Streamlining Lead Management to Increase Appointments
Auto industry pioneers can provide fresh viewpoints to help auto dealers resolve their most pressing problems.
Only about 12.5% of leads show up for showroom appointments, according to our experience. Low lead conversion rates are now a widespread problem in auto dealerships.
Adding more funds to lead generation is a typical solution. More input should result in more output, according to theory. But there’s good news. Strategies for lead acquisition by themselves are insufficient to make a difference, and they are also expensive. The way leads are managed throughout the buyer’s journey is where the true problem resides.
At each stage of the lead engagement pipeline, about 50% of leads abandon their involvement. Consider a scenario where only 50 of your 100 new leads are contacted, only 25 request an appointment and only 12.5% of those appointments are kept.
You don’t need to be an expert in mathematics to realize that you need to switch gears and concentrate on raising lead engagement rates. However, the burden cannot fall on the sales and BDC teams, who already find it difficult to stay on top of every lead.
Automation is useful in this situation. Dealerships may increase engagement at every level of the lead management process by automating some tasks. Let’s examine how automating the procedure is the best decision dealerships can make to draw more customers into their stores.
- To increase contact rates, send responses that are timely and appropriate.
According to Nick Cosette, SimpSocial’s Head of Operations, “The biggest challenge for car dealers is getting in touch with potential customers so they can nurture them.” Incorrect contact information and disconnected phone lines are a couple of causes for this. However, a more important factor is that sales and BDC teams don’t react swiftly enough to new prospects, who need high-quality solutions practically immediately.
Dealerships may boost lead contact rates while relieving the burden on sales personnel thanks to automation. By automatically sending the appropriate message to the appropriate location at the appropriate time, auto-responders do tasks that people are unable to reliably and effectively complete at scale.
Good message. Incoming inquiries can be automatically responded to with pertinent responses from auto-responders that are customized for each individual lead or group of leads. Dealerships can tailor their responses depending on a number of factors, including the type of lead inquiry (new vehicle, used vehicle, upgrade) and the lead source (dealership website, third-party website, referral). To establish trust with customers and help them feel valued rather than just another number, personalization is crucial.
Right location. Dealerships must be certain that their consumer outreach uses a successful channel of communication. Even if chat, email, and phone all have their advantages, SMS consistently produces the best results. 98% of texts are read and opened. To increase the likelihood that prospective purchasers will pick up and read the message, auto-responders can send text messages to them automatically.
ideal moment. Connecting with leads quickly is essential. According to research, the vendor who answers first receives 50% of all purchases, and firms are 100 times more likely to engage a prospect within 5 minutes than they are within 30. To ensure that dealerships consistently meet their response time goals, auto-responders can be designed to react right away to incoming messages.
What about the leads who take a little longer to respond? People are easily sidetracked and may lose concentration on the current objective, which is car shopping. If a person doesn’t reply within 24 hours after being contacted with a courteous reminder, AI bots can re-engage them. As an illustration, “Are you still interested in the car”? “Did you hear from anyone at the store?” Is this a suitable phone number to reach you at?
- Encourage participation by starting meaningful conversations
Another significant difficulty facing vehicle dealers is nurturing leads for conversion. Currently, dealerships either don’t follow up with leads long enough to turn them into appointments, or their rivals do a better job of it. Dealerships’ emphasis on rapid wins, or customers who are prepared to buy, is one factor. In the near term, this can appear to be a successful strategy, but 50% of eligible leads aren’t ready to make a purchase. As a result, it alienates a lot of people who need nurturing over a longer period of time.
Automobile dealerships may nurture customers for as long as necessary until they take action using automated follow-up text message sequences. By communicating pertinent information at the appropriate time, bots engage in meaningful discussions with customers. They can emulate human conversation by communicating passively and actively: they respond to buyers’ queries and reach out to buyers to prompt action when necessary.
- Make it simple to schedule appointments to increase show-up rates
Once a potential buyer makes an appointment, you’d be forgiven for thinking that the hardest bit is done. Yet — as we said earlier — 50% of leads tend to drop off before they hit the showroom floor.
Having a buyer show up to an appointment relies on the buyer entering the appointment in their calendar, entering the appointment details (time, date, location) correctly, and sticking to the commitment. Any of these things can go wrong and result in a no-show.
Automation enables dealerships to take control of scheduling and increase the set-to-show ratio to as much as 80%. Specifically, car dealers can automate the sending of appointment requests to customers’ phones so that the appointment is automatically scheduled in their digital calendars along with reminders. That way, dealerships can minimize any scheduling errors and maximize the level of commitment.
What about the 20% of people that still don’t show up? Automated communications software enables dealerships to reconnect with no-shows. For example, dealerships can configure their software to automatically send a message that prompts buyers who missed an appointment to reschedule.
- Bonus: increase lead numbers with revival campaigns
By focusing on attracting new clients only, dealerships are missing a trick. Companies have a 60-70% chance of selling to an existing customer versus a 5-20% chance of selling to a new lead. Contacting your existing customers is a smart way not only to touch base but also to potentially generate new leads from people that already know and trust your company.
Not only do dealerships misunderstand the value of re-engaging customers, but they also don’t have the capacity to do so. BDC and sales teams are already overwhelmed with managing new leads, let alone managing revival campaigns.
With automation, dealerships can set a rule to send friendly text messages to reconnect with long-term customers due for an upgrade or new model, say, six years post-purchase. For example, they could ask how the customer is getting on with their car, or simply wish them a happy birthday. This helps position the dealership front of mind when the customer is actively looking to purchase again.
A final word
Automation allows dealerships to engage in human-like, meaningful conversations with interested buyers that can lead to better contact rates, more appointments, and more appointment show-ups.
Automation operates at a scale that not even the most finely tuned sales team can. While it can be misunderstood as a threat to the workforce, it’s actually a necessary tool for modern commerce that enables dealerships to interact with consumers with relevancy and speed. In fact, automation takes some of the load off BDC teams and gives them the freedom to do what no tool can — turn leads into human relationships.
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