20/01/2023 - 9 minute read

Facebook Messenger Guide for Car Dealers 2023: Maximizing Engagement and Sales

A profile picture of Gary Lewis Cheetham, the founder of GL Digital Automotive Marketing, smiling outside a car dealership

Written by

Gary Lewis Cheetham

Automotive marketing specialist from Manchester, UK

A header image for the blog post Facebook Messenger Guide for Car Dealers 2023: Maximizing Engagement and Sales from GL Digital Automotive Marketing

Table of Contents

In this guide, we’ll explore how car dealerships can use Facebook Messenger in 2023 to build relationships with customers and optimize their sales efforts. We discuss each feature of Messenger relevant to car dealers, and best practices for creating engaging conversations that drive leads and convert prospects into loyal buyers.

By the end of this guide, you will have all the information you need to start leveraging Facebook Messenger for your dealership's success in 2023!

Before we continue, who has written the article: "2023 Guide to Facebook Messenger for Car Dealers: Maximizing Engagement and Sales"?

I am Gary Lewis Cheetham, an automotive marketing specialist with over 10 years of experience and an expert in using Facebook Messenger for car dealers.

I have a deep understanding of how to successfully market and sell cars through online platforms, and specialise in helping dealerships to increase their engagement and sales through personalised communication.

Born and raised in Oldham, Greater Manchester, UK, my interest in car trading started at a young age, helping my dad's dealership increase private sales through online marketing and Facebook Ads.

I founded GL Digital Automotive Marketing in 2020 to bring my expertise to dealerships across the UK and US, and help them maximize their ROI through effective Facebook Messenger strategies.

What is Facebook Messenger?

A car on a message bubble representing a car dealer talking with Facebook messenger

Facebook Messenger is a messaging platform that is integrated into the Facebook social media platform. It allows users to send and receive messages, make voice and video calls, and share photos and videos with other Facebook users.

For car dealerships, it can be used as a tool for customer service, allowing potential and current customers to message the dealership with questions or to schedule a test drive.

An example of a client that uses Facebook Messenger in this way is a used car dealership that we work with.

They have found that by having a dedicated customer service representative monitoring and responding to messages on Facebook Messenger, they are able to quickly address customer inquiries and concerns, which has led to an increase in sales and customer satisfaction.

How can Facebook Messenger can be used as a sales tool for car dealerships?

A car dealer having a conversation happening with message bubbles

Here is a short customer journey story that illustrates how Facebook Messenger can be used as a sales tool for car dealerships:

  • Customer: Hi, I'm interested in buying a used car. Can you tell me more about the cars you have in stock?
  • Auto-response from dealership: Thanks for reaching out! We're glad you're interested in buying a used car from us. We have a wide range of vehicles in stock, and we're happy to help you find the perfect one. To get started, can you tell us what kind of car you're looking for?
  • Customer: I'm looking for a compact SUV.
  • Auto-response from dealership: Great! We have several compact SUVs in stock. Can you tell us your budget and what kind of features you're looking for?
  • Customer: My budget is £15,000 and I want a car with good fuel economy and a rearview camera.
  • Salesperson: Hi there, This is John, a salesperson from the dealership, I saw your message here and it's after hours but I'll be happy to help you out. I have a few options that I think would be great for you. I can also send you some pictures and information about the cars.
  • Customer: That would be great.
  • Salesperson: Sure thing, I just sent you an album of the cars that match your criteria, take a look and let me know if you have any questions or if you would like to schedule a test drive.
  • Customer: I'm interested in one of the cars you sent me, can we schedule a test drive for tomorrow?
  • Salesperson: Absolutely! I've scheduled a test drive for you tomorrow at 2:00 PM. I'll see you then!
  • Customer: Thanks, see you tomorrow.
  • Salesperson: You're welcome, we'll see you tomorrow and I'll be happy to answer any other questions you might have.
    Next Day

  • Salesperson: Hi there, welcome to the dealership, I see that you're here for the test drive. Is there anything else you would like to know before we start?

  • Customer: No, I think I'm ready.
  • Salesperson: Great! Let's go for a test drive.
  • Customer: I really like this car, can we talk about the price and financing options?
  • Salesperson: Of course, let's go to my office and we'll go over all of the details.
  • Customer: I'll take it!
  • Salesperson: Great! I'm glad you found the car you were looking for. I'll go over the paperwork with you and get you set up with finance.
    In this scenario, Facebook Messenger helped close the sale by allowing the customer to easily connect with the dealership outside of regular business hours, and providing the dealership with the ability to triage the customer's request and quickly provide them with the information they needed to make a purchase decision.

The dealership was able to use auto-responses to help streamline the process and provide the customer with a personalized experience, which ultimately led to a sale.

What are The Benefits of Using Facebook Messenger for Car Dealers?

  • Increased engagement with potential customers
  • Streamlined sales process
  • Cost-effective advertising

How does Facebook messenger increase engagement with potential customers for car dealers?

Phone and clock paper cutouts

One of our clients, a dealership, started using Facebook Messenger to communicate with customers outside of regular business hours.

This allowed them to communicate with customers when it was convenient for them. For example, we had a customer who worked during the day and could only inquire about a car during the night. The dealership was able to respond to the customer in real-time and closed the sale the next day.

Another advantage of using Facebook Messenger is that it allows for an asynchronous sales experience. This means that customers can respond to messages at their own convenience, rather than having to answer a phone call. Our dealers send multiple follow-up messages on Facebook messenger, which the customers generally read even if they don't reply.

For example, we had a customer who was interested in a car but was unable to answer a call during work hours. The dealership was able to keep in touch with the customer through Facebook Messenger, and the customer was able to respond when they were free. This resulted in a successful sale.

How does Facebook Messenger streamline the sales process?

Car salesman having multiple facebook messenger conversations at the same time

Using Facebook Messenger streamlines the sales process the most by allowing a salesman to deal with multiple enquiries at the same time. We have personally seen the benefits of using Facebook Messenger for this purpose.

For example, one of our clients, a used car dealership, started using Facebook Messenger to communicate with potential customers. This allowed the sales team to respond to multiple inquiries simultaneously, rather than having to handle each one individually over the phone. This not only saved time but also allowed the sales team to be more efficient and effective in their responses.

We have also seen that using Facebook Messenger can help to automate certain parts of the sales process.

For instance, by setting up automated responses to triage incoming enquiries, a dealership was able to filter out customers who were not seriously interested in buying a car, without the need for a human salesperson to be constantly available. This helped to keep the conversation going even when the sales team was busy with other customers.

How does using Facebook messenger lead to more cost-effective advertising?

Screenshot of click to message on Facebook messenger on a live example Facebook ad for a car dealer

Using Facebook Messenger can lead to more cost-effective advertising by allowing businesses to run Facebook Messenger ads on Facebook. This can result in more inbound leads compared to using "Lead" or "Website Visits" as a conversion goal.

For example, one of our clients, a used car dealership, started running Facebook Messenger ads targeting potential customers looking for used cars. The results were impressive, with a significant increase in inbound leads compared to their other ads that encouraged customers to fill out the contact form on the website.

The cost per lead of the Facebook Messenger ads was also significantly lower than the other ads they were running on the account.

Setting Up a Facebook Messenger for Your Dealership

The steps to setting up Facebook Messenger properly for your dealership are as follows:

  • Creating a Facebook page for your dealership
  • Setting up Messenger Automations functionality on your page
  • Add Facebook Messenger Chat Plugin on your website

Creating a Facebook page for your dealership

Example facebook page of a car dealership we work with at GL Digital

Having an optimised Facebook page for your dealership is essential when you are using Facebook Messenger because it functions as your "Shop Window" on Facebook.

This means having up-to-date information about your dealership, including details of the cars you sell, any special offers or promotions, as well as contact information. Having this type of content on your page will help customers get a better understanding of what your dealership has to offer.

For more information on how to set up and optimize your Facebook page for your dealership, please refer to our article on this topic here.

Setting up Messenger Automations functionality on your page

Once your page is created, you will have access to Facebook messenger straight away.

Screenshot of how you access Facebook messenger from your Facebook page as a car dealer

All automation functionality is managed through Facebook messenger on desktop. To access the messenger inbox, click the messenger icon in the top right corner of your screen.

Screenshot of the facebook messenger interface as a car dealer

You'll see your inbox is broken down by messenger, Instagram, Facebook comments and Instagram comments.

Screenshot of the facebook messenger automations button a car dealer

Automation options are accessed through the atom icon in the top right of the screen.

The first automations we recommend to set up are "instant reply" and "away message".

Setting up instant reply automations on Facebook messenger

Screenshot of the facebook messenger blue create an automation button a car dealer

Click on the blue "Create automation" button in the top right corner of your screen.

Screenshot of the create automation interface in facebook messenger for a car dealer

Then click "instant reply" or "away message"

Click create automation

Screenshot of the create instant reply automation interface in facebook messenger for a car dealer

On channel, select Messenger, and Instagram if you want this automation to be active on Instagram as well.

On "Message", you can type whatever you would like the customers to see as the first message.

Here is an example from one of the dealers we work with:

Hi [Customer Name], The vehicle is still available. May you leave your contact number and preferred day/time to come and view the car and the sales team will be in contact as soon as possible.

Thank you

[Business Name]

More information about setting up automated responses can be found here: https://www.facebook.com/business/learn/lessons/set-up-automated-responses

Set up Facebook Messenger Chat Plugin to your website

Setting up Facebook Messenger on a car dealership's website involves integrating the Facebook Messenger platform into the dealership's website so that customers can easily communicate with the dealership through the website using Facebook Messenger.

This can be done through the use of a website plugin or by adding a code snippet provided by Facebook to the website.

You can read up-to-date documentation on the Facebook Messenger Chat Plugin here: https://www.facebook.com/business/help/1524587524402327

What does the Facebook Messenger Chat Plugin provide dealerships on the website?

Car dealer website with Facebook messenger chat plugin on screen

When customers visit the dealership's website, they will see a button or icon that allows them to start a conversation with the dealership through Facebook Messenger. This can be located on the website's homepage, contact page, or other relevant pages.

By providing this feature, customers can easily contact the dealership with any questions or inquiries they may have, alongside the normal contact forms that you have on the website already.

What are Facebook Messenger Chatbots for a car dealership?

A robot talking using Facebook messenger chatbot

Facebook Messenger Chatbots are third-party tools that integrate with Facebook messenger and provide additional auto-reply functionality. They are usually paid tools that you can subscribe to or pay for yearly access.

Why should a dealership use Facebook Messenger Chatbots?

Facebook chatbots can be a valuable tool for a dealership to use, as they provide a way to automate and streamline customer interactions. Chatbots can handle simple inquiries, such as providing inventory information or answering frequently asked questions, allowing salespeople to focus on more complex tasks.

We helped one of our clients integrate a Facebook chatbot with their sales flow. The chatbot was able to handle simple inquiries, such as providing inventory information or answering frequently asked questions. It also provided a way for customers to schedule test drives, which resulted in a significant increase in test drive appointments and sales.

This allowed the sales team to focus on more complex tasks, such as handling test drives and closing sales.

Best Practices for Using Facebook Messenger as a Car Dealer

  • Following up with leads in a timely manner
    This is especially important when using Facebook Messenger as a means of communication, as Facebook shows customers the dealership's average message response time.

When a customer contacts a dealership through Facebook Messenger, they expect a prompt response. A slow response time can create a negative impression and reduce the chances of closing a sale. On the other hand, a timely response can help to build trust and establish a positive relationship with the customer.

For example, one of our car dealer marketing clients was struggling with their response time on Facebook Messenger. They were taking too long to respond to customer inquiries, which resulted in a low conversion rate. We worked with them to improve their response time, which resulted in a significant increase in sales.

  • Building relationships with customers
    Facebook Messenger can be used by a dealership to contact customers, even if they haven't originally interacted with the dealership through Facebook.

One of our dealerships identifies particular customers who contacted them on their CRM, and then use Facebook search to find the customer's profile, and then follow up with them with a friend request and Facebook message.

One more way dealerships can use Facebook Messenger to build relationships with customers is by encouraging them to engage with the dealership's Facebook page and ads. For example, a dealership can send follow-up messages to customers who have shown interest in a particular car, inviting them to visit the dealership's Facebook page to see more information and promotions. This can help to increase engagement with the dealership's Facebook page, and ultimately increase the chances of closing a sale.

Conclusion of the article "Facebook Messenger Guide for Car Dealers 2023: Maximizing Engagement and Sales"

In conclusion, Facebook Messenger is a powerful tool for car dealerships to use in order to maximize engagement and sales.

By following up with leads quickly, building relationships with customers through targeted messages, and encouraging them to engage with the dealership's page or ads on Facebook can all help increase conversion rates.

We hope this article has given you some ideas about how your dealership can leverage the power of Facebook Messenger as part of your marketing strategy. It’s time to get started today so that you can start seeing results tomorrow!

About the author

A profile picture of Gary Lewis Cheetham, the founder of GL Digital Automotive Marketing, smiling outside a car dealership

Gary Lewis Cheetham is an automotive marketing specialist, born and raised in Oldham, Greater Manchester. Gary Lewis Cheetham is the founder of GL Digital Automotive Marketing. He spent his teenage years working at the family dealership after school, learning the ropes of the car trade from the inside out.

After moving on to working in marketing, Gary Lewis founded GL Digital in 2020 when he noticed a need for direct-to-consumer marketing platforms within the auto industry. He now strives every day to help independent dealers in the UK and US realise their potential. Gary also loves Formula 1 and motorsport.

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