The Dealer Performance Blog

Customer Retention Tips to Sell The Next Vehicle™

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You’ve Established an Online Presence — Now What Do You Do With Those Internet Leads?

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Your dealership has listened to all of the experts and gone digital. You’ve built an attractive website. You’ve created a social media presence. You’ve even got a brand-new blog.

Now, customer leads are starting to flow in via e-mail, website information forms, and phone calls. What do you do to turn those leads into real, live customers walking through your front doors?

Many auto dealerships are horrible at this. Salespeople generally opt to interact with people who visit the dealership in person rather than communicating with online tire kickers who may or may not actually show up.

In this digital age, however, most automobile shopping begins online. Make sure your dealership is following these tips to avoid letting those online leads slip away.

 

Respond Quickly

If a person is browsing online and goes through the trouble of filling out an information form or e-mailing your dealership, you’ve got them on the hook.

Sadly, many dealerships leave these customers dangling for days on end. Forbes reports that 71% of internet leads are wasted. Generally, this happens by waiting too long. Most companies take a whopping 46 hours and 53 minutes to respond to an internet lead. By that time, many customers have lost interest or moved on.

When a potential customer requests a quote or more information from your dealership, they’ve likely also done the same for your competitors.

It’s important to jump on this opportunity to make a wonderful customer service impression by responding immediately — within minutes, even. Once they’ve taken the next step of talking on the phone with or visiting your competitor, it’s going to be harder to win them back.

 

Turn an Online Lead Into a Phone Lead

Rather than playing a game of back-and-forth with a potential customer via e-mail, use your internet lead to generate a phone lead.

Once you get them on the other end of the line, it’ll be easier to get an idea of exactly what they’re looking for in terms of vehicle, trim, and options. This will help you give them a more realistic quote. It will also help you gently push them into making an appointment to visit the dealership in person to take a test drive.

 

Make Your Dealership Shine

Whether you’re communicating with a potential customer online or via the phone, do more than simply giving them a vehicle quote. They can purchase that same vehicle at half a dozen other dealerships in the area. It’s important to sell them on why they should buy their new automobile from your dealership.

How do you do this? By highlighting all of the things your dealership offers beyond a great selection of quality cars.

Let the customer know about how your complimentary maintenance program will keep their vehicle running smoothly for the first couple of years at no out-of-pocket cost to them.

Tell them about your dealership’s comfortable waiting area with nice couches, a cappuccino machine, free snacks, and WiFi. Explain how your dealership bakes cookies so that customers can grab a fresh, hot one all throughout the day.

 

Don’t Rely Exclusively on Auto-Responders

To bridge the gap between dealership staff and customers requesting information online, auto-responder software can help. These programs automatically send the customer a price quote, as well as detailed information about the vehicle.

Don’t make the mistake of letting the auto-response stand alone, however. These generic responses can feel impersonal and need to be followed up right away with interaction with a real, live person either via e-mail or (preferably) over the phone.

Online interactions simply aren’t enough! Once you have them on the digital hook, get them on the phone, then bring them into your dealership. Do this in a timely fashion and your internet leads will start magically transforming into actual sales.

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Administration Book Review Customer Reviews CX Dealership Loyalty Efficiency F&I Lost Opportunities Marketing Pay Plans Profitability Relationship Building Retention Strategy Rewards Programs Sales Process Service Revenue Service Traffic Social Media Staff Training Technology Vehicle Repurchase
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About the Author

Richard Knight

Rick Knight is an Automotive Customer Retention Executive who founded Certified Maintenance® Programs in 1996. Rick has been successful in building custom retention strategies for thousands of auto dealers to better than double CP/RO counts in the first 12 months of ownership, drive back 34+% of lost opportunity customers and help auto dealers Sell The Next Vehicle™. 

Rick Knight on LinkedIn   Rick Knight on Twitter

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