3 Ways to Convert Internet Leads into Showroom Visits

By: Michael Cirillo   |   16 Apr 2012

One of the main frustrations for dealerships with regards to their website is that they have trouble converting their internet leads into showroom visits. I'd like to take a few moments to demonstrate how there is a very real cycle at play here that will increase the amount of quality internet leads you receive and increase the amount of showroom visitors you receive month by month. The closing ratio from dealer to dealer may vary, but overall I think it's safe to say that dealers are able to close prospects once they arrive at the dealership.

Don't you need Internet Leads before the showroom visitors?

Here's my little tangent for this post. I promise, we'll end up back in the right place. Go with me for a minute. It may appear that way, but as we've discussed in our reputation series, you may be surprised to learn that the in-dealership experience of customers past is actually the driving force of future visits. Happy customers write reviews, reviews are read by prospective clients, prospective clients visit your website and submit leads, now the ball is in your court. I think it's safe to say that for most dealerships, the perceived first step of the cycle is when the prospective client visits their website, but there is a whole slew of other variables already at play that determine the quality and seriousness of your website traffic.

So how as an internet department can you convert the internet leads you receive into showroom visits more effectively? Let's look at 3 proven ways at doing this:

Response to the client

Is the content in your response giving your customers a real reason to visit your showroom? Are you conveying the right sense of urgency without being pushy? What current programs do you have in place that would compel a potential customer to visit your showroom? Is there an invitation to visit you? You'd be surprised at how effective inviting customers can be. People need to be given a clear call to action.

Some time ago, I was made aware of a dealership who received a lead from their website from a real customer inquiring into the availability of a certain make/model. The response that the customer received still frightens me. “Yup”. That was it! No more, no less! Think of how ridiculous that would appear if it happened in person!

Tactful, compelling messages with the right sense of urgency and invitations are the kind of responses that you want to send in order to increase the amount of showroom visits you receive.

Incentives

This is pretty self explanatory and possibly something you have already thought of. If not, let's think outside the box here. For the most part, nobody is really willing to pay attention to you unless you have an incentive in place to lead them to you. Dealers are getting amazing results using a differentiator – something that sets them apart from their competition. It could be as simple as a Free $25 gas card for taking a test drive, or a pre-paid credit card or receiving a free oil change. Incentives don't have to be costly to set you apart and to give your customers a compelling reason to pay you a visit.  

Tip: Incentives are a great thing to mention in your follow up messages 

Schedule/Confirm appointments by phone

This is the customer service variable of the equation for more showroom visits. This is something that has been done in the industry for years and still works as effectively now as it ever has. When an appointment is set, have a manager call to confirm. By extending an early welcome to your customers, you are letting them know how valuable their visit with you is. You set the tone for the visit and increase their believability in your products and services. You show them that you're team is there for them and that you're taking their visit seriously.

Tip: Before calling, learn your customers name and make sure you call them by it. Every person on the planet has a favourite word whether they are willing to admit it or not. Can you guess? Their name! People love hear their name. It invokes feelings of happiness and caring.

Having said that, you'd be surprised at how many phone calls go something like this,

Customer: “Hello”

Dealer: “Hi this is Mike from the dealership and I'm just confirming your appointment for...”

I'd suggest a script a little more like this,

Customer: “Hello”

Dealer: “Hi [Customer Name], this is Mike from the dealership, how are you today?” then move on to confirm the appointment.

Acknowledge your customers with a higher level of respect by calling them by name and you'll be amazed at the results. That's it! These simple steps are proven to contribute to the effectiveness of getting leads to show up in your showroom.  

If you aren't already doing these things, what are you willing to change today to give these simple steps a try?