Following a successful career in development real estate that fell victim to the economic downturn, Jim De Luca landed at a Ford dealership in Ontario, Canada where he saw great opportunity for sales success. He set a goal to become a sales trainer within five years.
Today, Jim De Luca is the President of Digital Road to a Sale, a company that trains dealers and sales consultants to leverage technology and build a brand for themselves.
Jim’s process digitizes a dealership’s traditional sales process. It focuses on video and creating brand identity.
It’s often seen as radical by dealership traditionalists, so Jim has done research and testing to prove that new companies like Carvana and Beepi are a dealerships true competition. Changes must be made in order to keep up with these companies.
Jim shares three radical ideas to enact that change:
- Internet Lead Response must be completely overhauled.
- A single person should take the customer through the sales and F & I process.
- The job of a car salesperson should be rebranded as a Digital Marketing Consultant.
Internet lead response must be completely overhauled.
One area where Jim has found a need for change is in internet lead response. They way internet leads have been traditionally handled have led to stagnant or declining conversion rates.
“Micro Moments” are the time period just after someone clicks “send” on a lead and just before they turn their attention to someone or something else. Jim believes we need to take back that moment and offer a response with a warm, human interaction. He thinks video is the way to do it.
Rather than using an auto responder email to quickly acknowledge receipt of a lead, Jim’s recommendation is the “Two Video Approach.” First, you acknowledge receipt of the inquiry with a quick video message promising another message with the requested information within a specified time period. Then you send a video with the exact requested information.
Using this tactic Jim has found a 60% conversion rate versus a 5% conversion rate when using an auto responder email.
To research the scope of the problem with conversion to sales from internet leads, Jim mystery shopped 100 dealers by asking one question, “What’s your best price?” He found that only 18% of dealers in his study actually gave their best price and it was on their third correspondence.
This study led Jim to make the following recommendations:
- Abolish managed chat. It frustrates the customer because a third party chat service cannot furnish any additional information beyond what the customer can find elsewhere on the dealer’s website.
- Abolish templated responses. Templated responses reduce people to simple data points. They also remove the human factor or any warmth in the messages they are sending.
Customers have actually stopped contacting dealerships over the internet because managed chat and templates are so impersonal.
Jim’s advice for getting the most out of your internet interactions:
- Trust – Establish trust with customers by following through and doing what you say you’ll do.
- Transparency – Don’t withhold information. Be open and forthcoming with the requested information.
- Respect for the Customers Time – Be prompt and get them what they requested in a timely fashion.
A single person should take the customer through the sales and F & I process.
In his extensive investigation into what customers want from their interactions with car salespeople, Jim found that they want a one person, one price, hybrid F&I process. Rather than being shuffled around to multiple personnel within a dealership, they wish to work with one person from beginning to end.
The job of a car salesperson should be rebranded as a Digital Marketing Consultant.
Jim recommends that the job description of a Digital Marketing Consultant include:
- Building a social media platform
- Building and maintaining clientele
- Using video as a means of connecting with customers
- Marketing and advertising on behalf of the dealers brands
- Creating your own personal brand
- Selling cars
The position will offer a base salary, which will attract educated and skilled salespeople. Paying a base salary will ensure that the salesperson is compensated for the time they take to create a digital presence as well as the time working with the customer in person.
Jim’s ideas may seem radical to a dealer who has been successful with the tried and true sales strategies they have been using for many years. But the pressure from third party competition is mounting. Before they’re put in react mode and forced to change, dealers need to change now.
IN THIS EPISODE YOU’LL LEARN
- The definition of “Micro Moments.”
- What happens when 100 dealerships are mystery shopped and asked, “What’s your best price?”
- Who your real competition is.
- Three radical ideas to change the way you respond to internet leads and how they can help you regain customer trust and fend off third party competition.
Jim’s website Digital Road to the Sale
Connect with Jim on Facebook
Connect with James De Luca on LinkedIn
Follow Jim on Twitter @jimdelucaDRS
Follow Jim on Instagram @jimdelucadrs
Jim’s Contact information:
Phone: (905) 865-8734
Facebook Social Groups to join:
Article in “Strategy Mob” magazine: Why Are You Failing to Convert?
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