At Accu-Trade, lead conversion is something that we care a lot about. Our friends over at Conversica feel the same way, and they’ve been noticing a troubling trend in the auto sales industry.
According to their 2016 survey on sales team effectiveness and lead follow-up, over 2/3 of all companies in the industry fail to adequately respond to and follow up on inbound leads.
Call analytics firm Marchex has noticed similar shortcomings: their recently released study on the car industry indicated that 19% of calls went unanswered by the dealer or were abandoned by the customer. 19%!
Regardless of how many leads Accu-Trade’s tools help you capture, you still need to be able to convert those leads into real opportunities.
Sales and marketing expert Elise Kephart has tons of useful information on her website about how to do just that. We distilled her tips about pursuing leads into four distinct phases of automotive sales follow-up that all salespeople should learn by heart:
The first phase begins first thing in the morning, right when you walk into the dealership and sit down at your desk. You have a lead that came in yesterday and left without buying a car — what comes first? Elise says to pick up the phone and leave an excellent voicemail on the number the customer gave you. This voicemail should include:
After you leave this voicemail, reach out to the customer in some other way as well. This might mean through a video sales pitch, a customized opt-in text sent via your CRM, or a handwritten card or VIP packet sent to the customer’s home address or place of business. You can do more than one of these things, but they should all be done within 20 minutes of walking in the door!
Wait an hour or an hour and a half after your first attempted contact with the customer. At around 11 or 11:30, before the world breaks for lunch, call the customer from another phone number. This number could be your cell phone, or you could use a program that allows you to disguise your phone as another number. It’s all about getting the customer curious and interested enough to call back!
After you call, send the customer a quick drop-and-send email. There are tons of templates available on the web, or you can make your own that are more personalized to the sales experience you provide.
This third phase is essentially a repeat of phase 2, but two hours later. Try to call the customer from a different number once again, and send them another email (not from the same template!)
These phases are relatively quick and painless, because you’re hanging up and not leaving a voicemail if the lead doesn’t answer. So you’re not wasting your day making endless calls — you’re strategically making calls that are more likely to be answered.
A note on the emails: make sure that your email templates look good on mobile! Customers aren’t sitting at a desk all day. They’re moving around, running errands, eating lunch and picking their kids up from school. Sometimes leads will only see your follow-up attempts on their cell phones.
This is your last customer call of the day, but this time you’re going to leave a closing email. Most of the bullet points you want to hit will be the same as the first email, but definitely mention that you’re reaching out *again*. Persistence is key! After you send one more email, you’re done for the day. Same pattern tomorrow and the following days until you make contact with the customer and set up a meeting.
Interested in Elise’s follow-up techniques? Read more about her sales strategies on her awesome blog, and try a few out for yourself.