Five Tips for Auto Dealers to “Just Get ‘Em In”


By Josh Vajda

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:

•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.

• 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.

• 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.

• 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.

• 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.