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Converting Leads: A Comprehensive Guide


Unlike the The Jackson 5 song, converting leads isn’t “As easy as 1, 2, 3,” but it’s one of the most important things your dealership does. Your marketing dollars will bring in the leads, but it’s up tp you to convert them. You’ve got to be engaging and responding to leads quickly, providing your customers with the information they expect when they need it. Mishandling your leads will equate to Your team setting the stage for lead innovation, and these areas of development can help you get there.

Business Development

Every dealership needs a measurable, consistent, and repeatable process for generating and managing leads. Business development focuses on getting appointments and nurturing both sales and service customers while keeping the customer at the front of your mind. Right now, on average, 55% of your sales are from walk ins, while 45% of your sales are coming from internet leads. (Pre-Covid19 numbers)

The goal is to switch the two numbers, not by losing walk-in sales but by increasing your internet sales. You need a business development framework that makes sure your dealership isn’t losing any internet leads to get you there.


Driving Digital Leads

Did you know that the automotive industry spends $205 on average for a lead? With that much money being spent, you want to make sure that you’re making the most out of every dollar you spend. Everyone knows that online and website leads are important, but Google can take your digital game to the next level. Google is a tool that will help you capture, create, and develop the demand that’s coming in. Along with utilizing Google, make sure that you’re using YouTube. As the second biggest search engine, YouTube videos will pop up before any results on a Google search.


Fine-Tune the Phones

Your dealership’s phone calls are important; when an online lead comes in, you normally (and rightfully) call them before you email them. You’ll want to evaluate your current process to see where your dealership needs work, but here’s an example of a phone plan:

  • Open with a warm greeting
  • Introduce yourself and ask about the customer’s request
  • Review requested vehicle information
  • Ask about customer’s current vehicle
  • Gather contact data from your CRM or online sources like Facebook
  • Calm any fears on pricing and/or trade value of vehicles
  • Schedule a visit
  • Address objections if needed
  • Provide information about the visit and give your information
  • Confirm appointment


Leveraging the Power of Your CRM

The best CRM is the one you use. Almost every CRM will help you record an abundance of information, such as your lead sources - something you should definitely be paying attention to. CRMs also help you manage alerts, set up workflows, and create templates. Your CRM helps you get to know your leads, which helps you sell better. It’s best to have a CRM champion of sorts, a worker who knows your CRM in and out that helps you retain customers by not losing them because of hard-to-use processes connected to your CRM.


Performance Management and Measurement

You don’t know how bad, or how well, you’re doing if you’re not measuring. Measuring is important to do as often as possible. Your dealership needs to identify key KPIs that can be measured for your internet leads, such as appointments set. While gathering these KPIs, remember that a number isn’t just great or horrible on its own. By comparing the data you retrieve, you’ll be able to decide what’s good and bad for your dealership.


Customer Engagement Analysis

Again, measuring your current customer engagement is the first step to improvement. You can’t go anywhere if you don’t even know where you’re at. There are a few different mediums that you’ll want to analyze, including emails, voicemails, text, and chat. Each of these handles differently than the others, so make sure you’re targeting your customer engagement based off of what form of communication you’re using. 


Quality Customer Engagement

Answering leads quickly isn’t enough for getting customers, you need to have quality engagements as well. Search for leads on the internet when they come in, get a feel for what kind of vehicle they need in their life, and sell accordingly. For example, if someone has kids, you can ask if their new car needs space for car seats. Don’t be creepy, but try tailoring the response to the customer. By spending more time on your initial response, you’re saving yourself time on follow up and giving your potential customers a better experience. It’s a win-win all around!


Setting More Appointments

Customers need to feel valued and appreciated. Doing simple things for your customers, like using their first names or reiterating how glad you are that they chose your dealership, will be the stepping stones to setting more appointments for your dealership. Getting your customers to engage with you can be a challenge, but one quick way to get a response is asking about a trade value. People care about the potential money they can save. You also need happy and caffeinated workers to help customers be willing to set appointments. 


Appointments Show

Remember, it’s not over until it’s over. One of the most important steps in making sure your appointments show is confirming the appointment. Make sure you’re documenting appointments in a CRM; don’t forget to continue leveraging that. Have a plan in place that will help you continue to confirm with your customer until the day of without being annoying. Spamming confirmation emails hurts you, not helps you. Also make sure to not give up on an appointment just because the customer didn’t show. You never know what life will throw at someone, so make sure to check up on those no-shows.


Selling More Appointments

When customers show for their appointments, make sure that everyone on your team is aware of what’s going on and will make the customer feel valued. Should your dealership manager be out there greeting people? Of course! By talking with a manager, and by a manager giving a customer to an associate, you’ll start building trust with customers. If you can get your customer to trust you, then you’ll increase how many appointments you sell.


Communication Fundamentals

The first annoying email you send is the last one your customer will read. There’s a reason that people tend to stick to their roots: they work. When it comes to communicating, it’s important to keep in mind the fundamental practices that ensure communications are helpful to both your dealership and your customers. This applies to chats, videos, and text messages.


Improving Customer Loyalty

It takes more than just satisfied customers to create repeat customers. Did you know that it costs 7 times as much money to create a new customer compared to keeping an existing customer? People today have more cars to choose from, more ways to buy, and more information in their hands than ever before. Building loyalty with your customers requires trust, which is earned through relationships. In other words, you have to be creating valuable relationships with your customers in order to keep them loyal.


Now What?

The Eagles won the first Super Bowl of their 85-year-old franchise last year - they didn’t do it with an outstanding offense and an average defense. It also took years of hard work, trades, and beating 12 other teams that season to get to the Super Bowl. Likewise, your dealership won’t get anywhere if you only focus on one area within it. Implementing every one of these ideas can be difficult to do all at once. Keep in mind that slow and steady wins the race. You and your employees are a team, so everyone needs to know the plan. You’re only as strong as your weakest link, so make sure that your workers aren’t your weak links.



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