Imagine if you had 100 people lined up outside your business right now. What would you do? Certainly, you’d send someone out to greet them. You’d ask how you could help. You’d get the prospects involved in sales situations. You’d do your best to answer customer questions and send them to support if necessary.
100 people lining up outside your business sound like a dream? What if it happened every day?
This is happening every day on your website and social properties. Depending on your market and how diligent you have been in search optimizing your website, there is a good chance you have between 1,000 and 5,000 visitors per month to your website. Some of these people are current customers looking for service. Others are potential clients in your market looking for relevant information during various phases of their buyer’s journey. Some are from outside your market -- after all, it is the world wide web.
If these people were coming to your physical office, you’d be on your best behavior, making sure they felt at home and helping them however you could.
Shouldn’t you offer the same level of service to your online visitors?
Over the past four years as our team has been involved in helping dealers build traffic to their websites and convert that traffic to leads, I think the biggest gap may have nothing to do with the web. It has to do with this question: Who is watching all this traffic and what are they doing with it?
Chances are good that your dealership has some level of web traffic, no matter how small. And while you do need to continually optimize your website with a special focus on putting relevant calls-to-action throughout the site, the most important thing is that you have someone watching your web properties, responding immediately to inquiries, and panning through the dirt to find the gold.
What Needs To Be Done?
Respond To Messages Quickly
Survey after survey shows that buyers love instant chat. They can get quick answers to questions as well as getting a sense as to how responsive a company would be if they selected them. The vast majority of dealers don’t have chat. Of the ones that do, most of them are not actively monitored. The chat box is there, but it says, “Not available at this time -- please leave a message.” A good chat strategy engages with a buyer and offers instant help.
Beyond chat, more and more buyers are leaving messages on platforms like Facebook and Twitter. As our team manages social media for many dealers, I have access to some of their platforms. It’s not uncommon for buyers to reach out for help on Facebook Messenger. This platform has over 1 billion users!
Reply to Requests
Your website should have calls-to-action on every page. You need more than “contact us” or “request a quote” buttons. There should be all kinds of offers that appeal to visitors at each stage of the buying process:
- Awareness - I think I have a problem and I’m trying to define it or learn more about various kinds of solutions.
- Consideration - I’m actively looking for solutions and options.
- Decision - I’m ready to reach out and become involved with sales.
Whether buyers download an ebook on IT security risks, request a buyer’s guide to color multifunction systems, or ask for a demo, you need someone on the other end that can reply -- quickly. This needs to happen within 6 minutes. Why? Because we live in a real-time world. If this request goes to a sales manager’s email, by the time the reply later that afternoon it may be too late.
You need someone on point to reply to requests in a timely manner. They need to be trained in how to reply. To borrow an analogy from fishing, you need to know when to set the hook. If the buyer is just nibbling in the early stages of the buying cycle, the strategy is different from someone who is in the decision phase and wants a quote.
Sadly, when we hand off internet leads to field sales reps, they always set the hook. Most of the time they yank it right out of the fishes mouth. Then they complain that the leads are terrible…
Pan For Gold
The vast majority of people that visit your website will not reach out. However, there is plenty of gold in the water. Technologies like WEBVISITOR-ID and HubSpot give you insight into the companies that are coming to your site. Basically, we take the IP address of a visitor and cross-reference it with a database of company IP addresses. It can’t identify people browsing from phones or home offices, but there is a ton of useful information about companies coming to your site. Not only can you see who is coming to your website, you can see what pages they are visiting. This gives you clues as to who to call on.
Someone needs to be watching this and panning for gold. When they do find a nugget, they need to know how to package this intel and send it to the sales team so they can go to work.
Current customers are also coming to your website for service call requests. When they do, you can pay attention to other pages they visit after the support call. If you have a good cross-selling strategy, the last step of a support interaction will be letting the client know about other ways you can help. If someone is paying attention, you can see when your clients browse through to the MPS section or read 5 articles about workflow automation. This valuable sales intel usually goes unnoticed.
Engage On Social
Social networks can be powerful sources of new relationships and leads. The problem is, again, that nobody is listening. A properly coached lead manager can pay attention to who is engaging on your company’s social platforms. Then, they can go out and proactively engage on other social networks in your community such as the social networks of your local chambers of commerce or nonprofits you support. They can also be following local businesses looking for signals as to new sales opportunities. Engaging with people on these platforms can lead to opportunities.
Watch For Triggers
Data platforms like Avention from D&B Hoovers give real-time signals into the market. You can see who is moving in, who is growing, and who is being promoted. These signals often go unwatched. If you pay attention, you can find opportunities that can be passed on to the sales team.
Do You Need a Lead Manager?
There are people coming to your business every day. They are doing it online. You should pay attention. I think the answer to this problem is to create a new position. Car dealerships have Internet Sales Managers. I think that office technology dealerships should have a similar position: Internet Lead Managers.
What do you think?
- Is this important?
- What would it take to create a positive ROI on this position?
- Are you losing every month? If so, how much?
- Would you be open to having someone coach that person?
- Would you consider outsourcing a service like this?
Let's discuss in the comments below.