Appointment Confirmation: Key to Closing More Sales
With the end of peak sales season approaching, dealers are advised to remain aggressively sales-focused and cautioned against assuming a defensive position that centers primarily on fixed ops during slower months.
Recently, DealerSocket released the results of a study that analyzed nearly 12 million sales records to help dealerships formalize their appointment confirmation processes and, ultimately, generate more customer visits and close more sales.
Some key recommendations that came from the study include calling promptly (but not immediately), supplementing phone outreach with strategically crafted emails, and leveraging the power of big data to automate the process and continue to move deals forward.
Make phone calls count
Despite the array of ultra-convenient communication technologies available, there is nothing more effective than good old-fashioned phone calls when it comes to getting people to visit your dealership. The survey revealed these findings:
- Call your prospects quickly—but not too quickly. According to DealerSocket, dealers who contacted prospects between 16 minutes to 30 minutes after receiving a lead were 23% more likely to close the sale than those who responded within the first 15 minutes.
- Top-performing dealers made eight follow-up calls per prospect. The study found that the average dealer called prospects an average of three times, set 23 appointments, and closed fewer than seven sales. Top performers,on the other hand, made eight calls, which increased appointments set by 113% and sold nearly twice as many vehicles.
Simply put, five additional calls per prospect nearly doubled the number of vehicles dealers sold, but the calls should be brief and to the point. Data also showed that the optimal duration of a follow-up call is 1 minute, 37 seconds.
By doing some quick math, we find:
- Average dealer: Three calls per prospect at a duration of 1 minute, 50 seconds = six sales.
- Top-performing dealer: Eight calls at a duration of 1 minute, 37 seconds = 13 sales.
Now, the payoff: An extra six minutes per prospect will, on average, more than double the number of vehicles you sell per month.
Send email sparingly
Although DealerSocket’s study certainly underscores the importance of data-driven follow-up built on a foundation of human-to-human (phone) contact, email still has its place in your communication mix. Dealers should use it sparingly, however. Data shows that top performers send three emails per prospect, while the average dealer sends four.
The most effective email responses include common elements.Email responses written by top-performing dealers included these distinct commonalities:
- Multiple vehicle options: Provide multiple available vehicle options that could be a fit for your prospect.
- Personalized paragraph: Reference your prospect’s request and other specific information available to you.; For example, “I noticed you live in (location), which is right down the street from us. I’d be happy to bring the (model name) out to you for a test drive next week.”
- Third-party reference: Reference trusted third parties to establish credibility and trust. For example, “Our Internet price is $32,524 after rebates. This price is well below $34,200, the amount listed on Edmunds.com, a trusted consumer site.”
- Always push for a phone call: Don’t spend your valuable time going back and forth via email. Instead, use your first email as an opportunity to get your customer on the phone and move the deal forward. For example, “Please give me a call on my direct line (555-555-5555) or email me your phone number and I’ll get back to you ASAP.”
Let data guide you to increased profitability
By using a fully integrated automotive technology platform that includes equity-mining software to continuously scan your dealership management system for customers in a favorable position to spend money at your dealership (sales and service), you can pull customers back into the market before your competitors have a chance to do so.
Using sophisticated benchmarking data to optimize and automate your appointment confirmation process will engage and convert otherwise dormant customers into additional sales and revenue, helping your dealership thrive and driving profitability year-round.
Reuben Muinos, director of business development for DealerSocket, is a leading expert in CRMs. He started his career with the Galpin Motors organization, where he worked a combined 17 years. A featured contributor to many top-tier industry magazines, conferences, and seminars, Muinos has traveled the country providing advice to dealerships, OEMs, and dealer groups on how to best use technology to drive sales.