live chat tips for slow car sales

Increase Leads & Test Drives in the Slowest Months for Car Sales

Written By Eric Schlesinger

Albert Einstein once said, “Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance, you must keep moving.” It makes sense; try and stop pedaling and see how long you stay up!

For people who do sales for a living (and more specifically, those who sell cars), the principle is very similar. Auto dealers are always looking for leads, trying to nurture old ones, and trying to encourage repeat business through other services. If you stop, it could spell the end of continuous revenue!

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.

Car Dealers Can Combat Slow Car Sales Months With Live Chat

One way car dealerships can maximize opportunities is to utilize something that is already available to them: their website.

The auto industry, like many others, is being heavily influenced by improving digital communication trends. Consumers are increasingly keen to more text-based talk options, so it's important to converse with them in the way they want.

By equipping your website with live chat and other engagement solutions, you can capture curious car buyers and begin to nurture the customer relationship early on.

Here are some steps you can take to start getting more digital foot traffic from window-shopping customers looking for a good deal in their search for new and used cars.

use these tips to get more customers in the slowest months for car sales

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 car dealerships during the slow car sales months is declining organic search traffic. And as a result, you often have fewer unique visitors on your website.

Some of the common ways you can increase traffic to your car dealership website during these months are 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 on your website.

However, it’s also always a good idea to let shoppers know that your dealer site has a live chat specialist ready and waiting to answer their questions personally because, for some shoppers, that’s their ideal method of communication when starting a new or used car purchase.

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 on your radio and TV commercials. Tell shoppers to stop by your website and ask a Chat Specialist about your latest inventory and new models, 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 car buyers who would prefer text-based communication anyway. Instant answers. A faster process. This is what the modern shopper wants when making car deals.
  • Tell them they can get the personal attention they deserve right now. Customers love feeling special, and hate feeling like they are “just a number.” Car shopping can already feel like a chore, so show them that you are attentive and care about them as a person; not just another car purchase.
  • Tell them they can get help 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 new cars and used cars.

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 car sales 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 Car Purchase Chats

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

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

ActivEngage does this through our behavioral offer tool, ActivTarget. ActivTarget is designed to send targeted messages to shoppers on the dealership website based on their behavior and perceived intentions.

For example, you can target a customer 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 new car buying experience ever, regardless of your credit background!”

By delivering targeted messages, you can relieve shoppers doubts, entice them to click to learn about specials, push holiday season promotions, 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 car sales months, this is essentially considered “Aftermarket Season” for car dealers as many shoppers look to winterize their vehicle before the snow hits.

And something to consider is the many customers who use chat to get their fixed ops questions answered. In fact, 30% of chat conversations 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 agents can start the upselling process by mentioning your service package options.

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 for New Car Models 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 slow car sales months of the year.

And for that time frame, if shoppers come in to test drive a car, 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, 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, in ads, in 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!

ActivEngage Helps Car Dealerships During Slow Months

Whether they are looking for a used car or a new car, ActivEngage live chat helps your online customers develop trust in your dealership.

We're experts at meeting customers where they are on their customer experience journey, and priming your sales team with robust, informational leads that set them up for success.

Start having better conversations today and meet your shoppers wherever they are in their customer journey with our messaging solutions. Choose from:


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