Dealers should create a sales process for digital leads: Rod Stuckey

Publish Date: 
Feb 16, 2013
By Holly J. Wagner

DEALER EXPO, Indianapolis, Ind. – Dealers are accustomed to catering to customers with a “Top Gun”-style need for speed on the road, but many still haven’t caught up to meeting that need on the infobahn, according to Rod Stuckey of Dealership University.

Customers who come to your dealership electronically (via the Internet) have already done their legwork by the time they request a quote from you, and the first person on the reply  buzzer is likely going to be the one who makes the sale.

Leading Friday’s CRM and Internet Lead Management seminar, Stuckey exhorted dealers to create a sales process for digital leads that mirrors what they expect from their staff on the sales floor. “The interesting thing about Internet leads, they are farther down the sales funnel than a walk-in,” he said. “If they submit a quote request, they are serious. The buyers are fired up. They want instant gratification. They want an answer – quick.”

That may seem daunting in a dealership where leads are coming in from multiple sources like OEMs, website contact forms and Cycle Trader.

“Having a systematic way to ensure that you follow up is important,” he said. “There is an argument now that Internet leads are more important than phone-ups.” In the digital world, “speed equals trust.”

The difference between dealers who close 50 percent of those online leads and the ones who only close 20 percent of the time is often response time. With good, fast follow-up, the average customer buys a new vehicle every 18 to 24 months. Over 10 years that can add up to $5,000 in gross profits on vehicles; $750 a year on parts, gear and services, and sending at least one friend your way every year. Taken together, that makes one good, loyal customer worth about $81,400 in profits over a decade.

No dealer would let a salesperson on the floor ignore a customer who comes in to browse. So why would you let the same salesperson ignore a quote request?

“Sales is a numbers game. You have to have the mindset that each quote request that you don’t close puts you one lead closer to closing one,” he said. “Statistically, customers that request a quote are unhappy if they don’t get a price back.” (Continued)