Maximising Lead Opportunities for Car Dealers: Best Practices for Sales Success

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In the world of automotive sales, leads are the lifeblood of any dealership. Effective lead management is the key to boosting your chances of closing sales successfully. But what happens when a lead is prematurely closed? How can we ensure that we're capitalising on every lead's full potential? It's not just about follow-ups; there are best practices to consider to prevent missed sales opportunities.

Before we delve into these best practices, let's take a moment to understand lead management and the various types of leads your automotive dealership may encounter.

Understanding Lead Management

Lead management involves the capture of leads, their allocation to your sales team, analysis of lead types, and tracking the journey from lead to customer. Streamlining lead management often involves the use of Lead Management (LMS) or Customer Relationship Management (CRM) systems. These tools help prioritise leads, automatically assign them, and provide invaluable insights that drive sales.

Each lead is unique, and to prevent premature closures, it's vital to know where they originate. This insight allows us to tailor our approach and expedite their progress through the sales funnel.

The Ideal Approach to Leads

At dealerships, LMS and CRM systems play a crucial role in lead and customer data management. Once a lead is assigned to a salesperson, it must be managed appropriately to prevent early closures and missed sales opportunities. So, what can a salesperson and a sales manager do to extract the most value from leads?

1. Consistent Follow-Up Without Overwhelming Leads

The frequency of lead follow-up can vary widely as every lead is different. Some may require just a gentle nudge, while others demand more attention. Nonetheless, timely follow-up is imperative. Ideally, a salesperson should reach out to a lead within 5 minutes of its capture.

Logimeter can assist here, as it reduces follow-up time from the industry average of 4 hours to just a few minutes, ensuring we connect with leads before our competitors do. If the initial follow-up doesn't connect, do not close the lead but follow up via email or a call. These follow-ups should be smartly done to avoid overwhelming potential customers.

2. Finding the Right Follow-Up Frequency

Follow-up with leads regularly but not excessively. Finding the right balance is crucial. An initial follow-up should occur immediately upon capture, and then, you should follow up on Day 3, Day 7, Day 14, and Day 28. However, these are guidelines; testing and adapting to your leads' behaviour is recommended. You can use past experiences to guide your follow-up frequency and set reminders in your LMS or CRM system.

3. Know Your Customer Before You Reach Out

Before contacting a lead, ensure you have all relevant information. Knowing your leads inside and out is critical. Study details such as their online behaviour on your dealership website, trim level preferences, and any questions or concerns raised during previous interactions. This knowledge allows you to be relevant and efficient, saving time for both you and the lead.

4. The Best Way to Connect

The optimal way to contact a lead varies. Some prefer calls, while others may favour emails or texts. It's often best to use multiple channels. However, initially, adhere to the lead's preferred method. If you choose email, keep the messages short and actionable.

Automated initial emails are discouraged as they may not provide the right answers. For calls, follow a rule of three calls and one voicemail. If unsuccessful, try WhatsApp, email, or SMS. Stay connected through various channels and aim to schedule a test drive promptly.

5. Nurturing Leads Differently

Every lead has unique needs. Some are inquiring, some are comparing financing options, and others are ready to drive off in their new vehicle. Tailor your approach based on these segments. Colder leads require nurturing with valuable content to guide their decision-making. They're more likely to buy when they're ready.

6. Keep the Offer Fresh

Every outreach to a lead should present a fresh offer. This could be a test drive, a personalised finance solution, a tailored promotion, or a video walk-around of their desired vehicle. Repeating the same offer doesn't work. Dealerships need to use their knowledge and experience to predict what a lead is interested in based on their position in the sales funnel.

7. Be Willing to Adjust Your Approach

Analyse your lead management and outcomes regularly. Identify where leads are closed prematurely and why. The reasons may vary from dealer to dealer, but if the cause is unsatisfactory, adjust your processes to ensure maximum effort is exerted.

While it's common for dealerships to close leads early, a persistent follow-up strategy will improve sales and reduce the chances of losing business. At the end of the day, making every effort and regular follow-ups are the keys to success."

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