Community

Share your automotive expertise

2 Write a Blog Post

Internet Lead Response, Inspect what you Expect

By Ron Henson on Feb 15, 2013

In my capacity at DrivingSales I get the opportunity to analyze the Internet Lead Response Process of many dealers.  The results certainly are varied and surprises pop up almost daily.  These surprises are often received less than favorably by the dealer and understandably so.  Dealer Principals and General Managers are confident that their process and response times are solid, that is until they see some actual results.

Yesterday I took a random sampling of the last 10 Process Analysis Reports that I prepared for dealers and there are certainly some trends that jump out very quickly.  7 of the 10 were completed while talking to the DP's and GM's at the NADA convention and the remaining 3 were completed just before.  

Take a look at some of these statistics:

  • Average response time (not including auto responders) ~ 11 hours  I think it's important to note that I removed the 4 dealerships that didn't respond at all in order to not completely skew the numbers.  Ouch!
  • # of responses that contained an answer to a specific question that was asked ~ 1      How are your prospects reacting when they submit a question via your website, a specific question, and the response they get in return is, "Let me know if you have any questions."  Hello, Mcfly!?!  I don't know about you, but if businesses do not listen to me, they do not get my money.
  • # of responses that contained grammatical or spelling errors ~ 6   Now when you look at that number please keep in mind that for the purpose of this post I pulled 10 samples and 4 of them did not respond at all.  10 minus 4 =.....well, you get the point.  How important is a first impression?  I would be willing to bet that you have sales meetings regarding the importance of the first impression.   Did you know that one of the most critical items that a customer judges in order to decide if they are going to eliminate a dealership from consideration is the level of professionalism in that initial email response?

Ok, I'm done discussing the gloom and doom of poor lead handling and the pitfalls that they present to dealerships and the money that it costs them every day.  I'm done mentioning that the disconnect that exists between the investment that the dealer makes in new technology tools and digital marketing and the execution that actually takes place in the trenches is bleeding dollars through the back door.  I'm also done mentioning that over 95% of car shoppers and buyers today require a professional online experience in order to consider giving a dealership their business.

Good news!  The 10 dealers who received these reports (after they stopped fuming) saw a great area of opportunity where they could, kindly and lovingly, coach their teams on the benefit of tightening up these processes.  Benefit #1: Job Security!

My advice, take the time to analyze your process and see if there is some opportunity that your dealership may be missing.  The ROI on the time you spend doing so will make you smile.

Let's move some metal!

Comments

Thanks for sharing Ron. Same results, different day for many dealers.

Feb 15, 2013

What a coincidence! My e-Business Manager and I were just talking about the same thing with our internet team yesterday............the cream rises to the top. Thanks Ron.

Jeff Richmond
GSM
Valley Importrs

Feb 16, 2013

Good stuff, Ron. I recently presented similar findings at the DMSC in Orlando, after ranking thousands of Internet responses. Suffice it to say, we might have well saved ourselves time and looked at a much smaller sample size to show that dealers need help improving their interaction with customers.

Feb 16, 2013

Great info Ron. We have found very similar results during our consultations and work with dealers. Many times it is because dealers don't know. When they tell us they have their lead process down, they are shocked when we present information to the contrary. Especially when their departments don't call a lead we submit. Dealers have to allow some of the great trainers out there to hold up the mirror so dealers can sell more cars.

Feb 17, 2013

Definitely food for thought. One question: was the ~11 hour average just business hours, or within a 24 hour window?

Feb 18, 2013

Great question Amy. In preparing the findings from the sample I pulled it was business hours only which means the results were actually worse than reported.

So glad to see responses to this post from Glenn Pasch, Joe Webb, and Shaun Raines who are all experts that I admire tremendously.

And Jeff, good for you for having those discussions! Keep up the good work!

Feb 18, 2013

Here is some food for thought... What is your process for monitoring response times and quality of response. While third party (outside eye looking in) advice is great and always welcome we as Managers should be monitoring these issues daily. Though we may never perfect the process of Internet Sales, there is no reason why we should not try! Thank you Ron for your insight!!

May 12, 2013

Anyone know of a company that I can hire at a reasonable price to secret shop my digital team weekly/monthly? We have thousands of email addresses to secret shop our competitors every month for the last 10 years but I - and I bet they would appriciate some accountability reporting on my team. Funny, while I was typing this, I contacted my accountability manager and discussed doing this in-house and creating a "Digital Report card" that would grade every lead response in detail and followup including copies of every response and phone call/text attempt for 30 days. Answered my own question :) Love this forum.

Sep 27, 2013

Hey Joe,
Shoot me an email and I'll share the "Quality Lead Response Report Card" that we have. Good to see you on the forum and I hope we'll see you at DSES.

Sep 27, 2013

Joe - If you have an accountability manager, you're way ahead of the curve. I LOVE it. We offer a couple of services for our clients and others called TaskTeacher and PriceMatrix. PriceMatrix does the detailed mystery shopping of your same brand competitors on a monthly-bi-monthly basis so you know their pricing, response time, online pricing, strategies, rebates using, etc. This way dealers can stay competitive.

However, with TaskTeacher, we do much of what you'll be doing with your accountability manager. I PREFER that dealers do this in-house, but it must be done. We monitor how thoroughly their lead handlers/ISMs follow-up long-term with their Internet opportunities. We measure timing, effort, content, responses, and more. Every bit of criteria we hold them accountable for is weighted statistically to arrive at a "grade". Our team and software then writes detailed notes describing any discrepancies, as well as words of encouragement. It then automatically shoots those "grades" and coaching comments back to the ISM, Internet Director, Sales Managers and more.

As you embark down this path, a tip that we ended up including into our software...make sure that you keep a historic database so you can notate trends to how they are improving and what specific short-comings each individual has. It takes managing and training to another level. (We call ours "progress reports"). Great job incorporating that into your daily routine. We've learned that it is only when someone realizes they're being constantly monitored (and receiving corresponding grades) that they start following the process well.

Sep 27, 2013

Comments 1 - 10 of 12

You must be logged in to comment

Login Create an account

Add your comments:

   

Ron Henson's Recent Posts

Related Posts

  • How to Properly Promote Yelp in Your Dealership

    What is your dealership doing in store to drive traffic and attention to your Yelp listing? There are many ways to ensure your customers know that your dealership has an active presence on Yelp and to encourage them to share their feedback. Read post

    By Cobalt on August 20, 2014

  • The Power of Digital Persuasion

    Say this for J.D. Power: They know the digital space, and few organizations have the credibility to report on the digital trends that impact the likes of Ford, GM, Toyota and others. They boast strong analysts who know brand-level automotive marketing and digital topics, and can communicate their findings in a concise and compelling way. Take their most recent study, the J.D. Power 2014 U.S. Automotive Media and Marketing Report. The organization claims that it “provides a comprehensive strategic perspective on the factors that influence new-vehicle purchases, as well as attitudinal, lifestyle, recreational and media consumption behaviors.”  That pretty much means – I think – that it reports on what most influences car buyers to sign on the line. This year’s study includes digital media habits, from search to display, social and more.  To read the summary for yourself (do so), click here.  The study is based on a nationwide survey of 31,200 principal drivers of purchased ...Read post

  • New to Special Finance? Or looking to do more? Check out our new eBook with DealerStrong!

    We've collaborated with the executives at DealerStrong to put together a new eBook for you about working in Special Finance, all with the goal of helping you to SELL MORE CARS!® The guide will walk you through the three pillars of a successful special finance (SF) operation to get you off to a fast start. Read post

  • What to measure with in-house live chat

    ~~In his book, Customers for Life, Carl Sewell says to MEASURE EVERYTHING. So how do you measure how well your team is doing with live chat? For many dealers handling chat in-house, ‘measuring chat’ means tracking the number of chat conversations and leads, and possibly the number of sold units. But what else should a dealer take a look at to see how well their staff is doing with chat? After all, BDC team members and salespeople must learn their product, master handling phone ups and walk-in traffic, and legal requirements, as well as basic sales skills. Here are a few of the key metrics to track: Number of chats Number of leads and conversion percentage Time to respond to a chat Sales-to-service chat ratio Length of live chat conversations Staying on process with pre-written responses Amount of time logged on / off the chat console By investing a few minutes to dig deeper into the available data, you can improve your chat quality, lead counts, and most importantly, incr...Read post

  • How To Manage The Millennial Car Shopper : AutoTrader Mobile Millennial Case Study

    AutoTrader releases groundbreaking statistics on the future of the automotive shopping experience. Millennials have the pedal to the mobile metal and are shaking up the automotive advertising, shopping and purchasing structure, as we know it. 95% use the internet to shop with 82% of their time spend shopping online, 51% being on 3rd party sitesRead post

  • New Study: Mobile App Users Become More Frequent Visitors to Dealership Service Department; Visiting Nearly 50% More Often Than Non-App Users

    Study of 307 dealerships nationwide shows that for every 1,000 app users, a dealership receives, on average, $144,000 in incremental service revenue   Daytona Beach, FL – August 19, 2014 –DMEautomotive (DMEa) today released new research proving that mobile app users become more frequent visitors to a dealership’s service department after they download the app. The study looked at 307 dealerships nationwide that offer a dealership-branded mobile app and compared the 6-month service visit frequency of consumers after installing the app, versus prior to downloading. According to the research, after downloading a dealership’s mobile app, users’ 6 month service visits increased by 25% after download of the app service visit frequency grew 3.7 times faster than non-app users “These are remarkable findings,” said Marcie Hopey, Director of Strategy for DMEautomotive. “While most dealers may think a branded mobile app is a ‘nice to have,’ this proves that not only do...Read post

  • Lessons in Live Chat from The Karate Kid

    Today’s post is about helping you brush up on some live chat knowledge so that your can perfect your internal processes and thus see better results from chat. And I’ll do it with a little help from The Karate Kid’s, Mr. Miyagi.Read post

  • Sell the Car, Not the Price

    Ever since the first car dealership opened, dealers have understood the emotional impact of “the walkaround.”  As consumers move through the buying cycle, they get to a point where they don’t just want, but need to experience a vehicle that they are interested in.  In the past, most consumers would visit the dealership in the evenings, when the lot was closed to avoid “being sold.” But driven by their need to experience the vehicle in person, they still came, day and night.  Well, believe it not, nothing has changed!  Consumers still have an uncontrollable need to experience a vehicle first hand as they move through the buying cycle.  The only difference is that the initial experience takes place online via a Vehicle’s Detail Pages (VDP Pages).  Imagine, however, if a dealer could put one of their vehicles (or their entire inventory) in every mall, venue and every other busy consumer traffic area in their PMA, at no additional cost. Now image if they could have a s...Read post