Forward-thinking dealerships can prioritize the low-funnel buyer while building a lead nurture infrastructure to engage potential buyers still high up the funnel. A balanced approach to these two types of customers will lead to the best results.
Many dealerships, and for good reason, have tunnel vision when it comes to leads. They seek a particular type of low-funnel buyer who will close within 30 days, or at most 60, and spend little to no time nurturing higher-funnel leads. This makes sense because most BDCs aren’t designed to spend months nurturing leads who aren’t ready to buy, when low-funnel leads require immediate attention. It’s not smart to divert attention away from paying customers.
But rather than focusing exclusively on one type of lead, dealerships should also be looking for ways to reach all of them. Why? Because nontraditional leads are important. They are your future customers, and they will eventually buy from you and not your competitor IF you build loyalty with them now.
The good news is that it’s possible to nurture earlier stage leads without gutting your BDC resources. In fact, you can engage most early-stage leads with nearly zero day-to-day effort on the part of your BDC. With smart planning, you can set up a nurture cycle that engages all your leads but keeps your energy focused on following up with the ones that pay off the most.
Engage all leads: segment and customize
The key to engaging all your leads is to set up a tagging system to label different types of leads according to their interests and stage in the buying funnel. Then, provide different types of follow up and nurture for each group.
Here are some groups to look for and how to reach them:
Late Stage Leads
As you know, low-funnel leads are going to convert to buyers at strong percentages, in some cases even up to 15-20%. That’s why these leads need more of your time and energy. A later stage lead might be interested in:
- Campaigns that provide car-specific offers, opportunities for test drives, and features that compare and contrast similar models
- Phone calls to ask if they’d like to hear more about models they’ve checked out on your VDPs
Focus on bringing late stage leads the positive experience of your showroom to accelerate their visit to your dealership.
Many dealerships think duplicates are a waste of time, but this could not be further from the truth. Duplicates have converted on two or more touch points, demonstrating strong, and repeated, interest in your dealership. One study found that they convert at a rate 167% higher the rate of non-duplicates. These leads should largely be treated like late stage leads:
- Contact them quickly to follow up, making sure to address any questions or requests they submitted with their second conversion.
- Pay attention to what pages they’ve viewed and provide assistance accordingly.
Early Stage Leads
Typically, 97-99% of website visitors leave your site without converting into a lead. Many of these lost visitors are in fact early stage buyers, who simply aren’t ready to invest in filling out a form or making a phone call. Today, however, more and more dealerships are using lead capture tools that enable them to actually convert early stage leads.
So now that you have these early stage leads, how should you nurture them?
A customer who is in the early stages is interested in information that will help them find the best car for their needs.
- Try an email drip campaign with tips for car shopping, including how to get financing, features to look for, and new technologies to get them excited. Make this content evergreen so you can use it over and over again.
- Provide general offers and notifications about holiday sales to try to drive an early buy.
- Make it easy for these leads to find you if they are ready to call or come in, but don’t focus so much on closing the sale. Focus on simplifying the shopping process and building a relationship that provides value to the customer.
All of these nurture steps should be built in a manner that requires ZERO ongoing work from your BDC. Once you set up the campaigns, they should run themselves so your BDC can focus on low funnel, nearly ready to buy leads.
Other Lead Types
customers who bought from you, customers who bought from competitors, past loyal customers, etc. Work these relationships by continuing to provide value to your potential buyers. Set up campaigns to:
- Check in periodically to make sure everything’s running smoothly.
- Offer service deals.
- After two or three years, begin sharing general offers in case they are starting to think about a new vehicle.
Staying in touch and continuing to offer help and expertise leads to more return customers, and with a carefully mapped schedule and automation, won’t take much of your time.
Dig into your CRM and find all the leads that converted but were never contacted. It’s not too late to contact them now. Enter them into the early stage lead funnel and strive to provide value. You just might hear from them after all.
The tools for automating your lead nurture are many, from a simple email marketing program that supports drip campaigns, to sophisticated sales automation AI products that mine your CRM for sales opportunities. If you’re already using something like a basic drip campaign platform like Mailchimp, consider upgrading to something more powerful and designed for dealers. Otherwise, get started from the beginning and build your first campaign to nurture your leads, using your CRM data to create distinct funnels and personalize your customer service just like you do at your dealership showroom.
Everyone wants a shopping experience designed just for them. You can provide it without overspending or exhausting your current resources, and your BDC will love you for it too.