As car buying has steadily moved online, many auto sales teams haven’t kept pace. Today, Internet leads account for up to 20% of new vehicle sales. A 2015 survey from Accenture found that 80% of people looking to buy a new vehicle did some form of online research, and that 62% use the internet to initiate the car shopping process. In fact, 75% of people surveyed reported that they would consider going through the complete vehicle sale process online. By ignoring online leads, focusing on dated marketing and sales tactics, and failing to acknowledge the internet’s crucial role in the modern buying process, you could be losing hundreds of thousands of dollars in sales each year.

These three common mistakes cost dealerships sales on a daily basis. By avoiding these common pitfalls, you might find that you’re selling more cars than ever before, thanks to the online leads that you’d been losing in the past.
1. Not Nurturing Online Leads

There’s a certain air of “realness” that comes with talking to a real human being on a sales floor. Maybe it’s the concreteness of their physical presence, or maybe it’s the in-person social interaction. Either way, many auto salespeople brush off online leads, choosing instead to focus on people who come into the dealership looking to buy. This is a fallacy. There is no reason to assume that online shoppers are “just browsing,” or that they’re too early in the buying process to be worth pursuing.

Few dealerships have truly mastered the art of nurturing their online leads. Although many dealerships provide contact forms to gather information from potential buyers, sales teams don’t always follow through. If you don’t follow up right away, you’ll lose your customer to a competitor who took the time to reach out.

Actionable Tip: Consider creating a Lead Nurture Pipeline in your CRM and keep in touch with those leads.

2. Failing to Track Online Leads Effectively

At many dealerships, sales people may be taking online leads into consideration, but they haven’t developed efficient and effective processes for managing those leads. Customer relationship management software (CRM) is an indispensable tool for 21st century salespeople. These programs allow you to track your leads throughout the buying process, monitoring responses and gathering relevant data like whether someone has opened your latest email. Using A good CRM correctly can really streamline and simplify your team’s approach to managing and pursuing online leads.

Actionable Tip: Use software that allows for simultaneous texts and email notifications when leads come in online.  
3. Ignoring Online Marketing Strategy

Is your dealership spending lavishly on print ads and local TV commercials? If so, are you also doing email marketing? What’s your SEO strategy? Does your website work on tablets and smartphones? If you don’t have answers to these kinds of questions, you’re passing up an enormous amount of opportunity.

Diverting more of your budget toward online marketing can bring an impressive return on investment. A well-designed, mobile-friendly website that’s optimized for search engines is a great way to bring in new online leads. You should also consider your email sales funnel. Create an email strategy that emphasizes your dealership’s value proposition, setting yourself apart from your competitors.

If your sales team is ignoring leads that come from the internet, you’re missing out on as many as 20% of the potential sales that you could be making. A solid website and online marketing strategy, combined with using a CRM and developing a streamlined process for pursuing your online leads, can bring a considerable return on a modest investment. In 2016, online vehicle sales leads shouldn’t be ignored. Instead, they should be treated no differently from someone who walked into your dealership.

Actionable Tip: Understand Marketing ROI, cost per click, and cost per acquisition to up your marketing game and lead capture. 

Online research is a key part of the modern car buying process for the majority of people, and statistics indicate that digital leads are just as likely to make a purchase. If you avoid these common mistakes, your internet sales team can bring in more leads and more sales than ever before.

Want to know how to rock your auto dealership’s online leads? Contact us today for a free consultation, 216-242-1320.

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