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As we come out of an inventory shortage and lenders are providing more loans, a question arises – of what to do with all the leads received in the last six months for cars that didn’t turn into sales for one reason or another. In many cases, Internet salespeople will have stopped communicating with these potential buyers in favor of “fresh” leads. Are the “old” leads even worth the effort?
Nearly 60% of people who submitted Internet leads are still in the market for up to six months after the dealership initially communicated with them, according to AutoFerret.com. That means many consumers who inquired about models that were in short supply three months ago may still be interested in buying. However, this fact may not change the behavior of your Internet team, and it certainly doesn’t magically create more time in the day for follow-up.
The key is to leverage technology to re-activate “cold” Internet leads and bring engaged customers to the surface. Focusing on an e-mail marketing campaign is one of the most effective methods you can use to do this. Start by developing a series of e-mails that re-introduce your dealership, answer a series of “why” questions and offer incentive to come in. Then remember the adage, “persistence pays.”
Re-introduce your dealership. In your initial e-mail, remind the customer that they inquired about a certain model or make several months ago, and reiterate whatever communication you had. Then share the news that you’ve got they want and include links to specific inventory items on your web site.
Include inventory alternatives. Follow up the first e-mail with another e-mail that includes inventory alternatives. Include links to inventory that may be less expensive, pre-owned, or more fuel-efficient. Half of all consumers who submit Internet leads end up buying a different make or model than planned. Ask the recipient what their favorite option is, or if they like this one or that one? Why or why not? The goal is to engage the customer.
Provide Incentive. Give the customer a reason to come into your showroom. It could be a deal on trade-ins, cash-back award or other type of incentive.
Hire More Help: Working Internet leads takes time, and if your staff is too busy to be persistent, you may want to consider hiring someone temporary to work the older leads. Help is also available in automated form, with virtual sales assistants like AVA. These virtual assistants are designed to work in conjunction with a sales team to re-engage customers, determine whether prospects are still in the market, update contact information, set appointments and hand off sales appointments to staff.
Has your dealership conducted an e-mail marketing campaign to re-engage Internet leads? What are the results?