In this three-part guide, we’ll review everything your dealership needs to know about generating more leads for your dealership:

Part 1: How Car Dealers Can Generate More Sales Leads
Part 2: 3 Ways to Turn Online Dealership Leads into Sales
Part 3: 3 Ways Lead Nurture is Like Online Dating

Part 1: How Car Dealers Can Generate More Sales Leads 

As we all know, it’s no longer about how many leads your car dealership gets, but rather, where your dealership’s leads are coming from and at what rate they’re closing.  Dealerships should be looking at lead strategy rather than lead volume to create more sales-ready prospects in 2022 and beyond. 

So with the emphasis on quality over quantity, below are three tips for your dealership to ensure success in locking in more sales leads this year. 

3 Tips to Increase Your Car Dealership’s Leads

Identify website fall-off points:  Adding conversion opportunities for your website visitors is only half the equation.  Once you’ve implemented the right buttons, the best chat (or chatbot), and info-heavy VDPs, you’ll want to track where people on your website fall off.  This indicates to you where in the process people are having their “never mind” moments and choosing your competitors instead.  Leads that convert quickly, without much thought, are actually sometimes the leads that are less likely to buy.  It’s Google chrome auto-fill that pushed them to fill out the form more than anything else.  So if a lead was turned off by something on your website or a chat interaction, start digging in so you can keep interested prospects longer and implement processes and strategies that can bring more in-market car shoppers into your store from your website. 

Optimize for leads, not clicks: The automotive industry is filled with vanity metrics that don’t necessarily bring in the quality leads car dealerships are looking to get from digital marketing.  Clicks, impressions, and clickthrough rates are basics to track and good to know, but not what your dealership should be optimizing for when it comes to sales-ready prospects. When your digital marketing and SEM strategies are optimizing for leads, you’re investing money into the opportunities that are more likely to turn into a sale.  So, yes, perhaps your cost per lead may go up by 5% in some cases, but you’re bringing in the quality leads for your car dealership that are worth spending on, versus the quantity that may never convert into a sale. 

Market every car to capitalize on opportunity: Every piece of your inventory is an opportunity to sell.  Whether this is a snowplow in the back of your lot that you thought never to spend advertising dollars on, or your most popular new model, investing in an SEM strategy that will give you the resources to market every single car as if it’s your only one will bring in more qualified sales leads for your dealership.  This means running A/B tests on every car, uploading and updating your audiences and targeting in real-time, and automating inventory and price adjustments to make sure you’re getting the appropriate message in front of your buyers at any given moment. 

It’s a big year for automotive as dealer-tech adoption continues to grow rampant in the industry. Make sure your dealership is investing in these digital marketing strategies to gain more market share and sell more cars to sales-ready leads. 

Part 2: 3 Ways to Turn Online Car Dealership Leads into Sales

BDC and Internet Sales teams have a ton of potential to bring more customers into the dealership. Are they living up to it? Here are three ways to follow up with online leads that are guaranteed to get more buyers into the showroom, make more sales, and create loyal customers:

3 Way to Follow Up with Your Car Dealership’s Online Leads and Generate more Sales

  1. Customize Follow Up
    Create different action plans based on type of lead – for instance, follow up with new Internet leads differently than with special finance customers. Make sure your that different lead types are properly tagged and organized in your CRM. You can use targeting and automation to fire off different email responses to different types of leads.
  2. Turn Losses into Opportunities
    Just because a potential lead ended up making a purchase at a different dealership, doesn’t mean they’re a lost cause. Follow up and ask for a referral. As Sean V. Bradley explains, there is a high statistical likelihood that when a person buys a car, someone from their household will buy another one within 90 days. Even if the original purchase didn’t take place at your dealership, asking for a referral can increase the chances of a sale next time. You can also ask for referrals to direct leads to your service department. Customers are seven times as likely to purchase a car from the place where they serviced their vehicle.
  3. Write clear calls-to-action
    Choose email templates that are intelligent and articulate – your shoppers are savvy, and they’ll close a fluffy, indirect email in a hurry. Every single email you send to potential customers should have a clear, direct, and personal call to action: respond to this email, book an appointment, come into the showroom.

Part 3: 3 ways lead nurture is like online dating

When you think about it, following up with all the leads in your car dealership’s CRM is a lot like online dating: calling strangers, trying to get them to like you, hoping to form some kind of relationship where before were just forms, questionnaires, and maybe a few photos. Rejection, misaligned expectations, and missed opportunities abound. And yet, just like there are ways to set up dates with total stranger for success, there are ways to make your lead nurture go better than you ever thought possible. So without further ado, here are our tips for lead follow-up and nurture, inspired by internet dating:

3 Tips for Car Dealership Lead Follow-Up and Nurture

Prepare for the phone call

You wouldn’t call your prospective date without reading their profile first, would you? After all, you need things to talk about. And when she says in her profile she loves hiking and cooking, you’re not going to ask her what she does for fun– because then she’ll feel like you didn’t take the time to read the profile she spent so much time writing.  Instead, you’ll ask follow-up questions: what was her favorite hike, what are her signature dishes. The same is true of your dealership’s internet leads: their lead in your CRM is their profile. It has a lot of information, and reading it carefully can really improve your phone conversation. Maybe they converted on a general offer. Maybe they converted on a specific one. Maybe they’ve been to your site many times, maybe they’re a first-time visitor. Either way, before you make that call, make sure you know what offer they converted on, how often they’ve been to your site, what pages they’ve viewed, how many times, and for how long– because when you know this information, you can respond to their questions, ask them relevant questions that are not redundant (no “are you looking to buy or lease” when you already should know the answer), and move the whole process forward. Take the time to understand the customer you are calling and don’t ask them for information you already have. That extra effort will inspire confidence and trust.

Don’t be too pushy on the phone

When you’re talking to your date, of course you want to set up a time to meet in person– otherwise, how will you know if there’s any chemistry? But, if you only use the phone call to set that time and don’t take the opportunity to connect with a great conversation, you’ll come off abrupt, and your date will likely be less excited to meet you. The same is true of your internet leads. You, and your customers, don’t have time for a long phone conversation. However, if you try to set the test drive appointment within five seconds of their answering the phone, it might not go so well. Take the extra minute or so to have a friendly, helpful conversation, listen to any questions, and build trust, and then go ahead and set that test drive appointment. You can still be a little aggressive about this– push that sale that’s ending, emphasize that the model they want is flying off the lot– but the idea is to move forward when you sense interest instead of trying to force the appointment without building rapport first.

Follow up

We all know if you have a good date, you have to follow up or the person will get frustrated and go away. This is true in your dealership as well. Whether you spoke on the phone, had a test drive, or even sold a car, have some mechanisms in place to follow up and keep the conversation going. If it’s pre-sale, you definitely want to keep the lines of communication open with a solid lead nurture system including helpful information for car shoppers, segmented to different customers’ areas of interest. If it’s after the sale, you want to make sure that customer chooses your dealership for all their maintenance and repairs– so stay in touch with service reminders and offers, relevant maintenance content, and connections like birthday and holiday cards. Don’t break up with your customers by giving them the silent treatment. Keep the relationship going.

We hope these tips are helpful for your lead nurture– and maybe even your social life. Either way, wooing your leads is within your reach!

Lead nurture is great, but first you need more leads from your website traffic. Call us to find out how to get more leads for your car dealership than ever! 216-242-1320