Maximizing Lead Performance

July 2009, Auto Dealer Today - WebXclusive

by Josh Vajda - Also by this author

Tips for Increasing ROI

Generating a high volume of Internet leads is critical in today’s market, and turning those leads into sales is vital.

Third-party lead providers are still some of the best sources for online leads. The right provider will help you generate the quantity and quality of leads your store needs to boost profits. But it can take more than having a reputable lead provider on board to ensure positive results. Good in-store processes are also necessary to guarantee high close rates.

Here are some tips for maximizing your ROI on Internet-generated leads:

Be where the buyers are: Work with your lead providers to maximize your online exposure. In-market buyers are still using the Internet to shop for vehicles. If your current strategy isn’t generating enough online leads, change it.

Get your unfair share of the market: Expand your radius outside of your primary market area and aggressively pursue customers in your competitors’ backyards. Don’t be shy about reaching out to buyers wherever they are.

Stand out: Dominate your market with premium placements, which will increase your exposure and drive more traffic to your site.

Early and often: Follow your e-mail templates with multiple phone calls at different times of the day. Don’t settle for one phone call and message, especially early in the process.

Extend your timeline: The average Internet buyer takes twice as long to make their purchase as a showroom or phone customer. Stand out by extending your follow-up timeline and continuing to reach out to potential customers for 60 to 90 days.

Use hooks: Offer compelling reasons for customers to come to your dealership. For example, “Have you had your trade professionally appraised?” or “I know you’re coming from far away; we’d like to pay for your gas for coming to see us,” and “We have a handful of good choices for you—one or two in particular I think you’ll be excited to see.”

Get a T.O.: If you can’t progress to an appointment, turn the prospect over to another salesperson.

Make the appointment stand out: Set appointments at memorable times, like 15, 40 or 45 minutes past the hour.

Confirm appointments: Managers can make a difference in show ratios by calling and asking to meet the customer personally when they arrive.

Drive them in… virtually: Send digital maps and directions in every appointment confirmation e-mail. It will save the customer time trying to find your location and will increase arrivals.

Persistence pays: Even if they don’t respond, keep sending e-mails and calling. Purchasing timeframes can change. Stay top-of-mind with the customer and you won’t lose out to the competition.

Source and track every customer: Make sure you have a system in place to track customer communications. Keep tabs on your customers; get them routed to the appropriate departments, and in the door when it’s time to make the sale.

Sell the vehicle: Don’t skip straight to the negotiation. Improve your gross by presenting the vehicle, doing a good demo drive and building value before closing the deal.

Sell yourself and the dealership: Praise the customer for the research they did prior to coming to your dealership. Assure them that they not only chose the right vehicle, but also chose the right dealership and person to buy from.

Most importantly, pay attention to what works and what doesn’t. Invest more time—and more money, if necessary—into any process that produces results. If you continue to build on your successful actions, sales and profits will increase. 

Vol. 6, Issue 5

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