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Brett Sutherlin

Brett Sutherlin Owner & Founder

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What We’ve Got Here is a Failure to Communicate!

Dealerships spend a lot of money on leads. The bigger the store, the more money spent. And, added to that expense are staffing costs and the time and effort involved in trying to engage with consumers who submit the leads.

In the car shopping process consumers conduct a considerable amount of research and visit many different touch points. A major goal of any dealer’s digital advertising is to engage that consumer, capture their interest in a vehicle and get them onto their website. Typically, at that point, the consumer has narrowed their vehicle choice down to one the dealership has in stock, and the behavior indicates a low-funnel buyer.

Then the magic happens… and that customer converts on your website. But then the process grinds to a sickening halt.

Wait a minute – what the heck happens here -- why do so few of these leads turn into actual sales? Something inevitably motivated that car shopper to fill in that form to get more information and initiate contact. So, where’s the problem?

We studied the process in many dealerships and found the problem lies in the fact that the average time for a lead to get into the CRM is 6-12 minutes. This is for a multitude of reasons including poor email providers, volume of requests being processed, etc. But the point is, it’s pretty inefficient.

The faster you obtain the lead information and contact the inquiring customer, the more likely that customer will still be sitting in front of their computer, perhaps even staring at the VDP they converted on! Each passing minute reduces the chance the customer is still in “car-shopping” mode, available to talk. The general rule of thumb is that the first person to get that customer on the phone gets the sale.

However, at most dealerships what happens is as follows: The Internet Manager or BDC team receives that lead in the CRM. Auto-responders get fired out and dealership employees start calling. But the customer does not answer the phone. The Internet Manager or BDC agent might make that initial outbound call within seconds of receiving the lead, but still fail to connect with the customer. Sadly, that lag of 6-12 minutes getting the lead into the CRM can quite simply destroy the sale.

Have you ever heard the saying that a chain is only as strong as its weakest link? The same applies to the digital world. The mechanics involved once a customer clicks that “submit” button typically go something like this:

Customer hits submit submit –> Information is sent to website provider –> website provider sends the information to the dealership’s CRM in ADF/XML format à CRM provides dealer with the lead.

If the Internet Manager or BDC agent quickly connects with that lead, the customer is typically impressed and open to talk. It’s the time lag between a customer requesting information and being contacted that reduces contact percentages. It simply creates inefficient communication chains and a poor customer experience.

How can you tell if this is happening at your store? Test it yourself! Submit a lead and monitor how long it takes – on average – for a lead to go from your website into your CRM. But don’t stop there. In addition, monitor how fast someone on your staff reaches out. Both of these factors are vital to improving the time it takes to actually connect with a customer, and from there your overall closing rate.

Customers like a good experience. If you can quickly connect and provide relevant information, this starts building rapport and trust.

Don’t get caught out by a failure to communicate.

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