Win the Customer Now to Maximize Your Year-End Sales

by Josh Vajda, Director of Inside Sales 17. December 2013 05:41

It's been a great year for car sales, and if you're like most dealers, you want to close out the year strong. What is your Internet marketing department doing to ensure that ready-to-buy customers will choose to visit your dealership?


By now most of us have read or heard the statistic from J.D. Powers and Associates, that customers visit an average of 1.8 dealerships in person before purchasing a vehicle. I believe this one statistic is the most transformative statistic in terms of its impact on Internet marketing and the sales process. Quite simply, it means that you win the customer before they set foot in your showroom.


Ideally you want to accomplish this by outshining your competition along every step of the customer's purchasing journey. You want to have presence where consumers are conducting research on various makes and models; you want to have useful information and conversion tools on your website; you want to give great customer service and prompt communications if they call or e-mail your dealership to gather information; you want to be able to give them accurate pricing and payment information, and you want to have great online reviews when the customer researches dealership reputations.


But at crunch time, giving customers an extra incentive to visit you before the end of the year may be just the thing that gives your dealership the edge. Incentive offers like ShowProSM offer a small financial incentive to a customer if they come in and take a test drive.


For customers who are seriously in the market and in the process of narrowing down which dealership to buy from, visit or test drive incentives have been proven to increase the show rate for appointments. Almost every dealership we work with reports closing rates over 50% for Internet appointments that show, so we know: if you get them in, you make the sale.


While most dealerships will see a spike in lead volume the last week of December, they’ve also seen a drop-off in sales from leads over the last 3 months. See that as an opportunity to recapture customers right now. I recommend using incentive cards as a tool to re-engage "dead" leads and target customers who may be interested in key vehicles. Here are two campaigns you can put together right now:


1) Create a list of prospects from the last six months who did not purchase a vehicle. Send them a holiday message with an incentive card of $25-50 to come in and take a test drive.


2) Is your manufacturer offering any incentives for particular models, or do you have any models that are overstocked right now? Some manufacturers are offering bonuses to dealerships that sell a particular number of a certain model. Offering a financial incentive to come in and test drive that particular model is a very cost-effective method for helping your dealership to reach this goal. At an average price of less than $50 per show, and an average close rate on appointment shows of nearly fifty percent, this more than pays for itself.


This time of year many people are grateful for every extra dollar they can get; and $50 is a tank of gas, a dinner out, or an extra gift for a loved one. Incentive marketing works best when the reward is time-sensitive, so end-of-the-year sales offer a great opportunity to draw new customers who might have otherwise chosen a different dealership to visit.



Five Tips to “Just Get ‘Em In”

by Josh Vajda, Director of Inside Sales 12. December 2012 12:54

One of the first leads we received when we first started the Internet Department was from 3 hours away on a new Pathfinder. After an initial back and forth via email and a productive phone call, the salesperson went to the manager for some availability and pricing information. “Just get them in,” was the answer.

We all know that when we get customers in the door, we’re likely to close them. Our dealers (and our own internal measurements) tell us we close about half of our Internet customer visits. So if we can “just get them in,” we can “just close them.” HOW we get them in, though, is the real magic, and it starts with our contact rate.

Here are some tips to help you drive your contact rate – thus your appointment and show and sales rate – higher:

1.     People hate long emails.  Look at your email responses, starting with your initial response. Does it get to the point quickly? Is there even a point? Make sure the customer know why you’re emailing them and what you want from them up front. Keep it short and simple and people are more likely to respond.

2.     Keep. Trying. Industry studies consistently show two things: first, the more call attempts made by a sales associate, the more likely they are to make contact with the prospect (with some diminishing return after 6 call attempts, according to LeadCritic’s 2009 study). Second, most salespeople abandon the lead after 2-3 attempts. If you want to contact the customer, you have to put in the effort and be persistent where others are not.

3.    Stand out. Your customer likely sent a lead to another dealership (or 5). If you want the customer to return your contact attempts (email or phone), you have to a) be different, and b) clearly state who you are and where you’re from.

4.    Personalize your approach, not just your responses. In their keynote address at the Digital Dealer conference in October, Google discussed how online car shoppers are in a state of “constant consideration,” and no longer follow a linear buying cycle. That means each lead could be at a different point in the process, and you may have to pick up the process in the middle.

5.    Give reasons to call, respond or visit. If you’re not offering something to the customer of value or perceived value, they’re less likely to take an action. You can offer your assistance, or cash equivalents on your website in the form of incentives, or information that’s of value and typically hard to get (like payments on their vehicle of interest). Give before you expect to receive and you’ll get more back.

What have you done that’s helped you convert more leads into shows?


Best Practices | Internet leads | New Car Leads | Payment Pro | ShowPro | Used Car Leads

Three Best Practices for Turning Internet Leads Into Shows

by Admin 11. April 2012 08:59
Josh Vajda, Director of Inside Sales at AutoUSA, shares tips on how dealerships can turn more leads into shows.


Internet leads | Internet leads | ShowPro | ShowPro