4 Steps to Increase Unique Visitors, Leads, and Test Drives with Live Chat During the Slower Months

Albert Einstein once said, “Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance, you must keep moving.”

ThinkstockPhotos-177789864In the typically slower months of the car business between October and December, your dealership may feel like there is no possible way for your sales and service appointments to keep coming in. You may be saying things like, “That’s just the way it works. Business is slow during this time of year. I’ll just prepare for the Holiday Sales Events and forget these months ever existed.”

But before you jump off the bicycle and stop moving, there are a few steps you could take – with live chat – to tip the chart from down to more ups, and to keep moving your sales forward.

Step #1: Increase Unique Visitor Traffic by Promoting Your Chat

When it comes to Internet leads, according to CDK Digital Marketing, the main source of the problem for dealerships during the slower months is declining organic search traffic. And as a result, you often have less unique visitors on your website.

Some of the common ways you can increase traffic to your website during these months is by improving your SEO strategy, using urgency in your ads, nurturing your service customers via email, and other inbound marketing methods to get shoppers to click to your website.

However, it’s also always a good idea to let shoppers know that your website has a live chat specialist ready and waiting to answer their questions personally, because for some shoppers, that’s their ideal method of communication.

One effective strategy we recommend to increase unique visitor traffic to your website is to promote your live chat service on your social media platforms, in your advertising, and even in your radio and TV commercials. Tell shoppers to stop by your website and ask a Chat Specialist about your latest inventory, incentives, and specials.


In your promotions, be sure to hit on shopper pain points to drive more traffic:


  • Tell them they won’t have to wait on hold. Nobody likes to wait – especially shoppers who would prefer a text-based communication anyway. Instant answers. A faster process. This is what the modern shopper wants.


  • Tell them they can get the personal attention they deserve right now. Shoppers love feeling special, and hate feeling like they are “just a number”.


  • Tell them they can get help on narrowing their options. Not all shoppers know exactly which vehicle they want and if you have what they are looking for. By letting them know they can get help with their options, you are saying that you are saving them time and they don’t have to go through the hassle of filtering through all of your inventory.


Todd Caputo, President and Owner of Sun Chevrolet, regarding his experience with promoting his chat service said,

“We occasionally mention our live chat service in our 30-minute infomercials on Sundays. Some people like to use email or phone, some people like to chat. By letting people know they have multiple options for contacting us, we can drive the most business to our dealership.”


And that’s exactly what you need to make sure you are doing during the slow months – driving the most business to your website and into your showroom!


But once you get shoppers to your website, how do you get them to start a chat conversation?

Step #2: Get Behavioral Graphics to Increase Chats

Once you get shoppers to arrive on your dealership’s website, the next step toward getting them to your showroom is encouraging shoppers to chat with you.

So what’s the best proactive method for getting more chats on your dealership’s website? Well, it’s all about the chat invite graphics and delivering the right message at the right time.

ActivEngage does this through what we call, “Behavioral Chat Graphics”. Behavioral Chat Graphics are designed to send targeted messages to shoppers on the dealership website based on their behavior and perceived intentions.

For example, you can target a shopper who has just opened the Finance Application page with a message that could dispel any doubts or feelings of uncertainty about their credit history by using a message like,


“We will ensure this is your best car buying experience ever, regardless of your credit background!”


By delivering targeted messages, you can relieve shopper doubts, entice them to click to learn about specials, and more!


So once they click to chat, what’s next?

Step #3 (for Service): Discover Your Customer’s Needs and Promote Fall Service Packages During Chat to Increase Leads

Once shoppers click to chat, it’s important to determine what their needs are and to promote your dealership’s unique offerings.

During the slow months, this is basically considered “Aftermarket Season” for car dealers as many shoppers look to winterize their vehicle before the snow hits.

And something to greatly consider is the many shoppers who use chat to get their fixed ops questions answered. In fact, 30% of chats are related to fixed ops, and depending on your brand, that percentage can be even higher. So to take the most advantage of this time of year, make sure your live chat service is promoting your service packages.

Chat representatives have a huge advantage in their power of suggestion. When a shopper chats about their service needs, your chat representatives can basically start the upselling process by mentioning your service package options as something they should look into.


Note: Chat reps can also suggest options for inventory models, essentially opening up options that the shopper hadn’t even considered for their next car, just by recommending them!


Now that your shoppers are interested, how do you coax them away from the fireside and into the driver’s seat or service bay?

Step #4 (for Sales): Create a Fall Test Drive Event with Live Chat Bonus Incentives to Increase Service Appointments and Test Drives

Sometimes shoppers need a little extra push to get them in the door, and that’s why you create awesome events with incentives!

One idea you can use to boost not only test drives, but also chat leads with appointments is to create a Fall Test Drive Event. For this event, you would incentivize your shoppers to come into the dealership to test drive vehicles during the slower months of the year. And for that time frame, if shoppers come in to test drive a vehicle, they would receive a gift for bringing or showing a copy of their chat transcript (something that could easily be pulled up on their phone email!).

Gift ideas for this event would be something like a gift card, or a free pumpkin, or a Winter Car Kit – something fun, helpful, or relevant to the season!

Then you would promote your event all over the place – on social, ads, emails, on your website, and especially in your chats!


It’s important that once you’ve designed your event and how you want to execute it to make sure to inform your managed chat service or in-house chat team of a few things:


  1. The timeframe of the event.


  1. Who is eligible to receive the gift – New car shoppers only? Used car shoppers? Shoppers who are leasing? Service customers?


  1. If you’re an automotive group, are all of your locations hosting this event?


This way, the chat team knows the details of the event so they can promote it in their conversations and get you more test drive appointments!


Note: You can also use this incentive for when shoppers come in for service of course! Just tell them to show you their chat transcript when they come in for an oil change, and you’ll give them a discount or one of the other great gifts listed above!

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