Automotive Marketing Professional Community for Car Dealers, OEM and Suppliers
A long time ago, back when we used paper desk logs to track our showroom traffic, our salespeople were asked to complete a “source” box. We wanted to know how our customers heard about our dealership. Strangely, “Location” was the overwhelming favorite; according to our salespeople, very few customers came into the store because of our advertising. Of course, the phone calls and Internet (and fax, back then) leads we received told a different story. We just weren’t asking the question the right way - or at all, in some cases.
We know that knowing how your walk-ins find you is critical if you are tracking the return on investment (ROI) of your marketing dollars. If one advertising source is driving twenty walk-ins a week and another is driving only two walk-ins per week but costing you just as much, wouldn’t you want to know which one is which? While most dealers have a method in place to ask customers how they heard about their dealership, many times this important question is overlooked in the more immediate quest to sell a car.
Take a look at your sales log and see how many source boxes are filled out. If it’s less than 90% or “location” is the only answer, I’d recommend an immediate action plan to get those numbers up.
Here are a few tips for implementing a process that will accurately track the ROI from your showroom visitors:
1) Start with the buyers. Customers waiting for the finance process to start typically have a few minutes of down time. Ask that they fill out a short survey, including what advertising source brought them in. Have the F&I Manager collect the surveys in case the salesperson didn’t record it in the sales log.
2) Leverage your managers. If your store requires that there is a manager involved in every deal, make it the manager’s responsibility to source every customer, and make them accountable in some way. Since your managers likely have more of a direct role in advertising decisions than your salespeople, they’re more likely to make it a habit.
3) Analyze your digital ad sources for ROI. Your CRM can show you by lead source the contact, visit, appointment and sales rates, and many ad sources are able to give you view and click-through reports that show their effectiveness. Invest more in profitable sources and cut the duds.
4) Make it a priority. Train your sales associates to include “what advertising brought you in today?” or a similar question into their needs discovery. You can even run a monthly contest for salespeople. Every month, whoever has the highest percentage of source boxes filled out, wins a prize.
Not every customer will remember where they first heard about you, but most will. Capturing lead sources for your walk-ins will go a long way towards determining which lead sources – both digital and traditional advertising – are delivering customers to your showroom.
How do you source walk-in customers? What works and doesn’t work, and why?