Automotive Digital Marketing

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One of the first leads we received when we first started the Internet Department was from 3 hours away on a new Pathfinder. After an initial back and forth via email and a productive phone call, the salesperson went to the manager for some availability and pricing information. “Just get them in,” was the answer.


We all know that when we get customers in the door, we’re likely to close them. Our dealers (and our own internal measurements) tell us we close about half of our Internet customer visits. So if we can “just get them in,” we can “just close them.” HOW we get them in, though, is the real magic, and it starts with our contact rate.


Here are some tips to help you drive your contact rate – thus your appointment and show and sales rate – higher:


  1. People hate long emails.  Look at your email responses, starting with your initial response. Does it get to the point quickly? Is there even a point? Make sure the customer know why you’re emailing them and what you want from them up front. Keep it short and simple and people are more likely to respond.

  2. Keep. Trying. Industry studies consistently show two things: first, the more call attempts made by a sales associate, the more likely they are to make contact with the prospect (with some diminishing return after 6 call attempts, according to LeadCritic’s 2009 study). Second, most salespeople abandon the lead after 2-3 attempts. If you want to contact the customer, you have to put in the effort and be persistent where others are not.

  3. Stand out. Your customer likely sent a lead to another dealership (or 5). If you want the customer to return your contact attempts (email or phone), you have to a) be different, and b) clearly state who you are and where you’re from.

  4. Personalize your approach, not just your responses. In their keynote address at the Digital Dealer conference in October, Google discussed how online car shoppers are in a state of “constant consideration,” and no longer follow a linear buying cycle. That means each lead could be at a different point in the process, and you may have to pick up the process in the middle.

  5. Give reasons to call, respond or visit. If you’re not offering something to the customer of value or perceived value, they’re less likely to take an action. You can offer your assistance, or cash equivalents on your website in the form of incentives, or information that’s of value and typically hard to get (like payments on their vehicle of interest). Give before you expect to receive and you’ll get more back.


What have you done that’s helped you convert more leads into shows?

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Tags: AutoUSA, Car Dealer, Internet, Just Get Them In, Lead Management Process, Sales Manager, car, email, leads, marketing, More…new, used, website


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Comment by Doug Davis on December 13, 2012 at 8:19am

Josh, all valid points.  I would add, answer any and all questions.  I have often thought, did the ISM actually read the lead? 

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