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Trace Ordiway

Trace Ordiway Internet Sales Best Practices Consultant

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Are you still debating whether to employ text messaging in your eLead response process?  This story may get you off the fence.


One day a couple weeks ago, as I do most days, I was sitting in a General Manager’s office reviewing his store’s recent mystery shop. 


When I told him the Lead Response Time (LRT) was a disappointing 5 hours 36 minutes he immediately went to his CRM to verify.  To my surprise, the CRM said the response time was 41 minutes.


Hmmm, OK.  So, was the First Quality Response (FQR) an email or a phone call?  (In Ford-world, only an email stops the clock).  It was an email, and a manually written and sent email at that.  (In Ford-world, autoresponders and other auto-sent emails do not stop the clock).  So everything checks out to support the 41 minute LRT story.


Then the problem is on my end.


My mystery shoppers always have or email addresses and I have all mail to these addresses forwarded to my main Inbox in MS Outlook.  When I opened the mystery shopper’s Gmail account in a browser I discovered that the LRT was indeed 41 minutes!  So, either Google did not forward the email to Outlook for 5 hours, Outlook did not pull down the email for 5 hours, the email floated in cyberspace for 5 hours, or some combination of these events took place.


All of us have experienced occasional problems with our electronic communications: the email that appears in our smart phone but never makes it to our PC, the email forwarded by a friend today that doesn’t arrive until tomorrow, emails from trusted senders that unexplainably go into our Junk/Spam folder and escape detection for days/weeks/forever.   It happens every day.


With a fast Lead Response Time being so critical (is there anybody reading this who does not believe that LRT is critical?) a 41 minute response time perceived by the customer to be a 5 hour 36 minute response time can be fatal.  So why not take an easy preemptive step to insure that your prompt LRT is recognized?


Send a text message.


In the example above, imagine that the salesperson, after sending his FQR, sent a quick text message to the shopper saying “Hi ________, Joe at ABC Motors here.  Got your request, already replied.  Check your email.  Let me know if you do not receive.  Thanks.”


What a difference that could have made!


At the very least I would have seen that text (and how do you NOT see a text message?) and made a mental note that the dealer had contacted me promptly.  At most I would have gotten the text, immediately checked Outlook, and when no email was seen, called/emailed the dealer or checked my webmail to hunt down his missing response.


Granted, not all leads come to us with a cell phone number (or a phone number at all).  But when we do get a cell number, why not utilize it?


Here’s some quick tips:

 - If you don’t know if the prospect’s phone # is a cell phone or not just go to and find out. Takes 20 seconds.

 - If it is a cell number, and your CRM is incapable of outgoing text messaging, go to and send a free text-message from your computer. Now you have a record of the text that you can copy and paste into the prospect’s profile in your CRM.


You can do the same with Google Voice but I prefer the way Joopz messages appear in the smart phone’s window.  Experiment with it a little bit until you get things to appear the way you like.  And did I mention that Joopz is FREE?


At last November’s Digital Dealer Conference I heard a presenter state that the average email receives a reply in 48 hours – and the average text message receives a reply in 4 minutes.


Which do you like best?



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