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Dealership Marketing

Master Your Lead Handling, with Elise Kephart

This month on Office Hours, we were joined by Elise Kephart to discuss tools and scripts for converting more leads into sales at your dealership.

FlexDealer Office Hours Logo over a white notebook

Welcome to FlexDealer’s October Office Hours recap! Each month, we host a virtual fireside chat where we discuss important topics that impact both our clients and the automotive industry as a whole. Our goal is for each call to inspire our client partners with relevant information that can help make a difference at their dealerships.

This month we were joined by special guest Elise Kephart, host of The CarBiz Podcast and automotive industry guru. Elise is passionate about providing dealers with proven out-of-the-box closing strategies that convert more leads into sales, and we were fortunate enough to have her share a few of her top tips and scripts during our Office Hours call.

Top Takeaways from October Office Hours 

The industry is changing and there are plenty of concerns on the minds of dealers across North America: the wholesale market, chip shortages, inventory shortages, employee shortages, dealers having to source their own inventory, and of course, shifts in lead quality and communication methods.

This month, we’re focusing on leads: how do you handle the “thumb click” or “is it available” lead? How can we continue to move leads through the sales funnel in our rapidly changing world? Take a look at Elise’s top tips on how dealers can maximize every single lead that comes in, regardless of where that initial point of contact begins.

1. Many of our ‘old school’ methods just aren’t going to work. The massive changes happening in the auto industry will inevitably weed out the dealers who are willing to adapt and grow, versus those who dig their feet into the ground and pout. “Dealers need to be putting effort and investment into adapting.”

2. Smartphones provide both blockers and opportunities. People now have the ability to silence unknown callers, ignore voicemails, and essentially dodge your phone call efforts. This has dramatically impacted how dealers follow up with leads.

Elise talks about her “8-mile move” for taking control of a conversation with a lead by using techniques to re-route potential customers to a communication channel they’re more likely to engage with. If they’re in the discovery and research phase, don’t invite them into the dealership via voicemail - they aren’t going to respond. Instead, provide valuable information in an email, ask easy questions that prompt engagement and keep comms open, or veer them towards a text message conversation that feels less intimate during the early stages of communication.

Elise Kephart

"A lead is an opportunity. If somebody willingly puts themselves into your CRM, you need to open the line of communication regardless of your current inventory. Go back to the basics: ask questions, solve their problem, stay engaged, get to their heartbeat."

3. Anything you want to happen has to be the customer’s idea. Leads can get scared off easily. That’s why it’s so important to meet customers where they are, move deliberately through the sales process, and ask easy questions to engage them. Guide customers while assuring them that they are always in the driver’s seat - you’re just here to facilitate the process.

“The way digital retail gets pitched to the community makes it seem as though there are no phones anymore. But we know that’s not the case. As long as humans exist, there will always be a need for conversations to happen face to face, and voice to voice. We still have questions and still have things we need to talk to other people about. So don’t discount the power of your in-person sales techniques, even as we continue the shift to digital models.”

4. Asking “easy questions” is the ace in your pocket when it comes to getting a pulse on your leads. What are “easy questions?” They are questions you can assume will have a predictable outcome. This is important because when you already know what the outcome of your questions will be, you can be prepared to follow up with tried and true scripts that convert leads. “Lead your customers to the close with simple approaches to comms.”

5. Don’t be afraid to go back to basics. Your initial engagement with a lead should focus on the basics. Even going so far as asking “what are you interested in” can feel overwhelming for a potential customer who is just starting to dip their toes into the car-buying process. Focus more on questions that open the lines of communication and allow you to engage strategically. They can be as simple as:

check markHi there, are you looking to buy a car?

check markWhen would you like to drive away in something new?

check markWhere are you located?

check markWhat will you be using your new vehicle for?

Join Us Next Month for FlexDealer Office Hours

If you missed October’s Office Hours call, keep an eye on your inbox - all FlexDealer clients will receive a video recording of this month’s call - an exclusive perk for current Flex client partners.

Have a topic or question that you’d like to see addressed during a future call? Don’t hesitate to drop us a line and share your ideas! We want to know about the most relevant topics to our dealer partners so we can organize an Office Hours experience that best meets your needs.

If you’d like to attend a future Office Hours call, simply contact us here at FlexDealer to learn more about our creative marketing services and all that we can offer your business.

Sarah Strehler      

Sarah Strehler      

Sarah is a passionate writer, educator, and marketer. Her creativity knows no bounds and she's eager to help dealers think outside the box - and have a bit of fun in the process.

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