Best Practices

Are you missing internet leads from your dealer website?

Cliff Banks over at Wards Dealer Business wrote an article with Lisa Keller of eValuation Inc. on how we, as Internet sales managers, need to be careful that our leads are not “evaporating”. Basically saying; it’s always possible for technical problems to arise (like servers crashing) and not allowing leads from our website to make their way into your Internet lead management (ILM) software, and never knowing about it.

I’m sure this could be a possible concern, but how would someone on “our end” track this unless a server went down for hours and it became obvious? I would hope that the vendors providing dealer websites realize the importance of a dealer receiving every lead and have back up measures in place to prevent such a

What I found more interesting are the statistics that Lisa is able to gather with their mystery shopping service. We all know the longer it takes a dealership to respond to a lead less chance you have of selling that customer. BUT it’s nice to see some hard numbers proving it.

The article also touched on the importance of strong email responses.
The quality of the response is an area many dealerships fail at. According to Keller, strong e-mail responses should include the following six things:

  • The Greeting

    You want to thank the customer for the opportunity and introduce yourself and the store. Pretend the customer is in front of you.

  • Provide at least one alternative vehicle

    Two or three are better. Always include a certified pre-owned alternative. A pricing range also should be included. Studies show most customers have not decided on what they want when they contact the store. More information may help you set that appointment and close the sale.

  • Give the customer a reason to buy from you.

    Keller calls it a value proposition statement. According to a Cobalt Group study last year, more than 90% of online automotive shoppers buy from a dealership other than the first one they contacted.

  • Ask two qualifying questions

    Provide reasons why you are asking the questions. For example, determine the trim level of the vehicle they are interested in. Why? Different trim levels can change a vehicle’s by as much as $10,000.

  • Be direct and ask for the appointment.

    “We see many responses in which the salesperson says, ‘Let me know if there is anything else I can do,’ and leaves it that,” Keller says. “Seeing that is like nails on a chalkboard.”

  • The signature

    Provide your name, e-mail address and phone number along with the web site address and physical address of the dealership.

My question to Lisa; does a dealer include all of this information in 1 email or do you spread this information over a few emails?

I personally spread the information over a few emails. When writing email I think you have to be quick and too the point. Long winded emails will quickly loose your readers’ attention. AND using a few emails to get your point across gets your name in front of the customer a few more times. It makes it easier for the customer to find YOU in their inbox.

Lisa, if you read me!

Founder of DealerRefresh - 20+ Years of dealership Sales, Management, Training, Marketing and Leadership.

You raise some great points. I immediately became concerned about my leads some time ago, particularly so when a dealer can switch CRMs from time to time, so the question is: Am I seeing ALL my leads? One very easy way (a little time-consuming) is to get a cc to your email address. Make an inbox for each lead provider, and when you have confirmed they have been sent to your CRM, move them to the appropriate in-box. At the end of the month, the number of leads in the in-box should match what you are paying for (or what your CRM tallies). If a server crashes, (on the CRM, or elsewhere) you simply respond to the lead in the cc email.

As far as how much information, that isn't always easy. We generally send a greeting which is a why buy from us, followed shortly by a quote on a couple of vehicles including a pre-owned one if appropriate. Then a phone call to thank them for their inquiry, and to see if they received the quote. If the answer is yes, the next question is "Which one did you prefer?"

The answer is almost always what is the difference between the two or they prefer the cheaper one. Great! Set the appointment.

That has worked pretty well for us, and we average 24-26% appt set ratio to leads.
  • K
  • May 2, 2010
We include all of those points that you have mentioned because of the SFE standards that is already a part of Cadillac and is rumor to be spread to Chevy pretty quickly. The problem I'm having is getting the response that they think that this is an internet response because it's too long. The message is all informative. We answer their questions but it seems like if they don't have direct questions, they see it as an Auto Response. For April we ran 39% appt to leads. That's not contacted leads. That's the actual lead. We are selling on average 81 cars a month however we are reaching for 130 to 150 cars a month. I'm speaking with my SFE advisor to see if there are better ways to get responses. If there is not a phone number we have a real hard time to get a response especially from our 1st day repsonse. I think the most popular is the one from me, the director saying how an our managers help or the one subject: Please respond. Any advise is greatly appreciated.