In determining your process, take into account several criteria: What are your sales goals? What lead sources will support your department? How many leads do you currently receive? How long do you want your team to follow up with each lead? How many people are responding to each lead? Your answers to these questions ultimately should shape the process and, in the end, drive the experience your customers will have at your store and the likelihood that they’ll buy from you.
Keep in mind that 20 percent of shoppers expect a response within four hours and that 30 percent of leads are left unanswered. Consider your own performance and ask yourself: Is your store earning the business, or are you leaving it on the table?
- Email. How you manage emails can make or break the deal. Shoppers expect a prompt response that addresses their questions, so be sure to provide the information they request, and minimize the use of auto responders. If you rely on them during busy times or after hours, you’ll want to provide an actual reply as soon as possible so the customer doesn’t feel taken for granted. Pay attention to details (e.g., proper spelling and grammar), be courteous and personalize the message, especially if the shopper is a current sales or service customer. You should also take the opportunity to qualify the shopper (e.g., Is this the exact car you want or the nicest one like it?) and promote the value of buying from your dealership.
- Phone. When car buyers call, they want to speak with a salesperson who can provide information about the vehicle they’re considering without being rushed toward a sale. That means ensuring the phone is answered within a few rings by a professional who is familiar with your inventory, provides courteous service and knows how to lead up to suggesting an appointment. Before asking customers to come into the dealership, you’ll need to assure them their time is respected by first assuring them you have the cars that meet their needs and that your store offers the purchase experience and amenities they want.