OK, the title of this story is intentionally cheesy, but rest of it is real. I mystery shopped some Dallas Region Ford-Lincoln eCommerce Elite (Top 100 stores in USA for new Ford-Lincoln Internet sales) stores recently and was surprised to discover that their response processes are similar. This piqued my curiosity, so I called my DMC teammate in southern California to ask him how the #1 new Ford Internet sales store in the country does things. Turns out they work much the same as the top Dallas Region stores do. So what is the #1 Internet new car sales secret of the eCommerce elite 100 stores that I shopped? They call. And call. And call. And call. That’s pretty much it. I must admit, by the time a pleasant, friendly salesperson leaves four voice messages for my mystery shopper I have to answer or return the call, if for no other reason than I feel guilty ignoring them. You can’t shut four phone messages out of your mind and pretend they never happened. (Especially if they are compressed into a 4 or 5 day period). I also now understand something a presenter said at a recent DDC: “Internet shoppers want to be courted.” He was right. When a salesperson is tenacious in his/her attempts to get through to my mystery shopper it earns my respect. When I was an Internet salesman I hated leaving repeated voice messages. One, maybe two calls and I was done. I see now that I was also wrong. Will blowing up a customer’s phone still be in style ten years from now? It’s hard to say; though I doubt it. But for today, while we are in the transition phase, it appears we have to cover our bases and employ all mediums, new and traditional. Just the other day our program head in Dearborn told me recent studies say it takes four phone calls to get through to most prospects. So there ya go. The simple secret to Internet new car sales success: email + call + email + call + email + call. (Let's save text messaging for another day).