By Susan Gaytan, Director of Dealer Engagement & Training, Alan Ram’s Proactive Training Solutions

It’s hard to believe that 2022 is around the corner and I think we can all agree this year has been an eventful one. The demand for both new and used vehicles has remained high and you’ve likely had the best gross profits in a while. But have you stopped to think about what happened to all those leads that fell through the cracks this past year? The 80% or so of shoppers that didn’t show? Every prospect will eventually buy a car, the question is, from who? So, what should you be doing as a good car sales consultant this time of year to turn those no-shows into opportunities?

Alan used to say, “It’s not about who sells the most, but who spills the least.” Many dealerships measure success based on growth but fail to consider lost opportunities. At this time of year, any prospect who submitted a lead in the last 90 days is buying before the year is over. They are not submitting a lead now to buy a car next year. That means that right now is a great time to follow up with any leads who didn’t show or didn’t buy. Pull everyone from the last 90 days and uncover the reason they didn’t buy. If you sell highline or do less volume, you may consider going even further back in your CRM. In addition, what about following up with your previous customers or dealership orphan owners?

It is time for a concerted effort in your outbound strategies. A good plan of action to focus on for December is to:

1) Pull a list of all the unsold leads from the past 90 days.
2) Don’t simply make a follow-up call, have a plan for that call. If you do not already have one, develop a word track to use when calling. Knowing what to say can make or break a deal. Teach your team to do the same (if you are a manager).
3) Next, pull your dealership’s orphan owner list. If you’re a manager, select one or two hungry associates and task them with reaching out to this list. Motivated new hires who are looking to grow their business are great candidates. Make sure they have a word track.
4) Then, pull a list of customers who purchased a vehicle 24 – 30 months ago and use your equity mining tools and word tracks to bring these people back into the market. Showing interest in their trade will motivate some shoppers to trade in early.
5) If you do not already have one, develop a script for calling these customers. This will make you more effective on each call and will raise your lead-to-show conversions.

When doing this follow up, there are some important things to consider, as follows:

Uncover the Customer’s Objection
The goal is to uncover the customer’s objection so that you can address it. If you ask the right questions, your shopper will tell you exactly what you need to say to close them. “If you could put your finger on the one thing keeping you from moving forward, what would it be?”

Customers are Willing to Switch Vehicles – If Asked
Pre-COVID, on average, 82% of customers would switch vehicles from the first one they called about. That statistic is probably much higher now. Most shoppers (especially today) will be open to switching on color, package, even segment– SUV to a sedan, or new to used. Additionally, make sure that you are also offering pre-ordered or incoming vehicles as many shoppers may be willing to wait for their ideal car.

Offer Additional Vehicle Options
With inventory levels down 80% on average, you must offer additional options to shoppers. According to a study cited in Dealer Marketing Magazine, 35% of salespeople did not suggest an alternative if the caller’s vehicle of choice was already sold. Simply asking what else the caller would consider can give you a huge competitive advantage! Open up the shopper to other choices & options.

Convert Mishandled Calls to Sales
The same study in Dealer Marketing Magazine also stated that up to 25% of mishandled calls can be converted to sales just by calling the lead back. This is where knowing what to say on that call is critical. Be sure to have a good word track.

Online Leads are Buyers Too
Remember your digital leads. Those online leads are buyers too and could be just as likely to buy this time of year. You may want to send a special email to those unsold digital leads rather than batch them in with your other mass marketing email campaigns. Remember to contact the lead the way that they prefer to be contacted – be it phone, email, SMS, etc. Video messaging can also set you apart from the competition.

Don’t Forget about the Trade!
Whether they buy from you or not, sourcing cars at the dealership and asking for the trade is critical right now. If you implement a strategy for this your dealership can surpass all others and sustain performance results. More opportunities, more appointment shows, more inventory, more profit.

We’re quickly nearing the end of the year and people are looking to buy now. Keep your foot on the gas pedal and implement these strategies for a strong finish to your year.

About the Author

Susan Gaytan, Director of Dealer Engagement & Training at Alan Ram’s Proactive Training Solutions, brings over twenty years of automotive experience and dealership management expertise to her role. She is responsible for integrating training solutions and helping dealerships maximize the effectiveness of training.

Author: Christine Corkran

Digital Dealer