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 requests 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.
1. To increase contact rates, send responses that are timely and appropriate.
According to SimpSocial’s chief, “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 the 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?
2. 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. By conversing both passively and actively, they can mimic human interaction. For example, they can answer questions from customers and get in touch with them to request action as necessary.
3. Make it simple to schedule appointments to increase show-up rates
The hardest part might seem to be over once a prospective buyer schedules an appointment, and you’d be forgiven for thinking that. However, as we already mentioned, 50% of leads frequently lapse before they even reach the shop floor.
The buyer must schedule the appointment in their calendar, input the pertinent information (time, date, and place), and keep their word in order for the buyer to show up. A no-show could happen if any of these things go wrong.
Dealerships can take control of scheduling thanks to automation, which can raise the set-to-show ratio to as high as 80%. Car dealerships can automate the appointment request process so that clients’ phones receive reminders and the appointment is automatically scheduled in their digital calendar. Dealerships can eliminate scheduling mistakes and increase commitment in this manner.
What about the other 20% of those who continue to fail to appear? Dealerships may re-engage no-shows thanks to automated communications tools. Dealerships can set up their software, for instance, to automatically send a message to customers who missed an appointment asking them to reschedule.
4. Bonus: Boosting lead counts through revival campaigns
Dealerships are missing a trick by simply concentrating on bringing in new customers. Companies are more likely to close a deal with an existing customer (60–70%) than with a fresh lead (5-20%). Making contact with your current clients is a wise move that can help you stay in touch while also perhaps generating new leads from people who already know and trust your business.
Dealerships not only lack the resources to reengage customers, they often misunderstand the value of doing so. Even managing fresh leads is too much for the BDC and sales teams, let alone managing revival efforts.
With automation, dealerships can program a routine to send warm text messages to long-time customers who are due for an upgrade or new model, say, six years after purchase, in order to reconnect with them. For instance, they could only wish the customer a happy birthday or inquire about how their car is working out. This puts the dealership in the customer’s mind while they are actively considering making another purchase.
Automation enables dealerships to have meaningful, human-like discussions with potential customers, which can increase contact rates, the number of scheduled appointments, and appointment attendance.
Even the most skilled sales team cannot perform at the scale of automation. Although it may be perceived as a threat to the workforce, it is actually a vital instrument for contemporary commerce that enables dealerships to engage with customers quickly and relevantly. Automation actually relieves some of the pressure on BDC teams and allows them the freedom to accomplish something that no tool can: convert leads into human connections.
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