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10 top ways for dealers to keep Internet leads from short-circuiting

November 23, 2010

Many dealers expect the Internet to produce leads with the flick of a switch. But like a good electrician, successful Internet dealers knowit's all about how their Internet departments are wired up. dealers who keep their Web sites well grounded offer some vital tips:

1. Make sure ALL your inventory is online and is kept fresh daily.

2. Make sure ALL usedcars have attractive pictures.

3. Have an Internet/phone department or Internettrained sales staff handle the leads. Both the Internet department and the regular sales staff can benefit from seminars offered free to DriveChicago subscribers.

4. Have a target response time for email leads of NO MORE THAN two hours.

5. Have in place an e-mail response process that includes pre-written yet personalized responses.

6. On the Internet, your Dealer Management System is critical. The DMS has to be kept up-to-date, and all relevant fields must be completed. DMS polling systems automatically prepare your data for the Internet, so someone in the dealership needs to be responsible for the DMS data's accuracy.

7. Have an Internet pricing strategy. There are many thousands of cars on the Internet at any given time, and if yours are the most expensive, you won't get any leads. One suggested strategy: Don't put a price on the Internet for a used vehicle until it reaches a certain length of time in your inventory, giving the first whack at high gross customers to your sales floor staff. Then price it aggressively as its time in inventory increases. The DriveChicago staff can help you set up your DMS to handle this task automatically.

8. Use the tools that provides, like Who's Calling. Each dealer receives a special toll-free "Internet" phone number that tracks DriveChicago Internet and classified leads. Many dealers monitor these calls and review the results of the phone leads on a real-time basis.

9. Develop an e-mail database of people who sent leads by e-mail or called the dealership based on an Internet ad. Develop an e-mail communication with these people for future offerings.

10. Some of the top 20 dealers bought specific cars they knew the Internet customers wanted in the past. The hottest cars being searched on are the Ford Explorer, followed by the Honda Accord and the Mini Cooper. Do you have these on your site to drive traffic? One of the top 20 dealers is selling more than 60 vehicles a month from identifiable Internet leads. He uses many of these processes.He also stated that "there are numerous 'walk-ins' who come in carrying a printout of an Internet car that are not included in the Internet counts."