|One of the more common questions we are asked is, “Do I need to get more leads?” Unfortunately, the answer to this question for most dealerships is, “Maybe!”|
|Certainly more Internet opportunities can generate more sales. However, the only source usually available for additional Internet leads are “pay-per-lead” lead providers, such as invoicedealers.com, autousa.com, or autobytel.com. While we have many clients who do extremely well with these services, the fact that taking this step requires a potentially substantial financial commitment from the dealership necessitates a serious look at your current capabilities. We often meet frustrated dealers, who are willing to spend potentially thousands of dollars a month on additional Internet leads, but haven’t yet measured their effectiveness in working with their existing Internet sales opportunities! In order to make sure your investment in these new leads isn’t wasted, you first need to make sure that your dealership has the resources, tools and personnel to effectively handle the volume of prospects you’re anticipating.|
Internet prospects require a fair amount of effort if you’re going to achieve any level of real success. You can’t expect a salesperson without the right tools, training and dealership support to accomplish as much as one who has all these things. If you are going to get serious about selling cars to Internet shoppers, you need to have:
Even with all of these needs in place, there are a maximum number of leads that one Internet salesperson can effectively work with. Our experience has shown us that the optimum number of leads for a typical Internet salesperson with all the resources described above is 100. This level of lead volume allows the salesperson to properly respond to all new leads received (including making the all-important phone call!), maintain their scheduled, continue ongoing follow-up with older prospects, provide proper presentations to “hot” prospects, provide the kind of deliveries that generate high CSI results, and solicit referrals and future business from prior customers. This should also leave them enough time to do at least one “dealership” mass e-mail like a service promotion, newsletter, rebate announcement or some other general event. If you attempt to deluge the salesperson with more than this optimum number, you will probably be disappointed by your results. You may even end up spending substantially more money on leads – only to end up selling the same number of vehicles!
As the lead volume increases beyond the “optimum,” the quality of sales efforts lowers the closing rates proportionately. This is the result of the salesperson “shortcutting” the sales process and “cherry picking” the easier prospects at the expense of the more challenging buyers. The net result is that even though you’re getting (and paying for!) more leads, you’re not delivering any more vehicles!
One more thing to remember, you can’t always trust your Internet salesperson to tell you when they’re over their head! It’s the nature of the sharpest salespeople to want as many chances to “tell their story” as they can get, even when they know they’re letting some good opportunities slip through their fingertips because they didn’t have time to work the prospect properly. Who wants to tell their dealer that they “can’t keep up,” and risk having their opportunities reduced?
So before you jump headfirst into the deep waters of pay-per-lead generation, make sure your Internet salespeople know how to swim!
Auto retail veteran and F&I products expert Paul McCarthy has joined AUL Corp. as vice president of national sales.