A real email conversation between a former ISM of mine and his prospect:
Customer: Hello (Name Excluded), Everything you sent looks great. Do you have any on your lot in the Salsa Red Pearl color with taupe interior?
My ISM: No.
Well… what colors do you have in-stock?
My ISM: I dunno lemme check.
Yes… Yes, I really found this back in the day as a “discussion” between an engaged Internet prospect and one of my team members. Alas, there was room for improvement (and repercussions).
There are countless mystery shopping programs galore that can pinpoint errors happening in your team’s first response back to their prospects. From response time to content, to pricing and images, we dedicate a lot of time discussing what a great first reply should entail. Frankly, we focus on it too much. The truth is, there is one crucial step to quality lead management and that is a professional volley.
Don’t get me wrong. At DealerKnows, and within TaskTeacher (our Internet Sales Manager lead monitoring service), we spend a lot of time detailing how first impressions were made, and what could have been done to be better during the first response. Yet one specific piece of criteria we look at plays a more definitive role in whether or not you’re selling appointments/vehicles online. That is “are you getting engagement from the prospect?” and “are you replying back to them professionally after a conversation has begun?”
Do not allow your team to provide one word, short, or curt responses when you have a prospect engaged. Don’t condone their “dropping the ball” on customers’ questions. Your team’s replies can be manually written and personalized, but it must be consistent and professional. While it is great to type in short-hand, it isn’t the medium for it. Regardless of what the customer’s question, tone, statement, or response is back to you (after the initial lead submittal), you should still have a professional, composed format.
I recommend replying back to all customer follow-up emails with:
Hello (Customer First Name),
Thank you very much for replying back so quickly. I appreciate it. (Here is where I address and/or answer your question/comment.)
By the way, (here is where I ask a relevant question that leads you to a next purchase step?)
(Here is where I add in a call to action that includes the offer to call or text me back)
This format above is a respectable and professional way to reply back to a prospect’s response. Like the game of tennis, the best matches involve a volley back and forth. It doesn’t need to go on long, but it does require you to follow-through with your swing and place the ball in their court.
Guide the conversation’s trajectory and remain in control. A professional volley is a great way to keep winning match after match.
How do you keep the match going?