HELP! How can I improve my lead responses?!

Megan Barto
This is such a complex question. What kind of content is in your first response? How long is it? Do you use bold/colors? Do you say why you're different? What is your average response time during business hours? Why is it taking a full hour to respond? We respond to 95% of our leads before 25 minutes. Are you calling the customer (as soon as the lead comes in) first to try to get them on the phone? If you leave a message, are you saying "This is Eric from ABC Motors, wanted to let you know I'm sending you an e-mail with information on the Honda Accord in it. Please reply back or give me a call to let me know you've received it. I'd hate to think the important information you requested it got caught in your spam folder. Oh, and this is my cell phone, so also fel free to text me! It's 717-555-1212. Thank you for your time & I look forward to hearing from you soon." I love it when I call a customer SO FAST & they're still on the website looking at cars. They're surprised by how fast we call & my response can range from anything such as "The internet is so advanced, I knew you were going to submit a request for information before you actually did." <--make sure you laugh "We pride ourselves on customer satisfaction and I know the information is important to you & I'd hate to make you wait for it." <----more serious. The basic premise of the 1st phone call has 2 things 1.) If you get them on the phone invite them in for a test, drive, answer questions, *don't discuss price unless they do.* A lot of times, customers are just curious as to availability. 2.) If you don't get them on the phone, read what I put above. :-)
Eric Miltsch
Megan - great response & you frame it perfectly with your first question. Definitely seems like their process needs to be tweaked here. Thanks for sharing your advice!
Megan Barto
No problem! Always happy to share my advice! :-)
Chris Purser
We experience similar trends for success by recommending to all of our customers to contact each lead in under 30 minutes, sooner if possible. There's compelling data that suggests HUGE advantages to contacting them sooner. This article, (yes it's on our site) compiles data from a few reputable sources that shows evidence that contacting a lead in under a minute rewards you with a nearly 400% boost to convert.
Marc McGurren
At PCG we recommend a 15 minute response time whether it is phone or email. If a phone number is available, we always recommend a call before a click (others might disagree). To help with response rates and interaction make sure that strong calls to action are in the email AND voicemail. We believe that interaction is all about expectations, and therefore, set the expectations of what the dealer received and then what they will be sending. Ask to make sure that is exactly what they are looking for, and then what will be sent to them at their email address. Then depending on the market and competition, transparent competitive pricing is recommended with multiple options, not just the requested vehicle. Also, our recommended processes included a day one "Why Me" email that is sent 4-5 hours after the initial lead was received with personal information about the BDC Agent/ISM that literally states why the customer should buy from them, not just the dealership. We have seen great success here in connecting with consumers as the agent responding becomes a "person" rather than just a car dealer. This won't connect with everyone, but typically half of consumers this will resonate with based on personality types. Will they respond to this? Not all the time, but response rates are up when these emails are sent. So, is it normal for 70% of consumers to not respond to you? Nope - looks like the process and or what is being said might need to be tweaked. We shoot for a 60% communication rate or higher with our dealers. Hope this helps...
Donnie Hinkle
Do you have a BDC? If not that's the #1 thing you must correct. Having a productive BDC pretty much corrects the lead response time issue. Then there’s the quality of the initial call or email issue. Email in particular. If the BDC Representative/Sales Consultant can't get the customer on the phone first they must send an email. If the Sales Consultant/BDC Representative doesn’t not take the time to read and understand the inquiry; and because of that they miss the mark on the first email, you've pretty much missed an opportunity. When it comes to internet leads, a bad first email is the #1 way we loose and Internet Customer from the word GO. Is the answer to get them on the phone quickly? Partly but the main struggle is teaching good email execution. The truth is most dealerships are still having trouble making the transition in this new age of the Internet Customer. We are great over the phone but terrible with our emails. An example would be if the Lead Source for an Internet Lead reads "Trade-in" and your email focuses exclusively on the replacement vehicle or just setting an appointment (what we want rather than what the customer wants) yet never acknowledge the trade-in, you may have missed the mark completely and then loose the customer’s attention from the start. The best technique I have learned in emailing is to cover the inquiry thoroughly then end your email with a question or a series of questions. STOP! Don’t follow up with a statement like “Call me” or “Here’s my phone number”. Be willing to play a little Ping Pong before trying to move them to the phone, then to the dealership. Megan is right…it’s a complex question and I didn’t mean for my response to be so long.

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