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From: Jared Hamilton
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Hugh Cabello

Hugh Cabello Performance Improvement Consultant

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How the Mobile Explosion is Resuscitating the Email Lead

I remember the times when my high school football coach prepped us for next Friday’s game by having us watch game films.  During this time, we gained insight into our opponent’s strengths and weakness.  How we interpreted these films helped us to plan our strategy.

In the automotive business, we have those same films.  They are represented by the numerous white papers and studies by our respective colleagues and our in-house business intelligence departments. One such study is the new Cobalt 2011 eShopper Automotive Experience study http://www.cobalt.com/eshopper2011/?utm_source=Cobalt.com&utm_medium=banner&utm_content=270x250&utm_campaign=2011%20eShopper , which email mystery shopped 4,400 dealers across 30 brands.

The study found:

  • Seven days after a lead was received, only 11% followed up via email.
  • 20% of shoppers never received a response to their lead at all!

Now, we’ve all heard the argument that email leads are dead. We say; a lead is a lead. While email leads only account for between 17-20% of traffic, that still means that one out of five customers are choosing to communicate with the store through email. Additionally, the explosion of mobile is breathing new life into email leads by connecting customers to their inboxes at all times.

When you think about it, mobile has dramatically changed the way we sell to customers today.  Consumers use them to:

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A recent J.D. Powers roundtable discussion concluded that consumers even prefer to use their mobiles at home versus their traditional desktops.  Even when customers are on vacation, they tend to use their phones heavily, even if they leave their laptops behind.

So you have to ask yourself, “Why wouldn’t  I (a dealer) email a customer back if I know that my email would go to the customer’s ever-present mobile inbox?”  and “Why wouldn’t I pick up the phone and call them?” Even if many savvy customers have their voicemail transcribed via text, they will still get the message, so pick up the phone and don’t let these leads go unattended.

If the average consumer will visit up to 6 dealers representing 6 brands, let’s take a look at what that behavior might look like. 

A customer decides to email 6 dealerships during their information collecting process.  What does their phone look like?

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That’s right, the consumer just received 18 total emails in the span of an hour and that’s if all the dealers responded.  How do you stand out from the crowd? 

Best Practice #1:  If everyone is using an auto responder, turn yours off during normal business hours and opt for a real response.

Best Practice #2:  Complete a “click and call’ for every lead to improve your contact ratio.

Best Practice #3:  A lead is a lead. Treat every lead with equal respect and respond.

Take the time to challenge your processes and ask questions.  You will be surprised how much more conquest business you can attract in 2012 while maximizing your repeat business.

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