Best PracticesDealership MarketingDealership Operations & Processes

Treat EVERY Lead and Call Like an Order

When I first started working closely with dealership internet teams in 2003, I was surprised whenever a traditional sales manager took any interest at all in their activities.

Back then there were two primary types of managers heading up a store’s internet efforts: There was the “guy who was good with computers” and there was the “nice guy salesman we don’t want to fire.” As a rule, the managers at the desk wanted nothing to do with that team.

That was unfortunate, because today many of those same managers still view their internet sales as some mysterious function far outside their ability to comprehend. Of course, if you’ve been reading this series, you know the truth is that internet sales are not just relatively easy to master; they are so easy to master that they’re actually kind of boring.

In this 7-part series, my hope is to detail in plain language how you can stop overthinking much of what goes into making a sale to an internet prospect, and how to use these seven simple strategies to start setting more appointments that show and buy today:

Simple Strategy #4: Treat EVERY Lead and Call Like an Order – because they are

The Problem: Most dealers respond to leads as if the lead is merely an attempt for more information. This passive communication keeps the prospect in control.

The Reality: The consumer selected your dealership & selected this vehicle from among the millions online today because they are ready to buy. The consumer has spent 19 hours or more online before they ever submitted that lead – they are ready to buy; don’t blow it.

[Tweet “When you start to treat leads like orders, you’ll find yourself responding differently”]

The Solution: When you start to treat leads like orders, you’ll find yourself responding differently – more proactively, if you will. So, that’s the first step: Look at every lead as if the customer is trying to place a firm sales order. Believing this, you’ll be more likely to:

  • Deliver immediate follow-up
    For example, if you assume that a specific third-party lead is an order – and that this order was also sent to two of your competitors – how quickly would you respond? Immediately, right? Within seconds, in fact; because you’d do almost anything to be the first salesperson to speak with this customer.
  • Deliver persistent follow-up
    So, if that lead was an actual order to purchase, what are you likely to do after you’ve failed to reach the prospect over the first couple of tries? You’d continue to follow-up until they either bought from you or told you they bought elsewhere, right? That persistence is lacking when we look at a lead like just another “request for information.”
  • Create urgency & excitement
    Most of us are still excited when we sell a car, but understandably less excited when a new lead arrives. If we treated that lead like an actual sale, how excited would we be? How much urgency would we have in our voice when a customer asked if it was in stock? Imagine the urgency and excitement we could create if we answered the “Is it in stock?” question like this:“I saw that vehicle this morning but at the price we have it listed for, it will not make it through to the weekend. Now, I do have two test drives open on that vehicle this afternoon, I have a 1:45 and a 2:15; which one works better for you?”

  • Stop asking questions
    If someone actually ordered a vehicle you would never ask them something meaningless like “Are there any colors you would not consider?” By treating the lead like an order, you can keep them focused on the vehicle they selected instead of confusing them with worthless sales speak.
  • Guide them
    They really are just trying to buy your vehicle. If you treat the lead like it’s an order, you will find yourself explaining the next steps and telling them what to do. And guess what? More often than not they will do exactly what you tell them.


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This is part 1 of 7 Simple Strategies for Closing More Internet Deals Today!
by Steve Stauning.

Don’t miss out on the complete series:

Part 1Simple Strategy #1: Pay for the Performance You Want

Part 2Simple Strategy #2: Internet & BDC Teams Must be Managed Like Call Centers

Part 3: Simple Strategy #3: Stricter Rules Drive Higher Sales

Part 4: You’re reading it

Part 5Simple Strategy #5: Yes, You Should Always Use an Auto Response

Part 6Simple Strategy #6: Email Templates can be Personal AND Automated

Part 7Simple Strategy #7: The First Call Should Be the ONLY Call


Steve is the author of Assumptive Selling: The Complete Guide to Selling More Vehicles for More Money to Today’s Connected Customers;" as well ...