Here’s the problem with a lot of lead capture methods in the auto industry: they make shoppers spend a lot of time and effort. Take website Chat, for example. Chat is theoretically a great way to interact with customers, but the response interval is often 20 seconds or more, and in fact, anyone who has tried it knows that it can get as high as 45-100 seconds. Pre-approval forms are a similar case. They put some of the car-buying process online, which customers want, but can take 10 minutes or more to complete.
Of course, for customers who are willing to put in that effort, these methods of lead capture work. Shoppers who are closer to buying will wait for the answers they need, and apply for financing they’re looking for. These proactive consumers are middle and late-stage buyers, and AutoLeadStar will also help you capture these leads with high-quality, targeted, and appealing content.
But what about people who are at earlier stages of the buying cycle? These customers may look for or stumble upon your site and browse for a few moments– they’re in market– but they aren’t ready to invest real time yet. If you make them wait, or ask them for information they’re not ready to give, they will bounce.
These early-stage shoppers are the ones AutoLeadStar will help you capture when no one else can. That means you’re getting not only the leads that are later-stage, but also the early-stage ones that would normally slip away. Now, you may say: why do I want early-stage leads when they’re still weeks away from buying? But the fact is that beginning a relationship with these customers presents a huge competitive advantage:
- The conversation starts earlier. If you capture early-stage leads, you will become their resource for valuable information as they move forward. Provide them with consistent value and you will position your dealership as their natural choice when they are ready to close the deal.
- The process is accelerated. Car shopping can be confusing and overwhelming. If you provide answers early, your customers will need to spend less time searching and can purchase a vehicle sooner. The Director of Marketing at Quirk Auto Dealers has seen this play out in his dealership. Early-stage buyers who would normally take hours or days to convert, he says, are “converting on a relevant offer right then based on their immediate interest. [Early lead capture] forces them to convert faster…so I can start catering to their needs and get them in a new vehicle [faster].”
- You’ll beat your competitors. When you build relationships with customers early, you eliminate their need to turn to other dealerships. Become their one-stop shop for every step of the buying cycle and your competition will not have a way in.
Here’s the main benefit of early lead capture: you’ll make more sales. Even if early-stage leads take more time to close than late-stage leads, they will eventually bring your dealership more revenue– and take it away from your competition.
A few things to keep in mind when working with earlier-stage leads:
- Closing rates may initially seem lower. Based on our client examples, early-stage leads will often close at 6-10%, whereas later-stage leads may close at >10% and even up to 30%. But the closes you get from early-stage leads are gravy on your monthly total– they are extra leads you likely never would have closed. That’s excellent.
- Over time, you will close more of the early-stage leads. Even if at first only 6-10% of them close to sale, over time more of them will convert.
- Use lead capture tools like AutoLeadStar that have a flat fee rather than a per-lead fee. Why? Since early-stage leads take longer to close, a reasonable flat monthly fee means you’ll already be earning money on the 6-10% that close immediately, with no nail-biting waiting for more of them to close and cover per-lead fees. You’ll save money while keeping excitement up, and anxiety down, at your dealership.
The modern automotive retail website needs a balanced portfolio to maximize lead capture. Strong high-close-to-sale tools like prequal, chat, and AutoLeadStar campaigns that target middle to late-stage shoppers, are crucial. But campaigns designed to engage up-funnel in-market buyers, like AutoLeadStar’s, will enable you to form relationships with valuable early-stage buyers and get those bonus sales.
So, what types of leads does AutoLeadStar capture? All of them. The middle and late-stage leads who are much closer to closing, and, crucially, the early-stage leads that still need nurturing. We extend your reach to a broader range of customers and make you the obvious destination for buying.
Ready to reach more customers than you ever thought possible? Call us at 216-242-1320.