Bob McCann, ARI Network Service’s director of education, says dealers are losing out on many of the opportunities the Internet provides by ignoring leads generated on their Web sites.
In a secret shop of the dealers registered for Profit Xcelerator, McCann found only one-fourth of dealers picked up the phone to contact online leads, and 37 percent of leads weren’t responded to at all.
According to McCann, e-mail leads should be followed up with a phone call in order to make an in-store appointment, and ideally that should happen as quickly as possible. He cited an MIT study that says if a lead is called within 30 minutes, chances of contacting that lead go up 500 percent.
He suggested dealers who are far outside that 30-minute window should strive to get response times down to no more than 120 minutes. McCann said data from ARI’s Footsteps lead management software suggests that sold/delivered leads drop off significantly after 120 minutes.
In addition to speed, he said the quality of a lead response is also key. Either before or after calling an online lead, McCann suggests dealers also respond with pre-written e-mail templates branded with the dealer logo. These templates ensure salespeople use consistent and professional language, minimize sales rep key strokes and encourage process adherence.
“You need to have a published process for handling leads,” McCann said.
Finally, McCann urged the audience to be patient. Research shows most customers buy after seven customer touches by the dealership.