Carol Marshall and Jason Harris at NADA 2024

Walk N Talk at NADA 2024 with Jason Harris and Carol Marshall

Written By Carol Marshall

Jason Harris:  Hey, hey, hey, what's going on podcast nation it's Jason Harris here and thank you for joining me on another episode of the walk and talk at NADA 2024. Today I have Carol with ActivEngage.

Carol, thank you for taking the time to come chat with me.

Carol Marshall:  It is my pleasure. I love walking.

Jason Harris:  Right? Because we don't do enough of it when we come to these things, right? Like I was looking the other day, I was a little over 15,000 steps.

Carol Marshall:  That's right. Me too.

Jason Harris:  And they're like today between the back. Oh, it's going to be something.

It's going to be something. Well, Carol, here's what we've been doing. We've been going around finding some of the smartest and brightest in our industry. All right. And having just a quick little chat about what should dealerships really be kind of focusing on right now from an operations perspective?

I know we're always kind of in this level of constant change because we're always saying it right. Like we're changing, everything's changing, but it's an interesting time. And I'd love to get your perspective on that.

Carol Marshall:  Absolutely. I love change, and that's why I love the automotive industry, because it is constantly changing. And I think for 2024, the key words are 'customer experience'. And that can often come off as boring, I think, to some dealers. But when you flesh customer experience against technology, And this, these new generations entering the market, I like to call them digital natives, Gen Z and millennials. It's a

Jason Harris:  It's a better name yeah.

Carol Marshall:  Yeah I Mean,

Jason Harris:  Digital natives. Yeah.

Carol Marshall:  They have been programmed by the technology that they have grown up with.

Jason Harris:  Right. I know. I'm so glad you bring that up because I really kind of think, I mean, my entire team fits into that exact market that you're talking about. Right. It was so funny. I've had to learn, you know, from a communications perspective, just certain things and certain tactics and stuff like, and now I do it, you know. It's usually very direct, it's considerably shorter, right. And it's usually right to the point. And I appreciate that, but, but to your point, enhancing that customer experience, it's funny. It's that's kind of the expectation now. That's the customer's expectation of how we communicate.

Carol Marshall:  Yes. Yeah. And when we talk about the largest generation, Millennials , we know that they will pay more for a good experience. So I know when I was in the dealership, the term we often use were cyber grinders.

Jason Harris:  I like that. Yeah. Yeah. I do remember that. Yeah.

Carol Marshall:  People will leave you over 50 cents. They're going to grind you. Right. And that's not today's market. So smart dealers are going to get creative and get thoughtful and understand that people do research. Especially these groups, they want to be prepared, they want to understand their options, but they can also be influenced.

And that's where the product experts of the dealer comes in, whether it's an expert on the product, the vehicle or on the buying process. And so the smart dealers are going to have those experts ready to come into the process at the right time.

Jason Harris:  Well, it's that commitment to the coaching and the training of them too, right?

You know, that's another thing when we're talking about this generation, or this new kind of sales forces, you find them to be very, very coachable, incredibly coachable, right. You know, but they're also very tech savvy. So it's like, you know, you give them a process.

Without a piece of technology, they're almost kind of confused what to do, right? But give them a piece of technology and a series of processes that the technology can help them execute on at home.

Carol Marshall:  Yes, very much so. Yeah, a large part of our company also are these digital natives. And sometimes they will say things and I wonder, gosh, who raised you?

But my children do the same thing, right? But more often they come up with very creative solutions. Yeah. And we know that beyond just digital natives, 89 percent of consumers want to engage via messaging or texting. And so I think that's, yeah, that's the other big tip for dealers. I think is not just your website, but your Google business profile.

Enable that with messaging. That gets five times the views of your website.

Jason Harris:  I love that. I mean, I think for anybody out there watching and listening, if you guys kind of hear what we're saying, it's like, think of any way that a consumer can connect with you. If you can convert that connection into what I still call a text message, the, the holy grail of engagement, right?

Because it's, it's in my pocket. It stays in my pocket. The only people that text me are in my, my inner circle of people that I trust and I'm confident with. It's huge. So guys, if you're out there watching this right now, listen to Carol, get serious about your text messaging communications, Carol. Thank you so much.

Carol Marshall:  Thank you. Yeah, it was my pleasure. Thanks.

Jason Harris:  Thanks everyone. Have a great day.