a task that cannot be underestimated. What’s more, you’ll also likely say that the task of communicating with the customer is the responsibility of your dealers, with which, in part I would agree. In practice, all the dealer has to do is engage directly with the prospect by phone to communicate a clear, customer-friendly repurchase message in order to secure a first class, qualified showroom appointment, which should in turn result in a sale. Bingo, that’s all there is to it!

Likely, in principle, your thinking would be absolutely correct.

But almost certainly, in reality, the facts of the matter couldn’t be more different.

Firstly, a ‘system’ is just that, a ‘system’: it’s an inanimate process and one that can’t be solely relied upon as a panacea.

Secondly, excellence in outbound telephone prospecting is a rare skill, especially in-dealer.

Thirdly, the real skill in converting a prospect lies in the ability to execute the communication perfectly each time, every time.

Communication: noun: /kəˌmjuːnᵻˈkeɪʃn/- ‘the imparting or exchanging of information or news’

Communication is only as good as the message received.  This explains why the communication of a repurchase message by dealers or outbound contact centres continually proves the weakest link in the chain.

No matter how compelling and mathematically sound the opportunity may be, the sale will live or die by the ability to engage with and communicate the offer effectively to the prospect.

Squandered opportunities 

The fact is, in 2017, outbound telephone prospecting calls are for the most part old hat! What’s more, a substantial percentage of costly, calculated opportunities to do business are squandered due to ineffectual telephone procedures.

A key contributor to these failures is that the recipient considers a prospecting call highly intrusive. Let’s face it, which of us can honestly say that we enjoy answering our phone (usually on our mobile and very often at an inconvenient moment) to an unsolicited sales call? Then, add to the mix that it’s a call from a car dealer with a ‘come on down, the price is right patter’.  I’m sure you’ll agree that this is far from an ideal technique to meaningfully engage with a prospect.  At best, the outcome is likely to result in, ‘thank you, but I’m not interested.’

So, how do we overcome the ever-present hurdle of addressing outbound one-on-one communication?

By interacting digitally and non-intrusively via Smartphone making the purchase journey simple, easy and accessible.

Today, wherever we go, we take our world with us 24/7 either in our pockets or handbags. When primed with the right message, smartphones are the de facto ‘smart’ pre-sales channel that allows customers to enjoy a zero-pressure journey of self-discovery.  Transparent information shared in a customer-centric manner will build trust; and, vitally, trust drives transactions.  Allow the customer to enjoy the feeling that they are buying rather than being sold to. We call this approach, TLC2  ‘think like a customer.’

High impact

By harnessing the power of video messaging technology such as exemplified by ‘YouTube’, OEMs can ensure they easily reach their prospects 24/7. This non-intrusive approach expertly delivers a high quality, high impact, bespoke audio-visual message 100% of the time, guaranteed.

Moreover, the message can be viewed at a time convenient to the prospect, shared with friends for their input and replayed at will.  Combine this with a strong call to action, multiple user-friendly methods for the customer to take the next step and interact directly from their Smartphone and, bull’s-eye, the task of securing a sale is considerably enhanced.

Compared to conventional methods, it’s widely accepted that the use of video messaging causes a 250% uplift in customer ‘dwell time,’ and is modern proof of the old adage: ‘before you can sell anything you must first secure the customers attention’.  By harnessing the power of smart technology, we can turn the weakest link in the prospecting chain into the keystone that forges it immeasurably stronger.

Paul Bennett is a director of Autofutura Ltd, a Fintech company expert in deploying technology that supports commercial advantage across numerous areas in the automotive finance industry, in UK and globally. www.autofutura.com