6 Ways to Use Text Messaging (SMS) in Your Dealership
Most dealerships have the same goals. You need to:
- Sell more vehicles
- Follow up with people who might buy your vehicles
- And service customers’ vehicles
These are straightforward goals, and text messaging can help your dealership accomplish each of them with ease. It doesn’t matter if you're a dealership for:
- Cars, trucks, and SUVs
- Golf carts
- Tractors, or anything else
The six steps I’m going to walk through will help your dealership substantially increase revenue while providing service that dreams are made of. Ready?
How to Grow Your Dealership Through Text Messaging
1. Generate more sales leads through SMS Chat.
People are already coming to your website. They’re looking to buy something, but they have questions (or want to negotiate). That’s why SMS chat is so effective.
Similar to other live chat options, desktop viewers can message you from your website. Here’s the difference.
Those messages come into your Text Request account as texts, and your replies go straight to their cell phone. This is much more effective than a typical live chat, because viewers don’t have to stay on your site to continue the conversation. Plus - you get their cell phone number.
(One dealership told us SMS Chat increased their conversions by 30%!)
This same SMS Chat option works on mobile devices, too, as a Click-to-Text button. Viewers click it to open a text addressed to your business. You can also add Click-to-Text buttons to your Google business listing and Google search ads, so people can text you straight from Google.
2. Send promotions that earn high returns.
You run holiday sales and other promotions throughout the year. What if you could tell all of your past customers and leads about these events instantly?
99% of promotional text messages are read, and the average click-through rate is about 36%. Through text, 5X more people will see your message compared to email, and 18X more people will click a link.
What could that do for your sales volume?
Here are a few texts you might send:
Mountain view Toyota is making room for our 2019 inventory. Come get $5,000 off your new vehicle! Offer ends 11/25.
Happy Veteran’s Day! We’re offering up to 40% off [these vehicles]! Check out our website for more details. Vehicledealership.com
You can also text a flyer or coupon to everyone on your list. E.g.
Good morning! Check out the latest offer from your friendly neighborhood boat shop. [includes picture of promotion/coupon]
Particularly with higher ticket items, texts are cheap and effective enough to earn your dealership percentage returns in the thousands. Isn’t that what everyone wants?
3. Follow up with sales leads (and actually get responses).
This happens all the time. You talk to someone, they’re interested. They say they need to think it over or talk to their spouse, and then you never hear from them.
The real issue is that a high percentage of these leads would purchase if you could connect with them again. A quick text is the perfect way to do it.
Hey Carol, are you still interested in the blue 2014 Honda CRV? Let me know, we can work out a deal for you. Thanks! - Joe @ Economy Honda
You could also include a picture of the vehicle they were interested in, or any other incentive you have at your disposal.
These follow-ups work because most texts (95%) are read within just a few minutes of being sent! It’s also really easy for the customer to respond, ask questions, or find a good time to come by the dealership.
If customers can purchase your vehicles online, you can even text them a link to buy - which is really convenient for everyone.
4. Handle customer part orders and requests.
Customers need to replace or get new parts all the time. With Text Request, they can just send you a picture of the part (or part number) to see if you have it in stock.
If you do, they can come by and get it or have it installed. If not, you can quickly order it and schedule a time with them as needed.
5. Schedule servicings, get approvals, and give updates.
Can I bring my vehicle in now, or would it be better to bring it in later? Do you have an update on my vehicle?
You get questions like these all the time. Texting makes them much easier to handle. People can text or call your same service number, which is a great experience for customers, and it keeps you from having to answer as many distracting phone calls.
You can also text to get approval for work so you aren't held up. Here are a few examples you might send:
We’re slammed this afternoon, would you be able to drop it off tomorrow morning?
Hey Mr. Johnson, we’ve got an update on your vehicle. Call me when you get a minute, please.
Good news! Your vehicle is ready to be picked up. Let us know if you need a ride.
6. Ask for (and get) more online reviews.
Email open rates are about 18%, while text open rates are 99%. Email click-through rates are about 2%, while text click-through rates are about 36%.
In short, it would be easy for you to get 10X-20X more online reviews when you ask customers via text instead of through email.
That’s important because customers read an average of seven reviews before deciding who to buy from, and 85% of people trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations.
You’ll be able to boost your marketing - and your sales - by making one small change to how you do things.
How does our dealership start texting?
It’s an easy 3-step process.
Step 1: Pick a plan on our Pricing page. Every plan will you do everything mentioned in this post. The only different is how many texts you’ll need.
Step 2: When prompted, choose whether to use your current business phone number for texting or to get a new text number from us. If you use your current number, we’ll verify it. Then you’ll be good to go.
Step 3: Join a training call. Text Request is intuitive and easy-to-use, but we offer free training every day to bring your whole team up to speed ASAP.
If you have any questions or want to see a demo, contact us!