New leads pour into your CRM.  Used car leads flow in as well.  Some customers are submitting their information to get a value for their trade-in.  Others are interested in financing information.  A few ask to schedule test drives.  The majority of customers expect info about price and availability.  Before every form field there is a specific call-to-action.  Attached to every form field is a comment box.  And yet, regardless of the customer’s inquiry and the information they’ve provided above, your Internet sales manager is sending out the exact same template response every time.

One of Internet shoppers’ chief complaints is that dealerships don’t answer their specific questions.  Now many ISMs believe that if there was nothing written in the comment section, the consumer must have no specific questions.  This is false.  The call-to-action that brought them to the form field, and the page they were on, all carry with them questions.

The first thing I am advocating for is to target all of your responses based on what the customer sent in and where they sent it from.  However, you do not need to answer every question.  You are not required to be a help desk clerk, giving out endless information and meeting every customer’s whim.  While I’m all for transparency, I understand that not every single question should be answered in email.  Sure, eventually, if requested more than once, you will need to provide them either a specific answer or a very good objection as why it is most beneficial to have that answered in the store.

You must, though, ADDRESS every single question.  If they came in from a trade evaluator site or conversion tool, you must address the value of their trade.  If they ask what their payments are, you must address the fact that payments are important to them, and give them reasonable next-steps.  Whether the consumer asks for a simple test drive or a detailed breakdown of 10 lease scenarios, you must acknowledge their request in your correspondence.  Yes, an answer might be necessary, but always start by addressing their specific request for more information.  Addressing is the first step to prove that you are listening.

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Joe Webb

President and Founder at DealerKnows
Husband and Father
Founder of DealerKnows Consulting
Co-founder of Dealer ThinkTank
Blurring the line between entertainment and education.

4 Responses to Address First

  1. Tom Kain says:

    Great stuff Joe! What is your take on auto-response emails? Personally I feel if you must have an auto-response, it should only be if a lead comes in after hours when the dealership is closed. I’ve noticed many dealerships have auto-response emails in place for every lead that comes in. I feel if the email cannot be answered right away, the customer is still better served, even if its the next day, with the answers to their specific requests, rather than a “Thanks, we’ll get back with you soon!” auto-reply.

    Thanks for all the great videos & blogs. Keep up the great work!

    TOM

  2. Joe Webb says:

    Great question, Tom. You are correct when you say auto-responders are ideally for off-hours, as well as the fact that dealerships should be responding back promptly enough to live without them during on-hours. We definitely recommend NOT using those ridiculous “Do-Not-Reply-to-this-Message, confirmation email receipt auto responders as it has no benefit for the consumer. We have a belief that, IF you choose to have an auto-responder, it should be created with the intent to either Elicit a Response or Build Value in the dealership’s process. Otherwise, turn the auto-responder off entirely.

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