Internet Leads – why rush?
Many dealerships still struggle with internet leads despite their growing numbers. More often than not this is due to the sales team not having a concrete strategy and process when responding to the digital customer. We mystery shop hundreds of dealerships and the overwhelming majority provide subpar responses that do little to nurture a relationship. Isn’t that what sales is all about?
The most prevalent mistake made by car dealerships when dealing with an internet lead is treating that customer like they are at the bottom of the buying funnel. As is clearly shown in Google’s auto-specific studies (and countless others like them), customers are spending lots of time researching online, using many different resources during their discovery phase. If your first response to an inquiry about a car is “come to the store and we’ll work some numbers”, you are probably sending the wrong message to 95% of your leads. Instead, why not ask questions and get a dialogue going to better serve the customer? Most stores will do everything they can to get a customer on the phone or on the lot, likely because they are so uncomfortable with email conversations. While setting an appointment should be the end goal, you are wasting many opportunities to build rapport with a potential customer by rushing to the close.
The dealerships that monitor their online interactions and train on the digital sales process will have more opportunities to close customers. By providing valuable insight into the product and the stressful buying experience, you can distinguish yourself from your competition. This is no different from traditional sales; you are just using a different medium to get the customer what they need. In a future post, we’ll cover some best practices such as tweaking your auto-response, assisting with your customers’ research and setting up a schedule for reaching back out to the customer. Until then, it is probably a good idea to send an internet lead to your website so you can see what your customers see. Fair warning: It is very possible that you will be disappointed….