From Online Search to Conversation and Then From Conversation to Sale: The Importance of Channel Relevance

Writing in Automotive News, Vince Bond, Jr. asks a question that is mission critical for many businesses today, “How do you quickly turn an Internet search into a conversation and turn that conversation into a sale?”

In general, I believe all marketing involves disruptively creating interest. Once a prospect demonstrates that interest (for example in the form of an online search), the sales process relies on a conversation to assess needs, qualify the prospect, define product benefits/attributes/features, and ultimately ask for the sale.

In Vince Bond’s article titled, Kia Seizes on New Google Ad Function, an essential element of “creating a conversation” is identified – namely offering the conversation in the prospect’s most desired channel. Kia is seizing on channel relevance by using a new texting option available on Google search ads. This option enables Kia to start a conversation with millennials via text.

Here’s how it works. When a prospective Kia buyer searches for a car on their mobile device, a texting icon pops up in an advertisement that links the consumer to their nearest Kia dealership. As the prospect clicks on the link, a texting conversation begins. The goal of that texting interaction is to transfer the prospect from their preferred texting modality into the buying stage where the prospect presents for a test drive at the dealership.

In an article for, Paul Skeldon cites a study of 500 US shoppers aged 18 to 34, conducted by OpenMarket, which found, “That while 72% of millennials note they text 10 or more times a day and 31% that they text more than 50 times a day, the leading factor in millennials’ preferences for texting is its ability for two-way communication with businesses, an aspect that provides convenience, speed, and ease of use.” This attention to the preferences of a generation of mobile consumers who prefer texting over live chat, and phone calls or email – sets the sales conversation off on the right foot and demonstrates that you have put the consumer’s needs at the center of the conversation!

You’ve likely invested quite a bit to get the attention of your prospective customers. Have you equally invested in shifting interest into a buying conversation by engaging those prospects from the outset on their preferred platform?

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Joseph A. Michelli, Ph.D. is a professional speaker and chief experience officer at The Michelli Experience. A New York Times #1 bestselling author, Dr. Michelli and his team consult with some of the world’s best customer experience companies.

Follow on Twitter: @josephmichelli

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