There’s More to Lead Management Than Response Time

by Matt Trudell

About Matt: After running high-performing Internet Sales departments for more than a decade, Matt Trudell brought his skills to the Maritz team in 2016 and has seen superb success as a Performance Manager and coach to automotive dealerships. His clients have gained valuable insights into their own operations, allowing them to improve their customer experience, lower their response times, set more appointments and convert more leads into sales.

Matt understands the market is competitive and that response time is important. However, dealers need to focus on the quality of the content they send to prospective customers, not just when they send it. This brief article summarizes his feelings on what dealers should prioritize in addition to quick responses.

Alright! We get it: Response Time is critical! Are we ready to move on yet? 

We all understand Response Time is important when information moves instantly and customers want everything immediately. We hear about it constantly: 

  • Every dealer chases an oft-repeated OEM maximum Response Time, somewhere between 15 and 60 minutes. 
  • Those monthly mystery shop scores take a major hit if you’re slow to reply by even a few minutes. 
  • Conference panelists spend 45 minutes on the desperate need to minimize Response Time. 
  • Vendors tout their seven-second responses to midnight inquiries that increase mystery shop scores, produce 12 times the conversations, and practically guarantee a 2% boost in conversion rates.
  • Salespeople struggle to serve in-store customers while also making sure new Internet leads receive a timely email and text, all in an effort to keep their managers off their backs. 

But – and stay with me here – dealers face more pressing issues than response time these days. 

Have you been paying attention to what’s in those lightning-fast communications your team sends as part of their solution to the Response Time Problem? Are you happy with what you see? 

We don’t talk enough about the quality of information being provided, and that’s because it’s a much more challenging topic. 

The time has come to tackle that challenge, focus on quality, and demand better for your clients. 

A traditional approach to quality control is the mystery shop. You likely receive at least one from your OEM every month. You may even have a “mystery shop” template which was carefully built to maximize your score. 

There’s value to the scorecard of a mystery shop, but that monthly review only provides input on a single response to a single customer. 

It’s important to understand that your bottom line is determined not by that single interaction, but rather hundreds or possibly thousands of interactions every month. Grading your team on just the response to one lead leaves a lot of room for error – and for disappointing your customers and pushing them to the open arms of your competition. 

It’s well past time to upgrade your lead management processes.  

As the saying goes, “Don’t bring me problems—bring me solutions.” So, here are must-do Action Items and lead management tips for dealers who are ready to move past the basics of worrying about Response Time: 

  • Understand your lead sources and what they promise customers 
  • Read the lead details every time 
  • Use First Response Email Templates that can be customized when necessary 
  • Answer questions on price, payment, trade, and other “hard topics” 
  • Use video to merchandise your inventory and brand your dealership
  • Reach out by phone, text, and email on Day 1 
  • Automate follow up to non-responsive leads 
  • Build a team of lead-management experts 
Lead Management Tips

Do any of the Action Items above frustrate, intrigue, or concern you? Are you wondering how your team can quickly implement them? 

We’ll help you have better customer conversations, take full advantage of your CRM and other technology solutions, bring more people into your showroom, and convert more Internet opportunities into clients. Click here to learn how our coaching program offers the support and ongoing oversight you need to bring critical changes to your store’s processes and ensure your team consistently exceeds the high expectations of your customers.