How many times per day do you decline to answer your phone because you don’t know who is calling? How many pieces of mail do you throw away unopened on a daily basis? Are all the promotional mail pieces going straight into the trash can once a week?


Well, do you think your customers act any differently?


Sure, you get some bites on the line here and there and, for some, it’s worth it because perhaps you sell more cars and make more gross than the cost of the phone calls or direct mail. Or perhaps you think it is the result of a salesperson pounding the phones completing some “to-do” list that they really aren’t invested in.


As technology has advanced many people don’t leave voicemails anymore. In fact, they don’t even listen to voicemails. And the emails that happen to sneak through a spam filter into an in-box get trashed as fast as a person can click delete – mostly before it is even read. Especially when a customer didn’t request the information in the first place. And, with the sheer volume of emails, if the customer is distracted when your email arrives in the inbox your message may well be on the second screen, out of view, by the time they are ready to view it. However, dealers keep sending thousands of emails and keep leaving those voicemails … and they keep being ignored by your customers!


If emails and voicemails are no longer effective, how are you supposed to communicate with your customers?


As a society, we have been conditioned to expect spam – both via voice and email – but many, especially millennials, still pay attention to one thing – text messages. In fact, over 98% of them are read – and 90% are read within 30 seconds! If they’re relevant, they get a response. Texts are typically short, can be responded to quickly and without much interruption – they are convenient and less intrusive.


If you want to sell a vehicle or get through to a customer to recommend additional service or get their approval for your service recommendations, I guarantee that calling someone while at work or enjoying dinner will get you a voicemail. And, in most cases, that templated email will only be read by the customer’s spam filter.


Is it all about the process? Or should we be more concerned about making sure customer interaction actually occurs – that the communication is something the customer will actually respond to so a conversation can occur? I know which one is more profitable.

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