When it comes to internet marketing, the main concern is driving traffic to your website, and ultimately to your showroom. A lot of time is spent on search engine optimization of your website, making sure it is user friendly, and has the most up to date inventory at all times. This is great, because you want someone to find you first of all, but then when they do, you want to make sure they can find what they are looking for. Beyond this, a lot of money and effort is spent on getting and maintaining a lead handling process whether it be with a CRM tool or some other process. Either way, the lead is what you hope to get and should be handled as quickly as possible. I am shocked to see that with the effort, money spent, etc that goes into getting a lead in the first place, there are some that go unanswered. I cannot tell you how many times I see as I am reviewing a dealer’s account that a customer has sent a 2nd or 3rd request for information citing that no one ever answered their first request(s). I have also seen where dealers have received messages from customers through eBay where the only way you can respond is through eBay, and it is evident that the customer was not responded to. How can this happen? Salesmen are sitting by the computer waiting to pounce on the next lead that comes in, right? That’s at least what I see them doing at the dealership for their walk up traffic. Hardly anyone walks on an auto dealer’s parking lot, that they are not greeted immediately by someone. The internet customer should be treated the same way.

Someone at the dealership should monitor the internet leads to ensure they are handled properly. Periodically, test leads should be sent from the various sites where you market your inventory using unidentifiable emails, so you can see how leads are being answered. Be sure to call the phone numbers in your listings as well to make sure the phones are being answered promptly and are being routed properly. A while back we did some secret shopping of some of our dealers and were shocked by the results. Over 50% of the leads we sent were never responded to, and we made sure to send requests that would certainly seem that we were very interested in purchasing a vehicle. Why did they never respond? Did they even get the lead? These are things you will know if you are sending test leads periodically.

Again, a lot of money and time is spent on getting those leads. Will they be handled properly at your dealership, and will you even know if they were?