How To Use Psychology To Motivate Online Prospects To Come In-Store

by Marissa Marazzi on September 23, 2016


Do you know what it takes to motivate online prospects to take action and come in-store?

Let's explore the behavior that psychologically drives motivation.

If you haven’t picked up a psychology book since high school, chances are you haven’t thought too much about this subject until now. You’ve probably never even considered the high correlation between empirical psychological studies and their implications to positively motivate customers.

Psychology defined is, the scientific study of the human mind and its functions, especially those affecting behavior in a given context.

The bottom line here is that Psychology equips you with the solid understanding of how people “tick”, why they take certain action and how to influence their action into a positive outcome in your favor. 

Isn’t that what the basis of being successful in automotive is?

There’s A LOT of topics and detail when it comes to this field, but for the sake of providing you with high key information that can help you today, I’m sticking to one of the best fields in Psychology; Motivation.

When it comes to motivating a consumer to take a particular action like, let’s say from searching your website to getting in-store, there are several factors that are at play.

From a Digital Marketer’s perspective, it’s almost impossible to say “THIS is what will get them in-store”.

There’s so many touch points in their online journey, in fact Google estimates on average there will be 900+ digital interactions over a three-month period for one single customer to make a decision.  That's a lot. Not to mention the complexity of each individual customer and how different motivators could have different results.

Psychology of Motivation: Intrinsic Motivation vs Extrinsic Motivation.

Now put yourself in the shoes of the customer.

Why do we do the things we do? What drives us to action?

Motivation refers to a desire or drive that contributes to or explains behavioral changes.

AKA frequently used to describe why a person does something.

Framing and priming the choice architecture from a psychological standpoint can be a beautiful process. Right now, our ultimate goal is to get that online customer from your website in-store; motivate action towards behavior. Like mentioned before, dealership's on average only convert 2% of leads from their website. 

So, how do you engage the 98%?

When it comes to incentive marketing online, it presents the perfect opportunity to extrinsically motivate a lead to take action.

Remember: motivators, provide some sort of incentive for completion of a task or activity.

The topic of motivation, is commonly separated into two different categories based on the motivator: Extrinsic Motivation and Intrinsic Motivation

Incentive theory is based on the idea that people are primarily extrinsically motivated.

Extrinsic Motivation

External; inessential. arises from outside of the individual.

Extrinsically motivated behaviors, are motivated by a desire to gain a reward.


You go to the gym everyday to lose weight. 

Intrinsic Motivation

Innate; inherent; essential. arises from within.

Intrinsic motivation involves engaging in a behavior because it is personally rewarding rather than the desire for some external reward.


You go to work everyday because you love your job and enjoy interacting with people.

Extrinsic Motivation and Intrinsic Motivation are both important ways of explaining behavior. For the sake of the action we want consumers to take, like buying a car, extrinsic is our key. 

Think of you own motivation for reading this article.

Are you trying to learn and gain more knowledge so you can ultimately sell more cars and become a higher performer at your dealership? Worried about meeting deadlines of cars sold? Eager for monetary rewards that depend on your performance and doing well?

If so, this means that your behavior is extrinsically motivated. You are reading this material to gain external reinforcement like a higher performance ranking or monetary gain.

Extrinsic Rewards

Empirical evidence on the use of incentives demonstrates that extrinsic rewards increase motivation. This is why we love incentive marketing oh so much. It makes the customer AND dealer ---> :)))

That’s it...

I hope that by better understanding your leads’ behavior, you can combine and practice this theory with your dealership’s day-to-day operation to create digital results you deserve.

Let us know your best practices on motivating customers in the comments!

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Topics: Incentive Marketing