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Derrick Woolfson

Derrick Woolfson Business Development Manager

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Top Reasons to Have A Plan of Action For Long-Term Follow-Up!

As much as we would like to pat ourselves on the back for a job well done - are we really doing the best we can when it comes to long term customer follow-up? In just reviewing the lead volume - not even considering unsold showroom traffic - it seems impossible to follow-up with all of the leads for that month. Let alone the leads that came in within the last 60 - 120 days. That being said, there has to be a strategy in place to ensure you are getting the strongest ROI possible on your various lead sources.

Here are some of the best practices to consider when managing long term follow-up.

What do you consider long-term follow-up?

Every dealership has their own definition of what longterm follow-up means; everything from two weeks, thirty days, sixty days to ninety days. So while there is no one single answer as to what the best method is, it is essential to make sure that your dealership is following up with the right customers. Otherwise, as more and more leads come in the less likely, they are to follow-up with the right leads.

For example, if a lead comes into the CRM, and you have emailed, called, texted, and sent the customer a sales blast, but they have not responded after two weeks then perhaps it is time to move on. That is not to say that you should not continue to market to the customer. However, the reality is that they have not responded. Albeit, it is just as important to review the content that was sent to the customer as well. Wherein, if there is a noticeable trend of customers not replying, then it is best to revise the content - i.e., if you are sending the same email to everyone - the message (content) of the email might not apply to that customer; the message has to translate and make sense - i.e. why send a customer who is looking for a specific used car a new car email blast?

Not all leads are created equal

It is no secret that not all leads are created equal so then why are spending the same amount of effort on leads that do not get the same results? Instead of focusing on follow-up, all the same, it is best if you start reviewing each lead source and make sure that they are each closing at a solid rate. Namely, if you are closing at a decent rate on one source than spending more time on that source might not offer the same ROI. Instead, look at another source and see if the juice is worth the squeeze; wherein, if you were to increase follow-up by one or two additional weeks what are the actual sales opportunities? If there is a chance or opportunity for two or three additional sales than it could have a better ROI.

Used Car Leads Tend to Sell Faster

With used car leads selling faster than new (not always the case, but more often than not they do) we need to put more of an emphasis calling these leads. The first group of leads that need to be called are ones with key buying statements, which can be any of the following but not limited too:

- Ready to Buy

  • - What is the sale price

  • - Is this Used Car still available (if this is the only comment; chances are it is one of the selections in the call to action menu)

Once you have reviewed the leads with responses and or questions, then it is time to review the dealer website leads first. After that, take the time to review the third party site leads. The purpose behind this is that a customer who has converted off your site is a customer who has most likely selected your store - versus a customer who has converted off of multiple sites.

New Car Leads Have A Longer Buying Cycle.

New Car leads can take more time and attention with the buying cycle being a bit longer than the used car leads. That said, there is nothing worse than just stopping all contact with the customer after the first few weeks! However, at the same time, the dealer will get several hundred new leads the following month. Meaning that if we do not speak with the customer for the first two weeks, they go into the abyss. Imagine how many potential sales we are losing by failing to follow-up past the two-week mark!

To avoid this, it is best to break down the new car leads. That is Dealer Website, OEM, and third party sites. Once you have broken down the leads, you can start your direct marketing offers; such an email blast. This is especially good if you were to get additional bonus cash and or have specific units that are at a lower price point that have to go! As the customers engage with the email blast, it is then best to call those customers. Turning that lead into a sale!

Bottom Line: following up with hundreds of leads is no easy feat, which is all the more reason to have a process in place. One that helps your dealership get the best ROI possible! To make this happen, it is best to review your current closing rates; making sure you do not reinvent the wheel for the sources that you have a good ROI on. Instead, take the time to review areas of opportunity. Once you have selected a few sources to work on - make sure that the marketing is not just relevant, but that you have a team in place that will make the phone calls, texts, or emails to those customers who have re-engaged with you!  Otherwise, the efforts could turn into wasted time! And no one wants to lose a potential sale.

How do you handle long-term follow-up? What kind of marketing efforts does your team do?  



Bart Wilson

Good insight Derrick.  It's easy to look at customer behavior online and decide that the customer's buying cycle has shortened.  Regardless if that is the case, when you get a chance to make contact with a customer, you must take advantage.

Mark Rask

Derrick this is great

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