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Managing online lead response time

By Jim Jabaay

As a consumer living in a digital world, we have turned into impulse buyers of goods and services. With the click of a button, we can order everything — from our groceries to dinner — and have it delivered within hours. Our attention spans are getting smaller and we expect to have items at our fingertips immediately. With such a high personal expectation with services for ourselves, why don't we treat online leads into our dealership the same way?

According to Harvard Business Review, leads being responded to within the first 5 MINUTES are 400 percent more likely to close. As an industry, our average lead response time is over 24 hours! Think about the time and opportunities that you are giving a potential customer to walk away or go somewhere else.

This response gap potentially allows a consumer to:

  • Learn more about other brands
  • Find other local dealerships
  • Read online product reviews
  • Read online dealership reviews

With digital leads costing between $15-$50 plus, why do we allow this to happen as a practice? The consumer is making 70 percent of the buying decision before they even contact a dealership. Every lead is more valuable than ever before and yet, CRM data shows us that 44 percent of sales people give up after one follow up call and claim the lead wasn't worth their time.

In order to grow our industry and business, we must change the expectation and not make excuses. Training our teams will be critical to increase sales inside our dealerships. Start with baby steps to assist in achieving a faster response time such as using auto-response for emails to customer inquiries. Next, hold your team accountable to call a lead back within the first hour. And most importantly, if they don't answer the first call, call again!

The world is changing fast around us and we need to be handling our customers in the same manner that we expect treatment in every other retail experience.

Jim Jabaay is the vice president of Sales and Marketing for LotVantage, a leader in digital marketing for automotive, powersports, marine and RV dealerships.  Jim has grown up in the automotive industry with the family dealership in the suburbs of Chicago. Jim started at Manheim in sales and continued to grow his career running sales teams throughout Texas for nine years.  Following Manheim, Jim spent two years at Dealertrack expanding his career in the software side of the business.  LotVantage utilizes data to help dealerships understand which inventory to post and when to post it for a local, national and social presence.  Jim’s number one goal is helping dealers succeed in an ever growing and changing dealership world.

Website: www.LotVantage.com

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