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Validate & Execute - Automotive Dealers & AI

Idea threads

AutoMan

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Mar 27, 2024
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So I'm about to properly engage with my target audience and test my idea.

Story goes - I started building AI assistant or chatbots for a few of my mates with home services businesses. They would engage leads in sms conversations and provide quotes and estimates based on the framework I fed them. While chatting to another friend who was previously a car salesman for quite some time, he indicated there might be a need for similar systems in the front end of dealerships. So I got to investigating...

Long story short...I found that dealerships in my state had no line of communication open for inbound leads after hours and enquires were dealt with the next business day.

I spent the next few months building out an AI assistant that fills the after hours service gap specifically leads coming through the largest car listing platform in AUS into dealerships.

Instantly automatically engages with the lead via sms, provides product knowledge, nurtures and looks to book test drives and hand off to a salesman. It has a no response follow-up sequence and automatically provides the salesman with a detailed contact summary. The end goal is an end to end customer service AI assistant but thats some time away and Im focused on the initial enquiry/pre sale first. Its very much an MVP but I want to keep it that way until I receive some REAL feedback.

All early feedback from friends in the industry has been positive.

My assumptions Ill need to validate -
1. Dealerships will recognise the value in and be willing to invest in AI technology for after-hours customer engagement.
2. Customers prefer and are satisfied with interacting with AI for their initial inquiries, rather than waiting for a human response.
3. Responses will be sufficiently personalised and accurate to positively impact lead conversion rates.
4. The implementation and integration process will be smooth and not disrupt existing dealership operations.

The plan:
I have focused on building an audience on Linkedin. I found I can easily connect with sales managers and dealer principles. I have created an explainer video, some product demos and have regularly been getting my brand in front of decision makers with content.
Next step is to find a two dealerships willing to trail the system for free in return for some honest feedback. I will reach out to sales managers on Linkedin along with calling the dealership the same day with my offer.

This thread will serve as an area for my progress and accountability.

I hope to gain advice from anyone that follows along - Please share your thoughts

Here is the link to my landing page
 
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AutoMan

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Mar 27, 2024
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Alright.

3 weeks since my first post. I'm calling the need validated and concentrating on the product now for a few reasons:
  1. A big 2-way sms platform Podium recently set up an automotive branch here in Aus, focusing purely on signing dealerships.
  2. After watching one of their webinars I realised my MVP could blow their current product out of the water.
  3. I reached out to 150 of my linkedIn connection (dealer principles & sales managers) asked if they would like to view a quick product video and I had over 5% of them respond asking for the demo. Also a few decision makers have reached out to me after we connected and ask for more info on the product.
Things to work on before I can get dealerships onboard for a trail:
  • Lead to customer journey (Its quite unstructured at the moment)
  • My product demos take so long to film as I struggle with the camera on. They also lack quality slides and I am using Loom. Not sure if sending a link to Loom is too unprofessional for a demo?
  • I dont really have a brand identity. My landing page sucks and this was highlighted when I jumped on a call with a brand manager/designer and he showed me his process then did not hold back on my landing page and LinkedIn posts! I am undecided if I will get him to design and re-brand + strategy - quoted 3k usd.
  • I want to start creating some good video content. Probably need to have my videos edited.
  • SALES...I fumble my way through a freaking recording on my own so I really have to find a way to communicate better. Especially when the time comes for face to face sales calls and live demos. I have been reading and listening to Grant Cardone, while I dont agree with everything he says I like his take on sales. A friend of mine is in the Jeremy Miner inner circle, he sends me the odd sales training video. I think his method to sales is quite different and all about tone...could suit me better.
Most of my current worries are around the brand. I feel as though nailing my brand and will go a long way to my prospects seeing me as a genuine player in the Industry.

The next week involves:
  1. Finish end-to-end product demo.
  2. Finish quick after sale check in demo
  3. Follow up with LI leads
  4. Jump on another call with branding guy and go through exactly what he will provide for the money.
  5. After new demo is complete - reach out to another 150 connections + follow up existing ones with new demo
Until next time
 

AutoMan

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Mar 27, 2024
14
4
I spoke to a super helpful Dealer Principle a few days ago. When he first reached out I could tell he was an early adopter / visionary in the field. He wants to help in any way he can to get this off the ground. His dealerships is only a few hours away so I plan to spend time with him working through integrations into current crm's / management system. I will also get him to test the product (act as the lead / customer) and go through the customer life cycle and provide some feedback.

Made the decision to work with a designer to create a personal brand, content strategy...he will also work on updated logo and website for the product as the current landing page is terrible and I have added so many features its outdated. Lesson learnt - dont spend good money on a landing page before finalising the product!

So...once the personal and product brands are sorted, I will focus on creating a quality demo video/presentation. I'll probably use this as a lead magnet, might advertise it.

Product focus -
  1. API Integrations with current systems. Spend time at a dealership observing their current processes.
  2. Redbook integration - Vehicle data integration so assistant knows every detail about the enquired vehicle.
Peace
 

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