[podcast]http://dealeradvantage.cars.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/04/Last-Podcast.mp3[/podcast]

If you’re looking for new ways to engage ready-to-buy shoppers, the answer may already be in the palm of your hand. As Americans use their cellphones more for sending text messages than making calls, the devices offer a powerful marketing channel. Let’s look at three ways an SMS program connects you with prospects and positions you to win their business. 

  • Merchandise the metal. Being closed on Sunday doesn’t mean leaving the shoppers who walk your lot with only the window sticker to consider. By including a short code, you can automatically link them to in-depth information about the car on your website or third-party listings. You can also extend an invitation for them to contact you for additional details and to schedule a test drive.
  • Set the appointment. As part of your email signature, be sure to include your mobile number. Not only will this tactic drive more calls, but it also will allow shoppers to reach out to you when they’re unable to talk on the phone. They can, for example, confirm the vehicle’s availability and request a time to see it in person.  
  • Open your inventory. Even when customers are interested in a car that has sold or turns out to not be a good fit, you can save the deal. “Send-to-phone” functionality on shopping sites such as Cars.com allows you to forward links to similar vehicles that you do have in stock or alternatives that better meet their needs. 

Industry studies show that texting is becoming increasingly popular among consumers of all ages. The sooner you incorporate it into your sales process, the more likely you are to get a jump on the competition and start desking more deals.